The Atlanta Braves (93-56) take one of the best lineups in the league on the road to face the Philadelphia Phillies (81-67) at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday for the first of a four-game series. The Braves are playing their first of seven games on the road after closing out a successful six-game homestand (5-1). They won two out of three in their last series against the Nationals, dropping the finale 3-2 on Wednesday at Truist Park. Ronald Acuna Jr. was 2 for 5 with one run and one RBI. The Phillies are in the midst of a six-game homestand. They split their last series against the Blue Jays, taking the finale 4-3 on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. Matt Vierling went 5 for 5 with one RBI.
The Braves have won nine of 15 in the season series between the NL East rivals, including a 5-2 victory in their most recent meeting on Sunday at Truist Park. Starter Spencer Strider went six innings for the win, giving up one run on one hit and striking out 10.
ON THE MOUND
Max Fried (13-6, 2.52 ERA) is set for the start for Atlanta. The southpaw is tied for third in the NL in ERA. Fried gets the Phillies in back-to-back starts. On Friday, he allowed two runs over six innings, a 7-2 road win. He yielded four hits while striking out four and walking three in the no-decision. Over three previous starts against the Phillies this season, Fried has allowed seven earned runs over 18 innings (0-0, 3.50). He has struck out 17 and walked five. For Philadelphia, LHP Ranger Suarez (9-5, 3.53 ERA) gets the ball. He has made four appearances against the Braves this season, all as the starter, giving up 13 runs (10 ER) over 22 innings (0-2, 4.09) with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks. In his last start on Friday, Suarez took a no-decision on the road against the Braves. He threw six innings and gave up one run on two hits, striking out four and walking three in the 7-2 loss.
AT THE PLATE
The Atlanta offense is averaging 4.9 runs per game for the season, third best in the league, with a slash line of .254/.318/.444. Austin Riley leads the team in OPS at .889. The third baseman is slashing .276/.347/.542 with 37 home runs, 92 RBIs, and 85 runs over 147 games. Over the last five games, though, Atlanta has averaged only 3.8 runs a game despite performing better across the board (.280/.326/.460). Against lefties like Suarez this season, the Braves have a .784 OPS, third highest in the league. Riley also is the team’s most productive hitter against left-handers with a 1.132 OPS in 134 at-bats. Philadelphia is slashing .255/.318/.426 for the season and averaging 4.7 runs per game. J.T. Realmuto leads the team with a .839 OPS. The catcher has 21 home runs, 81 RBIs, and 71 runs scored with a slash line of .279/.349/.490. The Phils have a .779 OPS against left-handers in 2022, fourth highest in the league. With a .992 OPS over 134 at-bats, Rhys Hoskins has been their best hitter against left-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Atlanta is 41-30 on the road in 2022, scoring 4.9 runs per game while allowing 4.0 runs. Philadelphia has gone 45-32 at their home ballpark this season, averaging 4.9 runs per game while surrendering 4.2. The teams have split their last 10 games at Citizens Bank Park, though Atlanta has the scoring advantage with an average final margin of 4.9-4.6.
The Braves are second in the NL East, one games behind the division-leading Mets. They currently occupy one of the Wild Card spots, sitting first with a magic number of three. The Phillies are third in the NL East, 12 games behind the Mets. They currently occupy one of the Wild Card spots, sitting third with a magic number of zero.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Atlanta Braves (-155)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.