The Phillies are tough. They managed a ferocious late-game comeback to take down the Cardinals in Game 1 of the Wildcard series and then dropped seven runs on the Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The Phillies also get their best pitcher back on the mound for Game 2, Zack Wheeler.
The Braves better wake up, or they could find themselves traveling to Philadelphia down 2-0 in the series.
Do we buy the Phillies with their ace on the mound? Or do we buy the Braves in a desperation spot?
Let’s dig in. Read on for our Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Game 2 of this National League Division Series.
Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves Odds
The Phillies have surprisingly opened as underdogs. Vegas respects the Braves at home and respects Kyle Wright.
Wright was one of the league’s few 20-game winners this season and did so as a rookie. He finished with a 3.19 ERA and showed he has some of the nastiest stuff in the game.
But I’m not sure the Braves are worth betting on at this number. The Phillies may provide value once again.
Let’s dive in.
Philadelphia Phillies vs Atlanta Braves Pick & Prediction
My pick: Philadelphia Phillies F5 ML (+110 at BetMGM Sportsbook)
Wheeler will shove. He’s a big-game pitcher who has already thrown 6 ⅓ shutout innings in this postseason and has also dominated the Braves in the past.
Meanwhile, I’m worried about Kyle Wright. He had a 5.26 ERA in September and October and has only made three postseason appearances. The Phillies are in a better spot than they were when Wright faced them, too.
The bullpen matchup heavily favors Atlanta, so I’d rather avoid the Phillies on the full-game ML. But I do love them in the first five innings where they are inexplicably underdogs with their ace on the mound.
I’d play the Phillies F5 ML at +100 or better.
Philadelphia Phillies Starting Lineup
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 Kyle Wright
Wright is a good pitcher. It took him a few years to establish himself as a top-end rotation guy, but he finally figured it out, pitching to a 3.19 ERA this season across 180 innings.
It took him 70 innings of big league ball, but Wright finally got his walks under control. He had consistently walked 14% of MLB batters up until this year when he cut that number in half. His walks dropped, his WHIP dropped, and his numbers dropped with it.
He relies on a bevy of secondary stuff, including a primary curveball and secondary sinker, so early-career control issues are to be expected. Additionally, the spin rates on both his top pitches are so high that reeling them in can be just as difficult.
Kyle Wright, Sick 91mph Slider…and golf swing? 🏌️♂️ pic.twitter.com/uTBO2MJKyt
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 1, 2022
Wright has amassed a -32 Run Value between his curveball, sinker, changeup, and slider.
After years of struggling against the Phillies, Wright has figured out his division rival, too. He made three starts against Philly this season with a 2.84 ERA, striking out 15 over 19 innings.
I don’t have to remind you how dangerous Philadelphia’s lineup can be. There’s too much talent at the top of the order to not be effective, including Bryce Harper and NL home run leader Kyle Schwarber.
But the most important part of this lineup is Nick Castellanos. After putting up career numbers in his last season as a Cincinnati Red, Castellanos disappeared at the plate in the first half of his debut season in Philadelphia and reappeared in the field with his -11 Outs Above Average.
But Castellanos put up a 113 wRC+ in the second half of the season with better batted-ball statistics. He consistently improved and then put up the best game of the season in Game 1 of this series.
— MLB (@MLB) October 11, 2022
This lineup is a completely different beast with Castellanos hitting well. Look out.
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
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 Zack Wheeler
Wheeler wasn’t the one-man force he was in 2021, but he posted almost identical statistics despite pitching 60 fewer innings due to missing some time (2.78 ERA in 2021, 2.82 ERA in 2022).
The fastball-sinker combination hasn’t missed a beat. Although his slider has taken more of a beating than it did a year ago. His xERA and xFIP are up ever so slightly but its’ largely negligible.
I am a little worried about Wheeler’s both his strikeout and walk rate dropping 3-4% from last season. I’m nit-picking, but it could be indicative of a larger trend.
I am not worried about the matchup.
Zack Wheeler, who's on the bump tomorrow, has faced the Braves 10 times as a member of the Phillies:
5 HR allowed
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) October 11, 2022
While the Braves are one of the best lineups in baseball, they have not gotten anything off of Wheeler. The Phillies ace has their number.
The one guy that has had success against Wheeler is Ronald Acuna Jr. Acuna is 8-for-34 lifetime off Wheeler but six of those hits went for extra bases. He was 3-for-5 in the Game 1 loss, so maybe target him in player props moving forward.