Weekend Series Preview: A Close Battle Between the Braves and Phillies

max fried atlanta braves mlb pitcher
Max Fried #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Truist Park. Todd Kirkland/Getty Images/AFP

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves will play an important series over the weekend.

The Braves are inches away from the NL East Divisional Lead, while the Phillies are looking to keep their distance in the NL Wild Card. Who will win the weekend series?

What You Should Know

At the time of writing this, the Atlanta Braves are just .5 games out of the NL East. Over the weekend, they’ll take on a tough opponent in the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Phillies won’t end up winning the NL East, but they’re currently competing for an NL Wild Card spot.

Philadelphia is in a race for two spots against two other opponents. Only two of three can make the playoffs between the Phillies, Padres, and Brewers. The first wild card spot will include the Mets or Braves.

Therefore, this weekend series between the Phillies and Braves will be extremely important for both teams. If the Braves want to win the division, they’ll need a series win. But if the Phillies are going to stick around in the NL Wild Card, they’re going to want the series win.

Here’s a preview of the weekend series between the Phillies and Braves.

Phillies vs. Braves: Game 1

Friday, September 16, 2022 – 07:20 PM EDT at Truist Park

Friday’s Probables

Braves’ Pitching

The Atlanta Braves will send out lefty Max Fried for the first game of their new series against the Phillies. Fried has a 3.20 xFIP in the last 30 days with 24.3% of strikeouts and 2.6% of walks.

The opposition has a .190 BABIP against him over the last 30 days. You can thank Fried’s high ground ball rate and low line drive rate. However, he’s allowed some power to righties. In 97 plate appearances, righties have a .183 ISO.

Phillies’ Pitching

On the other hand, Ranger Suarez will compete against the Braves. He’s another lefty with a high ground ball rate and a low line drive rate.

Suarez’s walks are a bit high at 9.5% and his BABIP is sitting at .308, but Suarez is usually pretty consistent when on the mound.

Phillies vs. Braves: Game 2

Saturday, September 17, 2022 – 07:20 PM EDT at Truist Park

Saturday’s Probables

Braves’ Pitching

In the second game of the series, Jake Odorizzi will get the start. Odorizzi has a 5.33 xFIP with just 18.6% of strikeouts.

Odorizzi is the weakest link in the Atlanta rotation and is earning just 35.9% of ground balls over the last 30 days. He’s mainly a fly ball pitcher and has allowed a .269 ISO to lefties and a .286 ISO to righties in the last month.

Phillies’ Pitching

Against Odorizzi, Aaron Nola will get the start for the Phillies. He’s been exceptional recently, holding a 2.64 xFIp with 32.2% of strikeouts and 2.6% of walks.

He’s also been unlucky, with batters hitting a .386 BABIP in the last month against Nola. When Nola’s not getting strikeouts, he’s giving up a ton of line drives. However, against the Braves, Nola should end up racking up strikeouts.

Phillies vs. Braves: Game 3

Sunday, September 18, 2022 – 01:35 PM EDT at Truist Park

Sunday’s Probables

Braves’ Pitching

In the final game of the series, Kyle Wright will take the hill. Wright has a 3.88 xFIP in the last 30 days with 24.8% of strikeouts. He’s also earned over 60% of ground balls and has given up under 12% of line drives.

Wright’s walks are getting a bit high but he’s got a BABIP of .247 and continues to keep hard contact down. Lefties are hitting a .184 ISO, but that’s about the only blemish on Wright’s resume over the last month.

Phillies’ Pitching

Meanwhile, Bailey Falter will get the start for Philadelphia. Falter has a 4.59 xFIP with 19.3% of strikeouts. He’s kept walks down and his BABIP is sitting at .226 but he’s not getting a high amount of grounders while giving up many line drives.

Falter has limited extra-base hits and has kept wOBA against both sides of the plate. That’s pretty much due to allowing a low amount of hard contact.

The Offenses

The Braves vs. Lefties

The Braves will take on two lefties and one righty in this series against the Phillies. Against lefties, the Braves have absolutely dominated, hitting a .160 ISO but a wOBA of .366.

Atlanta’s limited strikeouts to lefties and continues to walk at over 10% of the time.

Only Ronald Acuna and Marcell Ozuna have struggled against lefties over the last 30 days in the projected lineup.

Against Nola on Saturday, the Braves will likely add Eddie Rosario into the lineup along with Travis d’Arnaud. Rosario hasn’t had much success but he’s a lefty that specializes in hitting against righties.

The Braves vs. Righties

Overall, against righties, the Braves have struck out way more.

Against Aaron Nola on Saturday, the strikeouts will be high, but against Bailey Falter on Sunday, the Braves can still have success hitting the ball in play.

The Phillies vs. Righties

Against righties, the Phillies are hitting a .198 ISO and wOBA of .356 using their projected lineup.

Philadelphia has struck out under 20% of the time. Only Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Alec Bohm have struggled to get on base against righties over the last 30 days.

The Phillies vs. Lefties

Against lefties, the Phillies are much worse. They’ll add bench pieces like Edmundo Sosa and potentially Garrett Stubbs, who is also a lefty off the bench.

The strikeouts are much higher against lefties for this team. Only Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto are seeing the ball well against lefties right now.

Braves vs. Phillies Weekend Series – Our Prediction

Therefore, I’ve got the Braves winning the first game and the Phillies winning the second game.

Ultimately, the Braves have the better starter in the final game with Kyle Wright on the mound. So with that said, I’ve got the Braves winning two of three at home over the Phillies.

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