Phillies vs. Braves, Best of 5
Three teams from the NL East made the MLB Playoffs. It has already been knocked down to just two of them remaining after the opening weekend. The Phillies were able to sweep away the Cardinals in the first series as the Braves sat home and rested their players. Now we see this divisional matchup that had 19 games between them in the regular season.
During the regular season, the Braves were able to take 11 of the 19 games between the two of them. The Braves were also able to steal away the division from the Mets in the last week of the season. Although the Braves only won three more games in the series than the Phillies, they were clearly the better team this season, winning 14 more games than the Phillies on the year. For the series, we know that Max Fried is opening the series. I'd expect Kyle Wright to get Game 2 if they lose the game, and Charlie Morton to go in the third game. Spencer Strider is an awesome starter this year for them, but the Braves aren't sure what his role will be. Offensively, the Braves don't have many weak spots. Ronald Acuna Jr is a really strong hitter against the Phillies pitching, so look for him to cause some damage.
For the Phillies, we saw them have two really good starts out of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler. Instead of having Wheeler start on short rest (it would only be about a day) the Phillies are turning to Ranger Suarez - that makes me really nervous for them. Max Fried is tough and Suarez is okay, but not near his level. The Phillies are just 2-3 in Suarez's five starts against the Braves on the season, too. I'm excited to see how the Phillies hitters combat the Braves pitching. The Cardinals sent Jose Quintana and Miles Mikolas to the mound and the Phillies obviously won, but they didn't look great.
After struggling to get to the postseason, the Phillies made it and already won a series. Pitching and defense win in the postseason. You obviously need some timely hitting, too. The Phillies definitely got the hitting part in the Cardinals series, but I think it will be harder against the Braves. I see the Braves winning Game 1 and then you have to beat Fried, Wright, and Morton in three of the next four games. I think this is a series the Braves win 3-1 so I'll put a small play on that at +330. I will also play the Braves -1.5 at +140.
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