Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves MLB Handicapping Picks

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves get set to play the series opener of a three-game set on Friday night between divisional foes at Turner Field

Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies have split the first six games against each other this year

Philadelphia travels to Atlanta this weekend for the third meeting of the season with Atlanta and second of the week.  The Phillies currently hold a three-game lead in the National League East division and the season series is leveled at 3-3 heading into tonight’s series opener.  “We have the utmost respect for them and we’ll treat them like the NL East champs they’ve been for the past four years,” said Braves third baseman Chipper Jones.  Outfielder Raul Ibanez figures to play a prominent role in this series, as he’s hitting .500 and has recorded six multi-hit games since May 2.  Philadelphia is 15-8 versus division opponents this year.

Phillies starting pitcher Cole Hamels is 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts this season and is coming off a 5-2 home loss versus the Braves last time out.  The left-hander allowed three earned runs and five hits over seven innings in that particular outing, surrendering a season-high two home runs in the process.  Hamels will be making his fourth road start of the year, bringing in a perfect 3-0 mark and 1.23 ERA, as opponents are hitting just .158 against him.  In 22 career starts versus the Braves, he has garnered a solid 10-6 record and 3.72 ERA.

Atlanta erased a four-run deficit in earning a 6-5 win over Washington on Thursday night  and will look to put its recent play behind them.  “We pretty much got our tails kicked for the better part of three games,” Jones stated.  “We stole one tonight.  They stole one last night and we just gave one away the first night.”  Catcher Brian McCann supplied the walk-off single that continues his red-hot hitting with runners in scoring position.  He currently leads the NL with a .519 average with runners in scoring position.  Atlanta’s early season success has been directly related to a starting staff that paces the NL with a 2.92 ERA.  The staff ranks second in the league with 24 quality starts and has given up the second fewest home runs.

Braves starting pitcher Brandon Beachy is enjoying a solid rookie campaign, posting an even 1-1 record and 2.98 ERA in seven starts.  The right-hander will be throwing in front of the home crowd for the fifth time tonight, coming in with a 0-1 mark and 4.07 ERA, with the team producing a 1-3 record in those games.  Beachy will be making his second career start versus the Phillies, as he picked up a 10-2 home loss on April 9, giving up four earned runs and seven hits over six innings.

Bettors will likely back the Phillies due to their 44-17 record versus divisional foes, while the Braves are 1-4 in Beachy’s last five home starts.

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