Monday, September 25, 2023
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MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves (94-50) at Philadelphia Phillies (79-65)


Olson at CBP
Matt Olson went 3-for-7 with two homers and six RBI in yesterday’s doubleheader. In 17 career games here at Citizens Bank Park, he has 14 extra-base hits including 10 home runs, and has driven in 18. Including the postseason, Olson has 11 home runs in 19 career games here, and is homering once every 6.18 at-bats in this building. Since Olson’s rookie season in 2017 he has gone deep in 14.7% of his plate appearances here. No other player to appear in as many games at Citizens Bank Park in that span has homered at a higher rate, and just one other player has done so in even 10% of their plate appearances (Adam Duvall, 10.2%)

TONIGHT’S GAME: The Braves and Phillies tonight continue a four-game series with what is the ninth of 13 scheduled meetings between the clubs this season…Atlanta and Philadelphia will conclude their season set with three games at Truist Park next week, September 18-20. The Braves and Phillies split a pair of games yesterday, and Atlanta is 5-3 in eight total games with Philadelphia this season. Atlanta went 11-8 against Philadelphia last season to win the season set, and has won the season series with the Phillies in each of the last two years…The Braves went 10-9 against the Phillies in 2021, and have now won the season set with Philadelphia in consecutive years for the first time since a five-year run, 2012-2016. The Braves and Phillies met in the 2022 postseason, with Philadelphia winning the NLDS, three-games-to-one, to eliminate the defending World Series champions…Philadelphia outscored Atlanta, 24-13, in the series. Atlanta and Philadelphia have played 180 games here at Citizens Bank Park since the facility opened in 2004, with the Braves going 86-94 (.478)…The Braves have not had a winning record for the season in this ballpark since going 5-4 over nine games in 2016, but are 3-1 here this season. LH Max Fried is set to make the 19th appearance and 13th start of his career versus Philadelphia, and is an even 4-4 with a 3.74 ERA (31 ER/74.2 IP) over his first 18 games…The 6-foot-4, 190-pound left-hander has not pitched against the Phillies this season, and went 0-1 with a 3.13 ERA (8 ER/23.0 IP) over four starts last year. RH Zack Wheeler has made 25 starts against Atlanta in his career, compiling an 11-7 record with a 3.00 ERA (53 ER/159.0 IP)…In his only start against the Braves this season, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound native of Smyrna, GA, pitched 8.0 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts to earn the win.

WIN & LOSS: The Braves and Phillies split two games of a doubleheader yesterday, with Atlanta winning Game 1, 10-8, before Philadelphia took the nightcap, 7-5… Atlanta’s loss in Game 2 snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Braves over the Phillies in doubleheader games, a run that stretched to 2014. In the Game 1 victory, Raisel Iglesias was charged with a blown save after he allowed two earned runs in the ninth inning…Entering play, Iglesias had converted each of his prior 20 save opportunities, a streak that was the longest in the National League and second-best in baseball. In the Game 2 loss, Matt Olson went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and four RBI…The performance marked Olson’s eighth multi-homer game of the season, as well as his 34th multi-RBI game, both best in the majors.

FIFTY: Matt Olson’s two home runs last night were his 49th and 50th of the season…He is just the second player in Braves franchise history to hit 50 home runs in a season, and needs just one more to tie Andruw Jones’ single-season franchise record. Jones hit 51 in 2005 to set the mark. Olson is one of just 15 players since 2000 to hit 50 homers in a season, and the first player in the NL to do so since Pete Alonso in 2019…He is the first left-handed hitter in the NL with a 50-homer season since Prince Fielder in 2007. Olson currently leads the majors in homers (50) and RBI (127)…No other player has more than 44 homers (Ohtani) or 103 RBI (three tied). His 127 RBI are the most by a National Leaguer through 144 team games since Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard has 139 in 2006. Olson is on pace for 56 homers and 143 RBI, both of which would set modern-era franchise records for a single season.

MAX FRIED: Enters tonight’s start undefeated since returning from the injured list on August 4, going a perfect 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA (14 ER/40.2 IP) in seven total turns. His five wins since his return are tied for most by a starter in the National League with SD’s Blake Snell…Cincinnati’s Alexis Diaz has five wins in relief in that span…He is one of just two pitchers in the majors with five wins and no losses since that date, joining SEA’s Luis Castillo. Since his first full season in 2019, Fried’s 59 wins are the most by a left-hander in baseball and trail just Gerrit Cole’s 69 victories for most by any pitcher. Fried has pitched in 11 career games here at Citizens Bank Park, and Atlanta is just 2-9 in these games… Fried is 2-4 with a 4.29 ERA (20 ER/42.0 IP) here, but does not have a win in this stadium since August of 2020.

