It’s gameday! The wait is over as ‘Dancing on my own’ echoes around the City of Brotherly Love. The Philadelphia Phillies are playing the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series and the excitement is hitting new levels.
The Phils were able to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals in the wildcard round thanks to Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola pitching a combined 13 shutout innings. The bullpen cleaned up and the Phils now advance to face a team who have been a pretty formidable opponent in 2022.
Atlanta and Philadelphia are no strangers to each other. The Braves won 11 of the 19 games played between the two teams this year, with 8 of those wins coming on the road. The Braves are very much a powerhouse in the NL East. They won 101 games this year and clinched their 5 divisional title in a row. Many assumed that losing Freddie Freeman would knock the wind out of their sails, but that wasn’t the case.
Even a faltering Ronald Acuna Jr. wasn’t enough to stagnate them. Austin Riley hit a thunderous .273 this year, scoring 90 runs and 38 homers, while Matt Olson punched in 86 runs and 34 homers of his own.
The Phillies are going to need the best from a topsy-turvy bullpen if they are to have a chance at getting past Atlanta.
Speaking of the Phils, what a year it’s been for the offense. The offseason saw an all-out splurge on the bats and boy, did it pay off. Kyle Schwarber burst into life with 100 runs, 46 homers, and 94 RBI, while even an injury couldn’t stop Bryce Harper from batting .286.
The Phillies rank 7th in runs, 5th in steals, and 8th in batting average. The Braves bullpen holds the 4th best ERA in the entire league and the Phils are going to be tested as a result.
Game 1 pitching matchup
Max Fried (14-7, 2.48 ERA) vs Ranger Suarez (10-7, 3.65 ERA)
Max Fried is one hell of a pitcher and the Phillies know that all too well. His last game against the Mets saw him allow just 1 run in 5 innings and that’s very much become the standard for him. Fried held a 3.13 ERA against the Phils this year through 4 games.
As for Ranger Suarez, he’s been solid in his own right. In his career against the Braves (15 games), he’s 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA. if this game does become a pitching stalemate against two very explosive offenses, we could be in for one brilliant game of baseball.
But who will prevail?
Game 1 betting preview
Atlanta Braves (-188) vs.Philadelphia Phillies (+155)
Atlanta are favorites here and understandably so. They run the table and are hosting the first game of the series. From a betting perspective, I think taking the under 7.5 run total makes sense. It’s a tense environment, and two brilliant pitchers start things off.
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AP Photo/Jeff Roberson