The Atlanta Braves (31-19) will host the Philadelphia Phillies (23-27) in the second contests of a four game series on Friday. The Braves took the opening game 8-5 on Thursday thanks to three runs in the bottom of the eight inning to break the tied game.
The Phillies-Braves rivalry has been highly competitive recently, as these teams have split the last 18 head-to-head meetings, including the postseason.
Phillies struggled, but still ahead of last seasons paceThe Phillies have dropped three of their last four games. A two-out two-run home run by Trea Turner on Wednesday tied the game at 5-5 in an eventual 6-5 10-inning win over the Diamondbacks. Without Wednesday's late-game heroics, the Phillies would be on a four-game losing streak. Although the Phillies' 23-27 record may not seem impressive for a team that went to the World Series last season, the club was just 21-29 at this point last season before going on a nine-game winning streak. At this point, Philadelphia is fourth in the NL East and eight out of first place. The team has struggled on the road, losing 17 of their 26 games.
Kyle Schwarber leads the Phillies with 12 home runs and is third with 25 RBI. Despite the power numbers, Schwarber has a .172 batting average and is dead last on the team amongst 16 position players with a -0.5 WAR.
Braves rookie Dylan Dodd evaluates his latest MLB performance against a deep Phillies lineup 🔊 pic.twitter.com/BAMwMviXRF— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 26, 2023
On Friday, the Phillies will start Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.79 ERA). On the road, Walker has made six starts and is 2-2 with a 7.43 ERA. Although the overall numbers aren't tremendous, the Phillies have still managed to win six of the last eight games that Walker has started this season. The Phillies bullpen is 17th on the season, with a 4.05 ERA.
Braves leading the NL EastThe Braves are first in the National League East and hold a 5.5-game lead over the second-place Mets. As good as the overall record is, when at home the Braves' 14-12 record places them just 24th in moneyline profit ($-345) in home games. Against the run line, the Braves are just 5-19 as the home favorite, which gives them more run line losses in that situation than any other team in baseball.
A 3-run 8th propels the Braves to a game 1 win over Philadelphia! pic.twitter.com/fL6FOx4KKQ— Atlanta Braves Radio Network 🎙️ (@BravesRadioNet) May 26, 2023
On Friday, the Braves will start rookie Jared Shuster (1-2, 5.49 ERA). Shuster a 24-year-old southpaw is 0-2 with a 6.52 ERA at home this season. In five minor league starts this season, Shuster went 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 24.2 innings.
The Braves are fifth in MLB averaging 5.2 runs per game, second in home runs per game (1.71), and OPS (.792). Matt Olson leads the deep lineup with 14 home runs and 37 RBI. Ronald Acuna Jr. has a team-best 2.9 WAR and is second in MLB with 22 stolen bases to go along with 11 home runs and 27 RBI.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Braves are very familiar with Phillies starter Taijuan Walker with a collective .348 career batting average and .423 on-base percentage against him. Walker has also been terrible on the road this season. The Phillies will be getting their first real look at rookie left-hander Jared Shuster, which will be tough. Shuster has shown improvement in each start, and Philadelphia has lost nine of its last 11 road games against left-handed starters. I am backing Atlanta.
Full-Game Total Pick
After combining for 13 runs on Thursday, seven of the last eight meetings between these NL East foes have gone over. Coming into this game Taijuan Walker has a 6.75 ERA over his last five starts and an eye-popping 7.31 ERA against the Braves in his last five head-to-head starts going back to 2020. I do however expect the Phillies bats to show up as well against rookie Jared Shuster who is still hard to trust in this spot. Hamer the over.