Phillies vs. Braves MLB Odds & Picks: How to Find Value on Total in Atlanta (Saturday, April 10)
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured Ronald Acuna Jr.
- Ian Anderson and Zach Eflin meet for the second time in seven days.
- Both pitchers were effective the first time around, but the offenses should be more dialed the second time they face the pitchers.
- BJ Cunningham is expecting the batting to be as lively as it was Friday night in Atlanta's 8-1 win.
Phillies vs. Braves Odds
|Time||7:20 p.m. ET|
The red-hot Phillies look to maintain their early lead in the NL East Saturday night in game two of their series with the Braves.
The Phillies have gotten off to a fast start, sweeping the Braves at home and taking two of three from the Mets. They'll send Zach Eflin to the mound in hopes he can give them a solid five to six innings.
The Braves have gotten off to a horrible start after missing the World Series by one game last season. Ian Anderson put up five solid innings against the Phillies six days ago, giving up four hits and one run, while also striking out seven Phillies. Anderson is one of the best young starters in baseball and will give the Braves a good chance to win if has a similar type performance on Saturday night.
The Phillies lineup hit righties really well last season, putting up a .331 wOBA and 106 wRC+. They kept their entire lineup together from last season, and the continuity has seemed to pay off through their first seven games of the season.
The Phillies got to Ian Anderson's fastball last week, getting three of their four hits, plus a home run off it. That isn't at all surprising since the Phillies were the seventh best team against fastballs last season. The other pitch they had a lot of success against was curveballs, which is one of Anderson's main secondary pitches, so the Phillies will have a good matchup on Saturday.
The Braves absolutely mashed right-handed pitching and fastballs last season. Atlanta was the best fastball hitting team with 55.2 weighted fastball runs (wFB) and was also the best team against right-handed pitching with a .363 wOBA and 126 wOBA. Much like the Phillies, they kept their entire lineup together, so they will likely be one of the best lineups in baseball once again.
Zach Eflin shut down their lineup a week ago, going seven innings, giving up only four hits and one run. He dominated their lineup with his sinker, which he threw over 50% of the time last season. It'll be interesting to see if Atlanta will be able to improve against that pitch.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Zach Eflin vs. Ian Anderson
2021 ZIPS Projected Stats(via Fangraphs)
Phillies Starting Pitcher
Zach Eflin, RHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Zach Eflin's first start wasn't out of the ordinary because he is starting to turn into an above-average starting pitcher. In 2020, he posted career-best numbers with a 3.23 xFIP, 3.30 xERA, and 10.68 K/9. The biggest difference he made was reducing hard contact. Opposing hitters' hard hit percentage went from 37.9% to 24.5%, which is the reason for his career-best numbers. However, Atlanta had the third highest hard hit percentage in MLB last season.
Outside of his curveball, opposing hitters were able to get to pretty much all of his arsenal. The Braves are too good of a lineup to get shut down by Eflin a second time, so I think he's going to struggle tonight.
Braves Starting Pitcher
Ian Anderson, RHP
2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Ian Anderson was a fantastic surprise for the Braves' rotation last season. The 22-year-old showed why he was the third-overall pick in 2016, posting a 1.95 ERA in six starts.
Anderson's arsenal starts with a really nice fastball that can top out at 96 mph with good downhill movement. He then has a power curve that is a really solid pitch for him, as it produced a 40.5% whiff rate last season. Where Anderson really excels, though, is with his changeup. The pitch has been almost unhittable so far in his career. He's allowed only a .104 average to opponents in 2020 and produced a 39.4% whiff rate. As you can see, the pitch has some disgusting drop-off-the-table action.
Ian Anderson, Painted Changeup. 😉 pic.twitter.com/szhIEiNS3K
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 1, 2020
Anderson pitched really well in his first start against the Phillies, as long as he is able to spot his fastball better, he should be able to shut down their lineup.
The Phillies had the worst bullpen in MLB by many different metrics in 2020. However, they've done a complete turnaround so far this season, as they've only allowed only eight runs and are top 10 in xFIP.
Atlanta counters with a bullpen that ranked in the top half of MLB in both ERA and xFIP last season. They've been shutting down opponents so far this season, with a 2.27 ERA through 19 and 2/3rds innings. However, their xFIP is all the way up at 4.09, so they are due for some negative regression.
With how good these two offenses are against right-handed pitching, I think we are going to see another high-scoring affair just like we saw on Friday night. Seeing each pitcher for a second time will also benefit both offenses.
Since I have 9.63 runs projected for this game, I think there is some value on Over 8.5 runs at -107 odds (DraftKings).
Pick: Over 8.5 runs (-107)