|4:08 PM PT5:08 PM MT6:08 PM CT7:08 PM ET19:08 ET23:08 GMT7:08 4:08 PM MST6:08 PM EST6:38 PM VEN3:08 UAE (+1)6:08 PM CT, March 31, 2019
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Attendance: 41,410
Arrieta takes hill as Phillies try to sweep Braves
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies
- The Phillies are 23-15 against the Braves at home over the past four seasons, including three shutouts in the last six meetings of 2018. However, Atlanta's pitchers held Philadelphia to a .203 batting average across all 19 games last season, the fifth lowest by a team against a divisional opponent in 2018.
- The Braves won 90 games and finished first in the NL East in 2018, achieving a 90-win season and a division title each for the first time since 2013. Atlanta exited the playoffs at the hands of the Dodgers in the NLDS, 3-1, which was the same exact result for the Braves in 2013.
- The Phillies finished 2018 with an 80-82 record and missed the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. Philadelphia was 49-32 (.605) at home and 31-50 (.383) on the road, the second-largest difference in win percentage (+.222) among teams that were better at home (Minnesota, +.247).
- Julio Teheran went 1-2 after August 1 last season despite posting a 2.97 ERA and a .167 opponent batting average. That opponent average was the second lowest among NL pitchers who pitched at least 30 innings from August 1 to the end of the regular season (Walker Buehler, .154).
- Aaron Nola went 17-6 with 224 strikeouts in 212.1 innings in 2018. It was Nola's second consecutive season with a strikeout-per-nine figure above 9.0 while pitching at least one inning per team game. The only other pitcher in team history to do so in back-to-back seasons was Curt Schilling in 1997 and 1998.
- Bryce Harper signed with the Phillies as a free agent in the offseason. In his seven seasons in Washington, Harper amassed 521 RBI and 610 runs scored. Still 26 years old, he is the first left-handed hitter to reach 500 RBI and 600 runs scored before turning 27 since Ken Griffey Jr (725 RBI, 695 runs).
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The Philadelphia Phillies will send a former Cy Young Award winner to the mound Sunday to try and complete a season-opening series sweep against the Atlanta Braves.
Right-hander Jake Arrieta (10-11 in 2018) will oppose Braves rookie Kyle Wright (0-0, 4.50 in 2018) in the finale of a three-game series in Philadelphia. It will be the first start of Wright's career.
The Phillies beat the Braves 8-6 on Saturday, thanks to home runs by high-priced offseason acquisitions J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper and another homer from Maikel Franco, who went deep for the second straight game.
Arrieta, who broke into the majors in 2010, is two wins shy of reaching 100 for his career. He won the Cy Young with the Chicago Cubs in 2015. He had minor meniscus surgery on his left knee a few weeks prior to spring training, cleaning up an issue that caused him to struggle in the second half of last season.
Arrieta struck out eight Tampa Bay batters over six innings in his final start of the spring. He worked 14 innings in four spring starts, striking out 16 and walking four with a 5.79 ERA.
Arrieta is 4-2 with a 3.05 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta. He started two games against the Braves in 2018, going 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA. He threw 6.2 shutout innings against Atlanta on May 23, striking out seven, but lasted only two innings against the Braves on Sept. 22 when he gave up four runs.
"Of course I think we're a playoff team," Arrieta said at the conclusion of spring training. "With the guys we've got, there's not really a break in our lineup. It's going to be a fun one."
Wright was the fifth overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft. The Vanderbilt product made his big-league debut last season on Sept. 4, making him the first player from that draft class to reach the majors. Wright made four relief appearances and posted a 4.50 ERA in six innings, striking out five and walking six.
Wright had a good spring. In six appearances he pitched 16.2 innings, struck out 20 and walked four. He had one poor outing that inflated his ERA to 7.02. The rookie thought he was being sent to Triple-A when he was called into manager Brian Snitker's office.
"I thought I was going to be sent down," Wright said. "Snit told me, 'We love the way you pitch. We love the way you compete. So we're going to start you Game 3 in Philly.' I was kind of shocked at first, but whenever I gathered what he said, I was beyond excited."
Wright and Bryse Wilson, who started on Saturday, are the franchise's first two rookies to start within the first three games of the season since 1905.
Snitker said Saturday that injured starters Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) and Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis) and left-handed reliever A.J. Minter (left shoulder) may be back sooner than expected. Foltynewicz, an All-Star last season, is scheduled to throw 80 pitches for the Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate on Thursday. Gausman is expected to be activated for the Miami series next weekend, with Minter also a possibility.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 30, 2019