The Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves will wrap up a three game divisional series Wednesday evening from Citizens Bank Park. The Braves will give the start to 21-year old left-hander Luiz Gohara, and the Phillies will counter with 32-year old right-hander Jake Arrieta. The Braves lead the season-series 4-3. Atlanta holds a narrow half game lead over Philadelphia for the top spot in the NL East.
Gohara Makes First Start of Season
Luiz Gohara will make his fourth appearance and first start of the season, targeting his first win. Gohara tossed 1.2 scoreless innings against the Marlins in his latest action on May 18th. The young left-hander has been nearly flawless in his limited action, allowing one run on two hits in seven innings out of the bullpen. Gohara posted a 4.91 ERA with a 1-3 record in five starts with the Braves last season. He faced the Phillies last season and limited them to one run in seven innings of work.
Nick Markakis has not been driving in many runs, however, he has been setting the table with a sizzling .392 average this month which includes 12 multi-hit games. The 34-year old right fielder now features a .341 average with seven home runs and 32 RBI’s on the season. Markakis is cashing in against the Phillies pitching this season, belting two homers with eight RBI’s. The Braves talented lineup ranks fourth in the Majors with 5.28 runs per game. The Atlanta pitching staff features a solid 3.50 team ERA, pegging them seventh in the Major Leagues.
Arrieta Aims for First Win in Nearly One Month
Jake Arrieta will get the call for the ninth time of the season, hunting for his first win of the month. Arrieta wasn’t sharp in his previous start, allowing four runs (two earned) in three innings in St. Louis, and he was charged with the loss to bring his record to 3-2. The former Cy Young winner is having an outstanding season with his new team, recording a dazzling 2.82 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 44.2 innings of work. Arrieta has stifled the Braves in his five career starts, posting a 2.76 ERA and a 3-1 record. Ender Inciarte is 2 for 9 against Arrieta, while Freddie Freeman is 2 for 11 with two RBI’s, and Nick Markakis is 1 for 12.
Cesar Hernandez continues to be an offensive catalyst at the top of the Phillies lineup, accumulating 12 hits in his last nine games, and he owns a .391 on base percentage this season. The 27-year old second baseman is currently hitting .278 with six homers and 15 RBI’s on the year. Hernandez is 7 for 32 with one RBI and nine walks against the Braves this season. The Phillies are averaging 4.64 runs per game, good for 10th in the Major Leagues. The Philadelphia pitching staff is sporting a 3.51 team ERA, pegging them eighth in the Majors.
The Atlanta Braves are:
- 1-4 in Gohara’s last 5 starts.
- 4-10 in their last 14 games in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia Phillies are:
- 14-3 in their last 17 home games against a left-handed starter.
- 21-7 in their last 28 home games.
- 4-0 in their last 4 Wednesday games.
I am taking the Phillies in this battle. Jake Arrieta has only allowed a combined three runs in his last 16.1 innings spread across three starts, and he features a stifling 1.07 ERA in his four home starts on the season. Furthermore, Braves’ starter Luiz Gohara posted a poor 4.91 ERA in five starts last season, and this will mark his first start this season after pitching in a limited relief role. The Phillies have won eight out of their last 12 games, and I am confident they can record the home win with Arrieta on the hill.
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies
The Braves continue to pile on the runs, and the Phillies should get to the inexperienced Luiz Gohara. Atlanta has scored a combined 18 runs in their last three games and several hitters are locked in at the plate, plus the over is 6-1-1 in Arrieta’s last eight starts overall. Gohara is a young, inexperienced pitcher and I expect the Phillies’ talented lineup to get to him for some runs, and the over is 39-19 in the Braves’ last 58 road games against a team with a winning record.