MAGIC NUMBER: Atlanta’s win in Game 1 yesterday lowered the club’s magic number to clinch the N.L. East to four…The Braves can win the division with victories here tonight and tomorrow. Atlanta’s win over Pittsburgh on Sunday clinched a spot in the 2023 postseason, the first team in baseball to earn a spot this season…The Braves will head to the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season. The Braves today play their 145th game of the season…Atlanta has not clinched the division prior to game No. 150 in a full, 162-game season since 2002, when it wrapped up the title in its 142nd game…The Braves last year did not secure the division until the penultimate game of the season. The Braves are vying for their sixth consecutive National League East title…Atlanta’s current five-year run is already the longest active division-winning streak in the majors.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #54 Max Fried
LHP • 6-4 • 190 • 29 yrs
2023 Record: 7-1, 2.70 ERA • 2022 Record: 14-7, 2.48 ERA
vs. RHB: .257 (55-214), 4 HR • vs. LHB: .222 (8-36), 1 HR
Home: 2-1, 3.86 ERA (13/30.1) • Away: 5-0, 1.73 ERA (6/36.1)

Today’s Game

  • Set to make his first start against Philadelphia this season and 13th on the year. Earned his seventh win of the season after allowing three runs, six hits, and two walks over 6.0 innings pitched against St. Louis in his last start. Fried is 21-16 with a 3.77 ERA in 68 appearances against NL East opponents. Is 1-0 in two starts against Divisional opponents. Is 5-0 with a 3.10 ERA in seven starts since being reinstated from the IL on 8/4. His 2.70 ERA is the fifth lowest in the majors among pitchers with at least 10 starts. His 2.84 FIP is the fourth lowest in the National League (min. 10 starts). Was reinstated from the 60-day injured list on August 4 and made a start against Chicago (NL) after missing 70 games, 90 days between appearances. Landed on the 60-day IL on May 9 (retro May 6) with a strained left forearm. Fried went 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA with 13 strikeouts in four rehabilitation appearances. Made three starts with Triple-A Gwinnett and one with High-A Rome. Fried picked off New York’s Harrison Bader on August 14, his second successful pick-off of the season. Fried’s 25 successful pickoffs since debuting in 2017 are the most in baseball and five more than the next closest pitcher, Washington’s Patrick Corbin. Corbin has attempted 434 pickoffs in that time, compared to Fried’s 172. Fried has successfully nabbed a runner on 14.5 percent of his career pickoff attempts, drastically higher than the MLB average since his debut (1.7 percent)…Since 2017, 1.6 percent of MLB’s successful pick attempts have been executed by Fried. His 59 wins since the beginning of the 2019 season are the most in the National League, and tied most by any left-hander in baseball. Only one pitcher, the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, has more wins than Fried since the start of 2019…Cole has 69 wins. Additionally, the Braves have 79 wins in games started by Fried since the beginning of 2019, the most such wins by a pitcher in the National League… Only Cole and José Berríos have more, whose teams have won 91 and 81 of their starts, have more in the majors. Teammate Charlie Morton’s teams also have 78 wins during that span.

2023 Recap

  • Became just the fifth pitcher since 1901 to only allow one run through March and April with at least four games started. Joined Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, Fernando Valenzuela and Minnesota’s Pablo López as the only other pitchers to do so (since 1901). Fried was placed on the 15-day injured list with a strained left hamstring on March 30 and activated from the IL on April 17. Made his third career Opening Day start after he also started the opener in each of the last two seasons. Fried was the first Braves lefty to make consecutive Opening Day starts since Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn started six straight, 1957-1962. Prior to Fried, the last Braves lefty to start Opening Day was Tom Glavine in 2002.


GET ME TO THE PLATE BOYS: In “Close & Late” situations (7th inning or later with the batting team ahead by one run, tied, or with the tying run on base, at bat or on deck), Bryce Harper has 81 plate appearances this season and he is slashing .403/.506/.672 with a 1.178 OPS that leads MLB – Harper has reached base safely in 41 of those 81 plate appearances … Per FanGraphs, Harper ranks 3rd in MLB this year in Win Probability Added at 5.33 – he trails only Ronald Acuna Jr. (6.20) and Mookie Betts (5.54).

