Sunday marks the end of every team’s first series, and for the Philadelphia Phillies (2-0), they are trying to make a statement early in the season by sweeping their division rivals, the Atlanta Braves (0-2). On Saturday, the Phillies beat the Braves 8-6 by utilizing two of their biggest offensive acquisitions over the offseason. Bryce Harper went 1 for 3 with his first home run of the season while J.T. Realmuto also added a home run in route to a 2 for 4 day where he also had 3 runs batted in and 1 run scored. Going for the sweep, the Phillies will trot out veteran Jake Arrieta (0-0) to take on the Braves’ Kyle Wright (0-0). This game is being played in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:08 pm ET.
The moneyline for Sunday’s game is set at the Atlanta Braves +130 and the Philadelphia Phillies -150. The over/under on runs scored is set at 9.
Braves Looking To Avoid Series Sweep
The NL East is probably the most improved division in baseball and could be one of the toughest with the likes of the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, and New York Mets all hoping to contend. For the Braves, they know that every game matters and will be looking to salvage the last game of the series. Offensively, their team hasn’t fared overly well against Jake Arrieta in their careers, although most have a small sample size against him. Freddie Freeman has seen him 14 times and is batting .286 against him with 4 runs batted in, while Ender Inciarte has faced him 13 times, batting .385 against the righty. Still, no one on Atlanta’s team has homered off of the veteran.
On the bump for the Braves will be right-hander Kyle Wright. He is making his first career start and is hoping to give the Braves a jolt after their pitching staff has been torched in the first two games. Wright is currently the 30thranked prospect according to MLB.com, and last season, in the minors, Wright went 8-9 with a 3.46 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 138 innings. Still, the Phillies lineup definitely doesn’t consist of minor leaguers, and he is going to have to be sharp as his first start comes in the spotlight of Sunday Night Baseball.
Phillies Looking To Make It Three In A Row
The Phillies had quite the offseason, and it has already been paying off for them two games into the season. Through two games newly acquired players like Jean Segura (.375 average, 2 runs), J.T. Realmuto (2 runs, 3 runs batted in, 1 home run), and Bryce Harper (2 runs, 1 home run) have already made an impact. Add that to players like Rhys Hoskins (.333 avg., 1 grand slam, 4 runs batted in, 4 runs) and Makiel Franco (3 for 6, 2 home runs, 6 runs batted in) and this offense looks like it can be scary from top to bottom.
On the pitching side, the Phillies will look to Jake Arrieta to continue his career success this season. Last year with the Phillies, Arrieta was 10-11 with a 3.96 ERA and a 1.286 WHIP. In 172.2 innings he had 138 strikeouts and 57 walks. Still, as decent as those numbers are, that was his worst performance in the last 5 years. With a stronger team on both sides of the ball around him, Arrieta will look to do his part and bounce back with a solid year. If he can do that, it will help to solidify a starting rotation that has some question marks.
Safe Bet Is On Philly
It is always hard to judge what a kid in his first big league start will do on the mound; it is even tougher when it is in a primetime national game on a Sunday night. I think Kyle Wright will be special, but with a beat up starting rotation and bullpen, it is hard not to like the chances of the Phillies offense. I think this will be a high scoring contest, illustrated by the high over/under on runs scored, but in a slugfest, I like the way Philadelphia is slugging it right now. Both teams will score runs, but between Arrieta and a decent Philadelphia bullpen, I think they will be able to weather the storm a little better. For my money, I am taking Philadelphia at -150.