Bryce Elder, one of this season’s stingiest pitchers, leads the Atlanta Braves (47-26) into Citizens Bank Park on Thursday as they face off against the Philadelphia Phillies (38-35) with the visitors eyeing a sweep of the two-game series.
The Braves took Tuesday’s series opener 4-2, their seventh straight victory overall and third in five games against the Phillies this season. Starter Spencer Strider went six innings to get the win, allowing one run on eight hits and striking out nine, and Raisel Iglesias pitched the ninth to pick up his 10th save.
Eddie Rosario was 2 for 2 with a double and one run in the win. Brandon Marsh went 3 for 4 with a double and one run for the Phillies.
ON THE MOUND
Elder (5-1, 2.60 ERA) is set for the start for Atlanta. The righty ranks second in the NL in ERA. Elder allowed one run over six innings in his last start, a 10-2 road win over the Rockies on Saturday. He was credited with the win, scattering four hits while striking out four.
For Philadelphia, righty Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.66 ERA) will take the mound. He has made one prior start against the Braves this season, giving up five runs over six innings in an 8-5 road defeat on May 25. He gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out seven in the no-decision.
In his last start on June 15, Nola got the win on the road against the Diamondbacks. He threw 6.2 innings and gave up four runs on six hits, striking out nine and walking one in the 5-4 victory.
AT THE PLATE
Over the last five games, Atlanta has averaged 8.8 runs a game, up from their season average of 5.5, while performing better across the board (.341/.418/.636). Against righties like Nola this season, the Braves have a .789 OPS, second highest in MLB.
Ronald Acuna Jr. is the team’s most potent producer against right-handers with a .955 OPS in 226 at-bats. Philadelphia is averaging only 3.8 runs per game in the last five, down slightly from 4.4 for the season.
The Phils have a .752 OPS against right-handers in 2023. With a .378 OBP over 198 at-bats, Marsh has their highest on-base percentage against right-handers.
HOME AND AWAY
Atlanta is on a three-game winning streak on the road, bringing their record to 23-11 in 2023. The Braves have scored 5.4 runs per game away from home while allowing 3.4 runs.
Philadelphia has gone 19-12 at home this season, averaging 4.4 runs per game while surrendering 3.9. Philadelphia is 6-4 in the last 10 games between the NL East rivals at Citizens Bank Park with an average scoreline of 5.5-3.5.
The Braves lead the NL East by six games over the Marlins. The Phillies are third in the NL East, nine games behind the Braves.
SportsTips’ MLB Pick:
Atlanta Braves (+105)
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*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of BetMGM.