ARMS RACE: The Phillies starting staff ranks 1st in the National League and 4th in MLB with 799.1 innings pitched this season – they have 15.9 fWAR as a staff which is 1st among all MLB rotations (next: MIN, 14.5) and is 4.0 full wins in front of the next closest NL club (CHI, 11.9) … Consequently, Philadelphia’s bullpen has thrown the fewest innings of any relief corps this year at 481.0, yet Philadelphia’s relief pitchers have combined for 5.7 fWAR which ranks 3rd in MLB behind BAL (7.6) and LAD (5.9) … Combined, Phillies pitching has put up 21.5 fWAR this season which leads MLB (next: SEA, 19.5) and is 4.3 wins in front of ATL who ranks 2nd in the NL at 17.2.

UNDER THE LIGHTS AT CBP: The Phillies have won 13 of their last 16 night games at Citizens Bank Park (since 8/5) … In this stretch, the Phillies have outscored the opposition 116-60 (+56 run differential) – they are slashing .298/.378/.599 with a .977 OPS, 38 home runs and are averaging 7.3 runs per game.

LEADING MAN: Since he was moved back to the leadoff spot on June 2, the Phillies are 40-13 in the 53 games Kyle Schwarber has scored a run (.755 win %) and they are 22-5 in the 27 games he has homered (.815 win %) … On Wednesday in San Diego, Schwarber set a franchise record with his 10th leadoff home run this season, eclipsing Jimmy Rollins’ previous record of nine in 2007 … Since the All-Star break, Schwarber has posted a .989 OPS in 54 games (254 PA) with 21 home runs and 58 walks with a 22.8% walk rate … Schwarber has moved into the top 10 on the Phillies all time walk list with 116 (last: Hoskins 116 in 2019) and is averaging 1.07 walks per game in the second half – the franchise record for walks in a season in 129, set by Lenny Dykstra in 1993.

TURNED HIM LOOSE: Over his last 33 games (since 8/4) Trea Turner is slashing .381/.425/.806 with 33 runs, 10 doubles, a triple, 15 home runs, 39 RBI, 9 walks and 5 stolen bases in 146 plate appearances … Turner has raised his season AVG from .235 on August 3rd to .269 entering play tonight and his season OPS from .657 on Aug. 3 to .790 … Among all MLB players since Aug. 4, Turner ranks 1st in SLG, T-1st in RBI & doubles, 2nd in home runs (behind Schwarber’s 16) and 2nd in OPS (behind Julio Rodriguez, 1.234).

SOUTHPAW SUCCESS: The Phillies have hit 26 home runs as left handed batters off left handed pitchers this year which is tied for most among all MLB clubs (with LAD) … Philadelphia’s lefty hitters have drawn 82 walks off left-handed pitchers which is also tops in MLB (next: SD, 63 BB) … Philadelphia’s right-handed hitters have posted a .490 SLG against lefties which ranks 2nd in MLB (ATL, .558) … Combined (LHH & RHH), the Phillies are slashing .258/.329/.456 with a .784 OPS off lefties that ranks 6th in MLB … The Phils are 27-19 (.587 win %) in games they have faced a left-handed starter this year and have won six of the last eight.

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: Philadelphia’s double play combo of Trea Turner (26 SB/0 CS) and Bryson Stott (28 SB/2 CS) have combined for 54 stolen bases and have only been caught twice (96.4% success rate) – Turner ranks 1st in MLB in stolen base percentage and Stott ranks 5th (93.3%) … Per Elias, caught stealing has only been fully recorded since 1951 – since then (73 seasons), no two teammates (much less SS/2B) have combined for 50+ stolen bases with fewer than three caught stealings in one season.

2023: 11-6, 3.49 ERA Career: 85-63, 3.43 ERA

LAST START: 9/6 at SD: W, 6.0 IP, H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 SO … Wheeler vs Wacha … The
Phillies took another series as they defeated the Padres in a rubber match, 5-1, at Petco Park in San Diego … Offensively, Kyle Schwarber hit his franchise record 10th leadoff home run, J.T. Realmuto went 2-for-4 with a home run and a walk and Bryce Harper snapped an 0-for-20 streak with a 2-run double in the 4th inning


