MLB Baseball

Final-10 2 3   4 5 6   7 8 9   10 R H E
Atlanta0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 271
Philadelphia0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 391
  W: C. Brogdon (1-0)   L: N. Jones (0-1)
12:05 PM PT1:05 PM MT2:05 PM CT3:05 PM ET15:05 ET19:05 GMT3:05 12:05 PM MST2:05 PM EST2:35 PM VEN23:05 UAE1:05 PM CT, April 1, 2021
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  Attendance: 8,529

Aaron Nola starts 4th straight opener as Phillies host Braves

According to STATS
According to STATS

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

  1. The Braves and Phillies split their 10 meetings last season. The Phillies took two of three meetings in the last series from August 28-30, dropping the finale by a 12-10 score.
  2. Atlanta has won three straight division titles, its longest streak since an MLB-record 14 straight division titles from 1991 to 2005. The Braves had won just one division title (2013) in the 12 seasons in between these streaks.
  3. Marcell Ozuna returns to the Braves after slashing .338/.431/.636 in 60 games last season. His .636 slugging percentage was the highest by any player in his first season with the Braves (min. 200 plate appearances) while his 1.067 OPS ranked second to Rogers Hornsby (1.130 in 1928).
  4. Max Fried finished last season with a 7-0 record in his 11 starts, the most wins without a loss by any pitcher last season. Fried's 24-6 record (.800 win percentage) since 2019 is the best among pitchers with at least 30 starts in that span.
  5. Since winning five straight NL East titles from 2007 to 2011, the Phillies have missed the playoffs in nine straight seasons, never posting a winning record in that span (.500 in 2012 and 2019). The Phils' nine straight non-winning seasons is the longest active streak in MLB.
  6. Aaron Nola is 11-6 with a 3.05 ERA in his 20 career starts against the Braves, but went just 2.2 innings in his last start against Atlanta on August 21 last season, allowing four earned runs and six hits, including two home runs. His 11 wins against the Braves since 2015 are tied for the fifth-most wins by any pitcher against a single opponent in that span.
Notes Applicable For Series Dates: 4/1/2021 thru 4/4/2021

Aaron Nola will make his fourth consecutive Opening Day start as the host Philadelphia Phillies battle their National League East Division rival Atlanta Braves on Thursday.

Nola's streak of four Opening Day starts will be the most by a Philadelphia pitcher since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton took the mound for 10 openers in a row from 1977-86.

"That's pretty cool, man," Nola said. "Steve Carlton's the man. I never thought that I'd be up on that list with him. It's a big honor, obviously. I'm looking forward to it, against the Braves again."

Getting the honor for the Braves will be Max Fried, who is making his first Opening Day start for Atlanta. He is coming off a 2020 season in which he went 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA and finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award balloting.

"His body of work last year put him in position to get this honor," manager Brian Snitker said.

Fried has a 3-2 career record with a 4.15 ERA in 11 games (five starts) against the Phillies.

"I take a lot of pride in being able to go out there and try to win every start that I have," said Fried, who threw three scoreless innings Saturday in his final spring training start against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing two hits while striking out five. "I know I'm going to go out there and try to keep doing what I'm doing."

In Nola's last two spring training starts, he tossed a combined nine inning of one-run ball, striking out 14 without issuing a walk.

"The command of my pitches were on," Nola said after firing six shutout innings against the New York Yankees.

Nola holds a career 11-6 record with a 3.05 ERA in 20 starts against the Braves. He owns more wins against Atlanta than against any other opponent.

While the Phillies haven't compiled a winning record or reached the postseason since 2011, there's plenty of reason for optimism as the season opener approaches.

The organization re-signed J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius while shoring up an awful bullpen that produced a 7.06 ERA last year, adding Archie Bradley and Jose Alvarado. The rotation is also stronger anchored by Nola.

The Phillies tied for fifth in runs scored (306) in 2020. The offense will be led once again by Bryce Harper, who is entering his third season with the team. Harper hit .268 with 13 home runs and 33 RBIs while dealing with a sore back last season.

"Bryce is always studying the game and trying to figure out how to get better," Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. "If you look at his first month last year, if he does that over the course of a season because he's healthy, he's going to have a monster year. It really is about keeping him healthy."

The Braves enter the year eyeing a fourth straight NL East title.

Atlanta returns the core of its team that fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series last season. Its success will hinge largely on reigning NL Most Valuable Player Freddie Freeman (.341, 13 homers, league-leading 23 doubles, 53 RBIs) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (.250, 14 homers, 29 RBIs).

It's no longer acceptable to compete for a postseason berth, as the Braves are setting their sights higher.

"Every year, I talk about, 'Well, at least we got some experience in the playoffs with these young guys,'" Freeman said. "That's no more. We've got a good team. We were one win away from the World Series. I think that is everyone's goal, to get to the World Series this year."

--Field Level Media

Updated March 30, 2021

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