Phillies-Braves: Both Offenses Should Find Success in Atlanta

Mark Lathrop

Friday, March 30, 2018 11:53 AM UTC

Friday, Mar. 30, 2018 11:53 AM UTC

Baseball is back and our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop can't wait to start piling up the units. Here he spots a combination of pitching splits and park factors that make a logical call on a total easy to make.

2018 MLB Record: 1-0, +0.79u (1 Pending)

Philadelphia Phillies (1-0 O/U) at Atlanta Braves (1-0 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Over 9Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Following an exciting Nick Markakis walk-off home run on opening day for the Braves, Atlanta looks to take the series early against the Phillies with Mike Foltynewicz on the mound Friday night (7:35 ET). Atlanta won that game 8-5 as a +115 moneyline underdog, but in this one they are favored at -118 at YouWager. The total of course went well 'over' the commonly found number of 8, and with tonight’s pitching matchup the total line has been set at 9 across the board.

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Nick Markakis with the 3-run walk-off shot to give the @Braves an Opening Day win.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 30, 2018

Starting for the Braves is the 26-year-old Foltynewicz, who is coming off of a 10-13 season over 154.0 innings pitched. Folty’s walk rate went back up in 2017 after dipping in 2016, which makes me think that the 3.45 BB/9 he put up last year is closer to normal. He allowed a .271 BAA overall on the season, but lefties terrorized him at a .307 BAA clip with a .421 OBP in his home split. Lefties are going to be an issue for him always. It does look as if the Phillies can take advantage of this split as well with a combination of lefties and switch-hitters who can go six-deep in their lineup. The 'Over' is 4-2 in Folty’s career when starting against the Phillies.

Nick Pivetta takes the mound for the Philadelphia. After absolutely destroying Triple-A hitting (1.71 FIP over 32 IP) to start the 2017 season, Pivetta finished with an 8-10 record over 26 starts and a 4.87 FIP. The righty did not fare well against other right-handed batters, though, as he gave up a .302 BAA in that situation as well as 25 of his 30 home runs allowed over 133.0 innings. Pivetta wasn't been sharp in spring training; however, I don’t usually pay too much attention to that, as pitchers can be working on a certain pitch that could tip off the competition. Pivetta had quite a bit of success against Atlanta last year while going 3-0 with a 1.11 WHIP. One of the reasons for that is that the Braves are lefty-heavy in their lineup.

The weather could have a positive effect on run production in Atlanta on Friday night. The wind is supposed to be blowing directly out at the start of the game at around 10 mph. SunTrust park is already favorable to left-handed batters just because of the layout, which favors the visiting Phillies. However, Pivetta’s 18.2% HR/FB rate from last season and his continued trouble with dingers this spring has me wary of backing them here. Atlanta started the season hitting 3 home runs Thursday, after all. No, I’ll wait on taking a side between this pitching matchup and instead back the park edge by taking 'Over' 9 runs as one of my MLB Picks.

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