Atlanta will be looking for a better effort against Philadelphia in its home opener on Friday night. The Phillies picked up a season-opening sweep over the Braves last weekend before winning their series against the Mets earlier this week. Atlanta swept its doubleheader with the Nationals on Wednesday to snag its first two wins of the season.
Phillies with a ton of momentumPhiladelphia opened the 2021 season with a bang, sweeping Atlanta in their opening series. The Phillies are coming off a disappointing 2020 campaign, but they are expected to contend for the National League East this year. They built on their sweep by winning two out of three against the Mets earlier this week, including an 8-2 win on Wednesday. First baseman Rhys Hoskins leads Philadelphia’s offense with 10 hits and four RBIs. He is batting a blazing .417 through his first six games. Shortstop Didi Gregorious and catcher J.T. Realmuto both have seven hits. Right fielder Bryce Harper only has five hits, but he has walked six times.
The Phillies rank sixth in the MLB in team batting average, hitting .262 so far. They will be facing an Atlanta pitching staff that is No. 11 with a team ERA of 3.40. Right-handed pitcher Zack Wheeler is gearing up to face the Braves for the second time in less than a week when he takes the mound on Friday night. Wheeler allowed just one hit and struck out 10 batters in seven innings of work. While his pitching was fantastic, it was his bat that really made the headlines. Wheeler had two hits and drove in two runs in the 4-0 win at Citizens Bank Park.
Braves finally tally some winsAtlanta, the reigning NL East champions, will be looking for another division title this season. It got off to an atrocious start last week, scoring just three runs in the three losses to Philadelphia. The mid-week series against Washington was postponed by one day as the Nationals recovered from a COVID-19 delay. The Braves fell to 0-4 in a frustrating 6-5 loss on Tuesday, but they bounced back by sweeping a pair of seven-inning games in Wednesday’s doubleheader. Pinch hitter Pablo Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to provide the winning runs in a 2-0 final.
Star right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. leads Atlanta with seven hits in his first six games. He hit a pair of home runs against Washington earlier in the week. Outside of Acuna, Atlanta’s offense has struggled. The Braves are No. 28 in the league with a team batting average of .170. They are facing a Philadelphia pitching staff that is fourth in the MLB with a 2.62 ERA. Right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton will be making his second start with the Braves on Friday. Morton had four solid innings against the Phillies last week before allowing two runs in the fifth.
- 1-6 in its last seven road games
- 5-12 in its last 17 road games at Atlanta
- 12-5 in its last 17 home games vs. Philadelphia
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Philadelphia has been one of the most bipolar teams in the MLB when it comes to its home-road splits over the last few seasons. The Phillies are excellent at Citizens Bank Park, but their level has dropped on the road. SunTrust Park has been a house of horrors, with Atlanta going 12-5 in its last 17 home games in the series. Acuna is playing some excellent baseball to open the season. Freddie Freeman, Ozzie Albies and Marcell Ozuna are too good to stay silent. I expect Atlanta’s bats to wake up in front of the home crowd.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Braves have one of the most dangerous lineups in the MLB, as evidenced by their numbers last season. They have gotten off to a slow start in six road games, but I expect them to pick it up at home on Friday night. Atlanta went over in four of its final five games at SunTrust Park last season. The Braves got a look at Wheeler last week and should have more success this time around. Morton has been an average pitcher over the last few seasons and had average numbers against the Phillies in his first start of the season. The Phillies have been one of the league’s best offenses so far.