Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves Pick & Prediction MARCH 30th 2024

The Atlanta Braves started the regular season in a powerful way on Friday.

They will look to open with two straight victories Saturday when they battle the host Philadelphia Phillies.

The Braves, who were knocked out of the postseason the past two years by the Phillies, recorded a 9-3 win in both teams’ season opener Friday. Matt Olson tied his career high with three doubles, including one that drove in three runs, on his 30th birthday.

“Thirty is a special one. You’re officially an old man,” Olson quipped to Bally Sports. “Glad we got a win. It was a tough game.”

Atlanta’s Michael Harris II added three hits, two runs and an RBI, Orlando Arcia had three hits, and Ronald Acuna Jr. finished with two hits and an RBI.

Adam Duvall contributed a game-tying, two-run, pinch-hit double in the seventh inning. Atlanta, which added seven runs in the eighth, wound up with 13 hits.

“You’ve got to make them come to you,” Olson said of opposing pitchers. “I think it says a lot about the trust guys have. We were grinding out at-bats. You have faith in the next guy to get the job done.”

On the down side for Atlanta, catcher Sean Murphy left the game after swinging at a pitch in the seventh inning. Travis d’Arnaud replaced him with a 1-2 count and struck out on the first pitch he saw from Matt Strahm.

After the game, the Braves announced that Murphy would be placed on the injured list due to a left oblique strain. Chadwick Tromp will be recalled to back up d’Arnaud.

“We’ll get him checked out (Saturday) to see what the images say,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said of Murphy. “I hate it for him. He had such a nice end to his spring, was feeling good. Just one of those freak things … that happen in baseball. Thank God we got a guy of Travis’ caliber to step in now.”

The Braves will hand the ball to Max Fried (8-1, 2.55 ERA in 2023) on Saturday.

In 19 career games, including 13 starts, against the Phillies, Fried has a 4-4 record with a 3.62 ERA.

The Phillies managed just five hits on Friday, when Brandon Marsh hit a two-run homer and Alec Bohm had two hits. The top four hitters in the lineup — Kyle Schwarber, Trea Turner, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto — combined to go 0-for-14 with seven strikeouts and two walks.

“I have full confidence in our lineup,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “They’ll come in here (Saturday) rarin’ to go.”

Schwarber added, “Unfortunately, it got away from us. We’ve got to be able to bounce back (Saturday).”

The Philadelphia bullpen struggled after Zack Wheeler tossed six scoreless innings. Jose Alvarado allowed five runs in two-thirds of an inning, and Strahm, Jeff Hoffman, Alvarado, Connor Brogdon and Yunior Marte combined to allow nine runs on eight hits and five walks.

“It was very uncharacteristic of our bullpen the last three innings,” Thomson said. “They didn’t have a feel for throwing strikes.”

Alvarado had excellent velocity but was especially rusty with his command.

“It looked like he couldn’t get a feel for the baseball,” Thomson said. “Maybe it was the cold weather. They’ll (the bullpen) be better. I’m not concerned about that.”

The Phillies will turn to Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46 ERA in 2023) on Saturday. The right-hander has enjoyed a good bit of success in 33 career starts against the Braves, going 15-10 with a 3.40 ERA.

Nola was the Opening Day starter each of the past six seasons before the Phillies went with Wheeler this time around.

Nola signed a seven-year, $172 million extension in the offseason to remain in Philadelphia. He has spent his entire career with the organization since the Phillies made him the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft.

–Field Level Media

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