The Braves are reigning World Series champions coming off a 101-win season, but as they proved last year, anything can happen in October. The Phillies come into Atlanta with plenty of momentum after sweeping the Cardinals and are looking for another upset.
Max Fried will get the ball for the Braves in their postseason opener, while Ranger Suarez will start for the Phillies. Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Tuesday’s game in Atlanta.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves Betting Odds
The Braves are decisive home favorites in Game 1 at -196 on the moneyline, with the over/under set at 7.5 runs.
The Phillies were more dangerous in the Wild Card Round, where they could win with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola alone. While Philadelphia might have a real chance to win the series, Wheeler and Nola won’t be available for Game 1, and oddsmakers clearly don’t feel as confident in Suarez as he goes up against a loaded Braves lineup.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves Game 1 Prediction
My pick: Braves -1.5 (-102)
The postseason tends to produce low-scoring games, but I have enough confidence in the Braves that a multi-run margin is the better value. Max Fried has been remarkably consistent this season and should give Atlanta some cushion if the lineup needs a few innings to get up to speed.
Wheeler and Nola will give the Phillies a chance against the defending champions, but I’m not confident in the Game 1 pitching staff to get the job done on the road.
LF K. Schwarber L
1B R. Hoskins R
3B A. Bohm R
DH B. Harper L
C J. Realmuto R
RF N. Castellanos R
2B J. Segura R
CF M. Vierling R
SS B. Stott L
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Max Fried
Max Fried could be a Cy Young finalist after another terrific season. The Braves lefty posted a 2.48 ERA across 30 starts (185.1 IP), with a 2.70 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, and 8.3 K/9. Fried only allowed 12 home runs, and he reduced walks from last season.
Fried is about as steady as aces come – while he may not blow teams away, he rarely gets hit hard. Fried hasn’t allowed more than 2 ER in any of his last 10 starts, and he hasn’t surrendered more than 3 ER since June 14. In all likelihood, the Phillies can only win if their pitching matches Fried.
As fun as the Phillies’ sweep of the Cardinals was, it wasn’t a banner week for the offense. Philadelphia didn’t hit at all in Game 1 until Ryan Helsley’s control issues loaded the bases, and a Bryce Harper home run plus a sac-fly were all the Phillies got in Game 2. While Harper has delivered in these spots before, it feels like it’ll be a tough day against Fried.
The Phillies did hit better against lefties this season, and Fried had a 4.30 ERA in four starts against this lineup, so scratching a run or two across isn’t impossible – especially considering Fried’s mixed results in the postseason last year. In a high-pressure environment, though, I don’t trust this Phillies offense in this one.
RF R. Acuna R
SS D. Swanson R
CF M. Harris L
3B A. Riley R
1B M. Olson L
DH W. Contreras R
C T. d’Arnaud R
2B O. Arcia R
LF R. Grossman S
Atlanta Braves vs. Ranger Suarez
Ranger Suarez wasn’t as electric this season as he was in 2021, but he settled in down the stretch and earned the No. 3 spot in the postseason rotation. Suarez posted a 3.65 ERA and 3.87 FIP across 29 starts, posting a middling 1.33 WHIP.
Suarez kept home runs low this season, but he became prone to putting traffic on the basepaths. The Braves have an offense that will make you pay for mistakes, so the Phillies will have to hope Suarez finds some of what made him so successful last year.
Atlanta is one of the best power-hitting teams in baseball. Eight Braves have 15+ home runs this season, and Matt Olson finished the season on an absolute tear with six home runs over the last 10 days. Olson, Austin Riley, Dansby Swanson, and William Contreras are all major power threats, and power – especially against the Phillies’ bullpen – could be the difference in this game. The Braves’ .317 OBP is almost identical to the Phillies’ OBP, but if Suarez makes his typical mistakes and puts runners on base, Atlanta has the power to make him pay.
It’s worth noting the Phillies’ fully-rested bullpen performed well in the Cardinals series, aside from Jose Alvarado surrendering a home run in Game 1. Still, Suarez’s relative lack of length means we could see more of this shaky bullpen than the Phillies would like.