The Braves won 7-2 on Friday night in the series opener against the Phillies, riding a big six run eighth inning to victory. While Friday was a very favorable pitching matchup for Atlanta, the opposite is true for Saturday’s game, as the Braves’ fifth starter, Jake Odorizzi, faces off against the Phillies’ top starter and Cy Young candidate, Aaron Nola.
Nola has been fantastic this season, boasting a 2.80/2.63/2.84 FIP/xFIP/xERA slash-line over nearly 180 innings, although suffering a bit from the Phillies’ pitiful defense, ballooning his ERA to 3.31 (still a very strong number). Nola has had strong strikeout and walk rates, with 10.14 K/9 and 1.20 BB/9. He primarily pitches with four pitches, sprinkling in the occasional cutter as a fifth, with a four-seamer, sinker, changeup and curveball all being fairly effective pitches. The changeup is the most hittable of these, with his signature curveball being his most effective according to Statcast’s expected outcomes.
Odorizzi has not been particularly popular among Braves fans, but is a pretty established pitcher at the major league level that is not out of place as a back-end starter for a good team, as our own Brad Rowland will point out.
While this looks bad on paper, baseball continues to be a sport of high variance and the Braves absolutely have the talent to get to Nola. Winning this game is likely to be challenging but could be big in the divisional race.
Date: Saturday, September 17, 2022
Time: 7:20 pm EDT
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
TV: Bally Sports Southeast
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM The Fan, La Mejor 1600/1460/1130 AM
XM Radio: Ch. 182