  • Cy Young Push: Among NL pitchers, Wheeler ranks 1st in WHIP (1.05) and OPP OBP (.269), 2nd in BB/9.0 IP (1.69) and SO/BB (6.00), 3rd in FIP (2.94) and OPP OPS (.621), T-3rd in quality starts (19), 5th in OPP SLG (.352), 6th in SO/9.0 IP (10.16) and 7th in OPP AVG (.225) and H/9.0 IP (7.73) … Wheeler leads all NL pitchers in fWAR with 5.7 and is T-7th among all major leaguers … Of the 56 National League Cy Young Awards handed out since 1967, 30 have gone to the league leader in fWAR that year (54%) The Gift That Keeps on Giving: Since he signed with the Phillies as a free agent (since 2020), Wheeler ranks 1st among all pitchers in MLB in fWAR at 19.1 and he leads Corbin Burnes who ranks 2nd at 17.5, Kevin Gausman ranks 3rd (17.2), Aaron Nola 4th (15.9) and Gerrit Cole 5th (14.1) Pull a Fast One: Per Statcast, Wheeler’s 4-seamer has a run value of 17, which is the 4th best in all of baseball … His OPP SLG of .317 ranks 1st in MLB and his OPP AVG of .194 (49-252) is 2nd (min. 200 PA) … His K % of 32.5 with it is 2nd in MLB and his 31.1 whiff % is 4th In the Zone: On the year, Wheeler’s 4.% walk rate ranks 4th among NL pitchers with at least 100.0 IP … It is currently the lowest walk rate of his career (previous best: 5.4%, 2021) … Wheeler has 19 starts this year in which he’s thrown at least 5.0 IP while walking 1 or no batters, which ranks T-2nd in MLB (most: Logan Webb, 21) … It is a new career-high for most such starts in a single season (previous best: 18, 2021) … In 7 starts from 7/1-8/8 (43.2 IP), Wheeler walked only 3 batters … It is the first time in his career that he walked 3 or fewer batters in a 7-game span Zack With a K: Wheeler’s SO/BB rate of 6.00 is the 4th best in MLB … It is currently the best SO/BB rate of any season in his career (2nd best: 2021, 5.37) … Wheeler currently ranks 4th in the NL in strikeouts with 192 Winning DNA: On 8/26, Wheeler earned his 10th win of the season … He has earned 10+ wins in 6 seasons and has done so in every season with at least 20 starts … Wheeler has earned double-digit wins in 3 straight seasons for the first time in his career Fortune .500: Wheeler has made 12 starts against teams that were .500 or better at the time of his start this season … In those starts, he’s posted a 2.96 ERA (24 ER, 73.0 IP) and the Phillies are 6-6 in those games … In his last 8 of those starts (since 5/10), Wheeler is 2-1 with a 2.42 ERA (14 ER, 52.0 IP) Swing and Miss: Wheeler has 5 double digit strikeout games this season, which ranks T-3rd in the NL … He has accomplished this feat 1 other time in his career, posting 7 such games in 2021 Wheelin’ and Dealin’: In his 2 starts from 8/26-9/1, Wheeler became the 3rd Phillies pitcher in the Modern Era (since 1900) with back-to-back starts with 10+ strikeouts and no walks (others: Cole Hamels, 8/1- 7/10; Curt Schilling, 9/15-21/96) … Wheeler is the second ML pitcher to do so this season (other: Zac Gallen, 4/21-26) Quality Control: Wheeler ranks T-3rd in the National League with 19 quality starts and he has earned one in 10 of his last 11 outings … Wheeler’s 7 starts with at least 7.0 IP and 3 or fewer ER is T-6th most in the NL … His quality start streak from 7/7-8/15 marked the 3rd time in his career he has had at least a 7-game streak with a quality start and first time since 5/6-6/16/21 … He is one of 12 ML pitchers to do so this year Statcast Rankings: 98th percentile in extension, 95th percentile in walk rate, 90th percentile in average exit velocity, 89th percentile in xERA, 85th percentile in barrel rate, 81st percentile in fastball velocity, 80th percentile in chase rate and 78th percentile in SO rate Pitch Usage: 4-seam fastball (42.2%), Sinker (18.4%), Slider (15.2%), Sweeper (12.3%), Curveball (11.7%), Changeup (0.3%) vs NL East: 42-33, 3.49 ERA (255 ER, 658.1 IP) in 107 starts


  • 2023: 4-2, 3.80 ERA (33 ER, 73.1 IP) in 12 starts
  • Career: 44-30, 3.41 ERA (258 ER, 681.0 IP) in 110 starts

2023 SEASON:

  • Took a no-hitter into the 8th inning on 6/8 vs DET which was the longest no-hit bid of his career (previous: 6.1 innings on 7/30/13 vs MIA) Reached 10 years of ML service on Sunday (6/11) vs LAD • Recorded his 18th career double-digit strikeout game and 10th as a Phillie on 5/27 at ATL Made his 200th career start on 4/23 vs COL Racked up a career-high 24 swings and misses on 8/26 vs STL
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