Atlanta Braves (0-0) at Philadelphia Phillies (0-0)
MLB Baseball: Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 3:05 pm (Citizens Bank Park)
Max Fried (0-0) (0.00) vs. Aaron Nola (0-0) (0.00)
The Line: Philadelphia Phillies -105 / Atlanta Braves -105 --- Over/Under: 7 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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The Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies meet in an NL East division matchup in MLB Opening Day action from Citizens Bank Park.
The Atlanta Braves come into the 2021 campaign looking to continue their success in recent years after a 3rd straight NL East division crown, finishing the condensed 60-game season with a record of 35-25, taking out the Reds in the Wild Card round before sweeping the Miami Marlins in the NLDS and followed that up with a hard-fought seven-game series loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. The core of talent for Atlanta is mostly intact, led by Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Marcell Ozuna at the top of the order. Freeman had a .341 batting average with 53 RBIs while Marcell Ozuna led the Braves with 18 homers last season. The question this season is can the pitching staff hold up and sustain its success. Max Fried leads the Braves’ current rotation and Charlie Morton will prove to be an important piece in terms of experience brought to the table. The return of Mike Soroka from a torn achilles is also on the horizon and bullpen pieces like Josh Tomlin and Sean Newcomb leave a lot of optimism in play for Atlanta fans this season. Fried is expected to get the opening day start and was 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 50 strikeouts last season. In his career, Fried is 3-2 with a 4.15 ERA in his career against the Phillies.
The Philadelphia Phillies will try to make amends for yet another disappointing season where the Phils missed the playoffs and were unable to finish above .500 for the 9th straight season. The talent is there as the Phillies possess an all-star laden roster littered with power throughout the lineup and are a crooked number waiting to happen with Andrew McCutchen in the leadoff spot while Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto make up the top half of the order. Alec Bohm, Didi Gregorius, Jean Segura and Scott Kingery all have offensive capabilities as well, and on paper, top to bottom, this Phillies team is absolutely stacked. The pitching rotation is really good as well, head-manned by Aaron Nola while Zack Wheeler flanks at #2. Zach Eflin, Matt Moore and either Chase Anderson or Vince Velasquez is expected to round out the group, but the bullpen has to be better after a paltry MLB high 7.06 ERA last seson and only one of two teams with a bullpen ERA over six last season. Nola is likely getting the start on opening day after going 5-5 with a 3.28 ERA and 96 strikeouts last season. In his career, Nola is 11-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 112 strikeouts against Atlanta.
Atlanta is 7-1 in their last 8 division games ad 13-6 in their last 19 road games while the over is 10-3-3 in their last 16 series opening games. Philadelphia is 13-5 in their last 18 home games and 1-5 in their last 6 division games while the over is 11-5 in their last 16 division games. The over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings between these two teams.
Do I expect there to be some regression from Fried? Yes. Do I think Nola has great stuff? Yes. But we’re being given a low total with two of the teams that have the most offensive potential in the majors, and while Philly didn’t live up to theirs last season, the talent is still there. Sure you could make the case that there are aces on the mound and that guys are getting their bats back up to speed, but Fried’s two starts against Philly last year combined for 21 runs and Nola had some issues with a 4.22 ERA against the Braves last season. Give me the over.