The Philadelphia Phillies (23-27) and Atlanta Braves (31-19) will play the second game of a four-game set after the home team struck first on Thursday night with an 8-5 win. Friday’s contest will get started at 7:20 p.m. ET from Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia. Philly will hand the ball to struggling righty Taijuan Walker (3-2, 5.79 ERA), while the injury-ravaged Braves turn to rookie Jared Shuster (1-2, 5.49) for his fifth career start.
Atlanta is a -150 moneyline favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook, making the Phillies +130 underdogs with the over/under set at 10.
Phillies-Braves picks: Friday, May 26
Out: RP Jose Alvarado (elbow), OF Cristian Pache (knee), 1B Darick Hall (thumb), 1B Rhys Hoskins (knee), C Rafael Marchan (wrist), SP Noah Song (back)
Out: RP Michael Tonkin (neck), RP Dylan Lee (shoulder), SP Max Fried (forearm), 3B Ehire Adrianza (elbow), SP Kyle Wright (shoulder), SP Kolby Allard (oblique), RP Tyler Matzek (elbow), SP Huascar Ynoa (elbow)
Taijuan Walker vs. Jared Shuster
Walker has struggled through his first season with the Phillies with poor season-long numbers, but he’s coming off his best outing of 2023. Walker threw 5.1 shutout innings in last weekend’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
Shuster will make his fifth career start, and the 24-year-old lefty is also coming off a strong outing. He allowed one run on one hit and a walk with seven strikeouts over six innings of work in a victory over the Seattle Mariners.
While both pitchers are coming off their best performances of the season, it’s hard to ignore the season-long numbers with a larger sample size. The Braves are one of the top offenses in the league with the second-best OPS (.792), while the Phillies are 12th in that category (.741). Both teams should come out swinging with a good chance at exceeding this total.
Pick: Over 10
It’s tough to know which pitcher has the edge in this spot with Shuster’s inexperience and Walker’s struggles to start this season. Instead of worrying about that, let’s just go with the team with the better offense, and that goes toward the Braves.