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Braves return to Truist Park for three-game series against Phillies

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Atlanta begins its home slate with a three-game set against the Phillies.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Braves will be looking for some measure of revenge this weekend when they begin the home portion of their 2021 MLB regular season with a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Atlanta was swept in a three-game set at Philadelphia last weekend to open the season. The Braves scored a total of three runs during that series and endured an 18-inning scoreless streak.

Atlanta’s offense recovered in Washington as they scored 14 runs in three games, including two seven-inning contests on Wednesday. They were in position to win the first game before the bullpen faltered late and swept the doubleheader to escape with their first series win of the year.

Here is a look at the pitching matchups for the series.

Friday, April 9, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South, MLB Network)

Zack Wheeler (1 GS, 7.0 IP, 10 K, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA, 0.39 FIP, 1.64 xFIP)

Zack Wheeler did it all against the Braves in the opening series, tossing seven scoreless innings while also driving in two runs on a pair of hits at the plate. Travis d’Arnaud recorded the only hit for the Braves in the game and was their lone base runner in what was Atlanta’s worst offensive performance in over a decade.

Charlie Morton (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 5 K, 2 BB, 5.40 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 3.40 xFIP)

Charlie Morton cruised through the first four innings in his first start but ran into trouble in the fifth. He exited having allowed six hits, two walks and three runs over five innings, though the Braves were so dominated by Wheeler in the game that it’s not clear what he could have done to turn the tide. Morton was dominant in his outing until he ran into trouble due to some bloops.

Saturday, April 10, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports Southeast, MLB Network)

Zach Eflin (1 GS, 7.0 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 1.29 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 3.14 xFIP)

Saturday’s pitching matchup is another rematch from the opening series. Zach Eflin outdueled Ian Anderson in the first meeting, allowing one run over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked just one. Eflin has made 10 career starts against Atlanta and has a 3.22 ERA in 58 2/3 innings, but a 4.67 FIP and 4.41 xFIP.

Ian Anderson (1 GS, 5.0 IP, 7 K, 2 BB, 1.80 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 3.45 xFIP)

Anderson didn’t have his best stuff in his debut but he battled his way through it and gave the Braves a chance. He allowed four hits and one run over five innings to go along with seven strikeouts. The run came on a homer by backup catcher Andrew Knapp.

Sunday, April 11, 7:08 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Matt Moore (1 GS, 3.1 IP, 4 K, 4 BB, 5.40 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 6.54 xFIP)

Matt Moore retired the first seven batters he faced in his Phillies’ debut, but then lost command. He exited after just 3 1/3 innings while having allowed four hits, four walks and two runs. Sunday will be Moore’s second career start against Atlanta and his first since 2017. Moore is on the comeback trail after not playing in 2020 and making just two starts in 2019. Moore hasn’t fared well as a major league starter for a few years, so this is an opportunity for the Braves to do some damage.

Drew Smyly (1 GS, 6.0 IP, 8 K, 1 BB, 3.00 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 2.53 xFIP)

Drew Smyly allowed four runs in his Braves’ debut, but only two were earned. He struck out eight and walked just one over six innings against the Nationals. This will be Smyly’s second career appearance against the Phillies and will be his first start, though he spent part of the 2019 season in a Phillies uniform.