Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies (Sunday Night MLB Game of the Week): Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes
How to Watch
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
When: Sunday, March 31st at 7:05 EST
How (TV/Radio): ESPN, Braves Radio: WCNN 680 AM & 106.7 FM, Phillies Radio: WIP 94.1 FM
The Braves have surprised a few writers with the news they will feature young pitchers Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson in the second and third spot in the five-man rotation.
The lineup is boosted by the free agent signing of veteran 3B Josh Donaldson, who struggled with injuries in 2018.
Brian Snitkers Braves are currently 10-1 favorites to win the National League. Their win total currently stands at 86 for 2019.
Gabe Kaplers Phillies are looking to put a tough 2018 behind them with a new look lineup that features OFs Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen, SS Jean Segura and C J.T. Realmuto.
The Phillies currently have 6-1 odds to win the National League. Bookmakers have set the Phillies win total for 2019 at 89.
Braves: Kyle Wright
Coming into 2019, the 2017 top-five pick Wright ranked as Braves #2 prospect by MLB.com.
The 23-year old right hander threw 138 innings last season, posting a 3.70 ERA in 20 starts at AA.
With a four-pitch mix, Wright baffles hitters with a fastball that reaches 98-mph and two hard breaking pitches, a power slider and sharp curve that led to 138 strikeouts in 144 innings.
- Wright threw his fastball 51.6% of the time last season with the slider and curve each clocking in at roughly 20%.
- Last season, AA hitters had a .249 batting average against Wright.
- After his promotion to AAA, Wright held opposing batters to just 15 hits over 28.2 innings.
Phillies: Jake Arrieta
Arrieta has fallen to the 3rd spot in the Phillies rotation after a rough 2018 that saw the right hander continue his decline in skills.
With a swinging strike rate and strikeout rate plunge, Arrieta became vulnerable to left-handed batters who hit .278 off the righty last season.
Since his Cy Young winning season in 2015, where the right-hander posted a 1.77 ERA, Arrieta has posted season ERAs of 3.10 in 16, 3.53 in 17, and 3.96 in 2018.
- Arrieta held a 5.53 ERA the third time through the lineup, making him an early pull candidate for manager Kapler.
- The right hander was better at home last season allowing just a .232 average to opposing hitters.
- Left-handed batters posted an .812 OPS (On-base plus Slugging percentage) against Arrieta in 2018.
Atlantas current lineup has had relatively little luck against Arrieta. Veteran OF Nick Markakis, known for his high contact rate, is an anemic 2 for 16 when facing Arrieta.
All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is just 4 for 16 against the righty, with no home runs and 4 RBI.
With Arrietas noticeably diminishing skill set and the hitter-friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park, the Braves could turn their luck around against the veteran pitcher.
- In his only game against Arrieta, Ronald Acuna Jr. went 1 for 4 with a walk.
- Ender Inciarte has the most career success against Arrieta, going 5 for 13 with a double and triple.
- No one in the Braves lineup has hit a home run off Jake Arrieta in their career.
The revamped Phillies lineup is one of the most exciting offseason storylines in MLB.
After struggling last season, the new look Philly lineup should be full of tough outs and feature a heart of the order that is nothing but all-stars with Harper, slugger Rhys Hoskins and Realmuto hitting 3rd , 4th and 5th in the order.
- Bryce Harper is the only Philly hitter that has faced Wright and that at-bat ended in a walk.
- SS Jean Segura hit .300 against right-handed pitchers last season.
- OF Andrew McCutchen hit .250 against righties last season with 13 home runs in 459 plate appearances.
- SP Kevin Gausman is sidelined with shoulder discomfort and wont return until early April.
- Braves sent down slugging OF Adam Duvall to AAA in last round of opening day roster cuts.
- Top prospect SP Touki Toussaint and Mike Soroka did not make the opening day roster for the Braves.
- LF Andrew McCutchen has been named as the leadoff hitter for the Phillies.
- The current Phillies starting lineup features five new hitters compared to the 2018 opening day lineup.
- New catcher J.T. Realmuto hit 4 home runs and held a .350 average in his 15 spring training games this season.
888Sport NJ has put the Braves at +138 and the Phillies at -148.