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October 07, 2023

By the numbers: Phillies are good, Braves are elite

The Braves sports one of the best offenses in baseball history.

Phillies MLB
0515_09132023_Phillies_Braves_Trea-Turner.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 13: A photo from the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Atlanta Braves on September 13, 2023 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

The Phillies and Braves are two teams that know each other pretty darn well.

For the second straight year, the two division foes will battle in the NLDS — Philly won in four games last season. But this year the Braves seem to have taken a leap, winning a ridiculous 104 games, 14 more than the top Wild Card Phillies.

During the regular season, Atlanta took eight of 13 meetings, out-scoring the Phillies 74-to-58.

The numbers don't necessarily matter in the postseason, only which is the hottest playing team. But they do provide some insight, with the Braves favored upwards of -200 on some betting sites. Here's a look at exactly why Atlanta is so heavily favored, and how the Braves and Phillies matchup on paper:

At the plate

The Phillies have a very good offense. The Braves have one of the best offenses in the history of baseball. There's a chance the Phils may have to win in a few slugfests in this series. The numbers:

Slash line.256/.327/.438
HR220 (3rd)307 (1st)
Runs796 (4th)947 (1st)
SO1,481 (4th most)1,287 (12th most)
BB539 (10th) 538 (11th)
SB141 (3rd)132 (6th)

Atlanta is the first team ever in baseball history to slug over .500 for an entire season. Kyle Schwarber himself didn't slug .500. Four Braves have 35 or more home runs, including Matt Olson, whose 54 homers are an Atlanta record and the only man to have more than Schwarber in 2023. In 162 games, the Braves scored at least five runs 104 times. They have the most home runs ever in a single season. 

Oh, and then there's Ronald Acuña Jr., who himself had a historic season and is probably the NL MVP. He hit .337, had 41 homers, 106 RBI and had 71 stolen bases. He's basically an entire offense in one person. 

Philadelphia has a lot of reliable and clutch hitters, and they'll need to be clutch again to keep up with the Braves historic hitting engine.

On the mound

There is a slight edge on the mound for the Phillies, who have a better ERA across the board. The win numbers for Atlanta's starting staff are inflated by their dynamic offense. It's easier to pitch well with a lead and the Braves have had a lot of leads this season.

In all, expect to see both teams relying on strong bullpens with the Phils likely getting a little more out of their starters.

ERA4.02 (3rd)4.14 (7th)
WHIP1.24 (3rd)1.30 (8th)
HR allowed185 (6th fewest)187 (7th fewest)
SO/BB1,454/470 (3.09)1,587/534 (2.89)
Bullpen ERA3.56 (3rd)3.81 (5th)
Starter W-L, ERA53-45, 4.30 ERA66-36, 4.36 ERA

Philly's staff lines up favorably for them, with Ranger Suarez opening things against a Braves lineup light on lefty hitters, but then will see Zack Wheeler in Game 2 (and perhaps Game 5), and Aaron Nola in Game 3. Atlanta's top two Spencer Strider (20-5, 3,86 ERA) and Max Fried (8.1, 2.55 ERA) are intimating to be sure, but Philadelphia has hit good pitching all season.

The front office

The Braves aren't shy about throwing money around, and neither are the Phillies. However Atlanta has done well enough, at least recently, with players from their own system that they are generally a younger and cheaper roster. They will eventually need to break open the bank for Michael Harris, Acuna, Strider and other important team controlled players.

Traded for89
Free agents129
$15m+ players85

As far as the breakdown of each roster, it seems pretty similar, with both teams taking pride in developing homegrown talent. The Braves developed stars Austin Riley, Acuña and others while the Phils drafted Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and Aaron Nola each in the first round.

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