Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4953 Atlanta Braves vs.
#4954 Philadelphia Phillies
Friday, July 23, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of National League East teams continue a big weekend set in the City of Brotherly Love. The Atlanta Braves are on the road as they play the second game of a four-game set with the Philadelphia Phillies Friday night. Atlanta lost the opening game of a doubleheader with San Diego at home Wednesday afternoon 3-2. The Braves trailed 5-4 in the bottom of the fifth inning in the nightcap when the game was suspended after a lengthy rain delay. Philadelphia was swept in a two-game interleague set with the Yankees, losing the finale 6-5 in 10 innings Wednesday night. This article was written before Thursday’s result had gone final.

Atlanta Braves Looking to Gain Ground in NL East Race

Atlanta ended up splitting a shortened set with the Padres as they dropped the opening game of a doubleheader Wednesday before the nightcap was suspended due to weather. The Braves entered Thursday third in the NL East, 4.5 games behind the Mets for the division lead. In the NL wild card picture, the team stood eight games behind the Padres for the second wild card spot. The Braves had five hits in the opening game of the doubleheader with no player having more than one. Austin Riley drove in one run while the other scored on a passed ball. Kyle Muller (1-3) took the loss as he threw four innings, allowing one run on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts before departing in the contest.

Max Fried is on the mound for his 16th start of the season for the Braves in this contest. He comes in 7-5 with a 4.29 ERA, a 1.331 WHIP, 26 walks and 79 strikeouts over 79.2 innings of work on the year. Fried earned the win in his last start, which came Saturday at home against Tampa Bay. He threw seven scoreless innings, allowing four hits with one walk and seven strikeouts in a 9-0 Braves victory. Pitching on the road this season, Fried is 2-2 with a 6.43 ERA, a 1.714 WHIP, nine walks and 31 strikeouts over 28 innings in six starts. Fried makes his 13th career appearance and seventh start against the Phillies in this contest. He is 3-2 with a 4.08 ERA, a 1.487 WHIP, 17 walks and 42 strikeouts over 39.2 innings of work against them. Fried is 2-2 with a 4.15 ERA, a 1.385 WHIP, 10 walks and 30 strikeouts over 26 innings in eight career appearances, four starts, at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia Phillies Hoping to Close Gap in NL East

Philadelphia dropped both games on the road in their interleague set with the Yankees and hope to regroup at home here. The Phillies entered Thursday second in the NL East, 3.5 games behind the Mets for the division lead. In the NL wild card picture, the team was seven games behind San Diego for the second wild card spot. On Wednesday, Philadelphia had only four hits in the game with no player having more than one. Luke Williams drove in two runs while Bryce Harper and Jean Segura each knocked in a run. Segura hit his fifth homer of the year in a losing effort. Spencer Howard didn’t factor in the decision as he threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit with one walk and two strikeouts before departing. Ranger Suarez (4-3) took the loss as he allowed one run (none earned) on one hit with no walks or strikeouts in one inning of work.

Zack Wheeler is on the hill for his 20th start of the season for the Phillies in this one. He comes in 7-5 with a 2.44 ERA, a 0.995 WHIP, 28 walks and 152 strikeouts over 125.2 innings of work on the year. Wheeler earned the win in his last start, which came at home against the Marlins Sunday. He threw six innings, allowing four runs on seven hits with two walks and seven strikeouts in a 7-4 Phillies victory. Pitching at home this season, Wheeler is 4-2 with a 2.16 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, 10 walks and 92 strikeouts over 75 innings in 11 starts. Wheeler makes his 20th career start against the Braves in this contest. He comes in 7-6 with a 3.38 ERA, a 1.316 WHIP, 44 walks and 112 strikeouts over 117 innings of work against them. Wheeler is 11-3 with a 2.52 ERA, a 0.937 WHIP, 34 walks and 153 strikeouts over 164.1 innings in 25 career starts at Citizens Bank Park.

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Atlanta has been up and down with injuries taking key personnel out of both their rotation and their lineup. Losing Ronald Acuna Jr. is a blow that most teams can’t replace as he is a five-tool player that can impact the game in a myriad of ways. Fried has really sputtered on the road this season and that’s been a problem for the Braves, who are just 20-23 as the visiting team entering Thursday. Philadelphia has been very good at home on the year and Wheeler has been tremendous at Citizens Bank Park over the course of his career. The Phillies bounce back behind a stellar outing from their starting pitcher and that gives them the upper hand here.

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies -130

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Atlanta has had their struggles putting runs on the board this season as the visiting team as they put up 4.05 runs per game on the road compared to a healthy 5.29 run per game mark at home. Fried has been torched on the road as evidenced by his 6.43 ERA. He is 4-4 with a 4.25 ERA in night games this season. Wheeler has been excellent at home and stellar in day games but he is just 2-5 with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.238 WHIP, 21 walks and 81 strikeouts over 74.1 innings in 12 starts this season in night games. With Wheeler being a bit more hittable in night games this season and Fried struggling on the road, the potential for both teams to generate runs seems poised to push this over the mark.

Prediction: Over 7.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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