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Markakis drops to sixth for opener in Philadelphia

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Riley and Hechavarria bring up the rear, Inciarte’s in the doghouse

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Those “Markakis batting fifth” jokes apparently have a terminal date, as last night’s walkoff hero has dropped to sixth for the opener in Philadelphia:

It looks like Ender Inciarte’s benching is at least semi-permanent at this point, as he can’t grab a start despite his small-sample success against Vince Velasquez. That wouldn’t normally be notable, but the Braves have definitely made various gameday lineup decisions based on those small-sample matchup stats, so consider Inciarte marginalized for the time being.

Riley gets the start at third after Camargo manning the hot corner for the last few days. Adeiny Hechavarria is at the keystone and hitting ninth in Ozzie Albies’ absence. This is a very righty-heavy lineup against Velasquez, who has somewhat strange splits — his career splits are pretty much as expected in terms of weakness to lefties, but they’re driven in large part by his good seasons and not his bad ones. In other words, when Velasquez has been effective, he’s dominated righties; when he’s been bad, he’s been killed by everyone. The Braves will hope for the latter as he makes his second start of the year.

The Phillies, meanwhile, array themselves like this:

This is McCutchen’s first game at DH of the season, though again, the Phillies have only played seven games so far. Neil Walker will be making his first start of the season at second base. Otherwise, this is what looks to be a pretty standard arrangement for the Phillies this year.

Through the Phillies’ seven games, their lineup has definitely experienced peaks and valleys. A number of guys are killing it (Adam Haseley, J.T. Realmuto, Bryce Harper, Jay Bruce, and Didi Gregorius) while some others have had an awful starting “week” (McCutchen, Walker, Jean Segura, Scott Kingery). Rhys Hoskins and Roman Quinn are the only two players on the roster with a wRC+ between 80 and 140, which is kind of insane if you think about it.