A pair of National League East rivals will battle on Thursday when the host Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies open a four-game series and meet for the first time since facing each other in the NL Division Series last fall.
The Phillies were a wild-card playoff team in 2022 but eliminated the 101-win Braves in four games and went on to reach the World Series.
The Braves became the second NL team to reach 30 wins this season on Wednesday when they beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-3 on Ozzie Albies' walk-off sacrifice fly. Atlanta salvaged the finale of the three-game series against the NL's other 30-game winner to improve to 3-3 on its current 10-game homestand.
The Phillies defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-5 in 10 innings on Wednesday on Alec Bohm's walk-off single, allowing Philadelphia to secure one win in the three-game set. The victory marked the Phillies' ninth come-from-behind victory of the season.
Philadelphia had trailed 5-0 entering the sixth, making it the largest deficit the Phillies overcame this season.
The pitching matchup for the series opener features Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola (4-3, 4.31 ERA) against Atlanta rookie left-hander Dylan Dodd (2-1, 6.46).
Nola will be making his 11th start of the season. In his last start on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs, he picked up a win after working seven innings and allowing two runs on four hits with one walk and a season-high 10 strikeouts.
"Filling up the zone," Nola said of what led to his success. "My fastball felt really good and my curveball felt sharper."
Nola has enjoyed plenty of success against the Braves. He is 15-10 with a 3.39 ERA in 30 career starts against Atlanta and has beaten the Braves more than any club. He went 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA against Atlanta last year in five starts spanning 34 1/3 innings.
Dodd, a third-round draft choice in 2021, has split time between Atlanta and Triple-A Gwinnett this season. He has made three starts with the Braves, with the most recent one coming on May 4 at Miami. Against the Marlins, the 24-year-old Dodd allowed three runs on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout over six innings en route to the win.
"I felt like I battled through a lot of baserunners," Dodd said. "At the end of the day, I was pretty happy with the result."
In six minor-league starts this season, Dodd is 1-3 with a 6.67 ERA. This will be his first career appearance against the Phillies.
Atlanta's Austin Riley had two doubles on Wednesday and needs just one RBI to have 500 hits, 100 homers and 300 RBIs for his career. According to Elias Sports Bureau, only three players in franchise history have reached those milestones in fewer games than Riley -- Fred McGriff in 412 games, Bob Horner in 429 and Eddie Mathews in 456. Riley has played in 499 games.
Philadelphia reliever Craig Kimbrel, who started his career with the Braves, is one save away from No. 400. Over his last 13 appearances, Kimbrel has struck out 24 of the 47 batters he has faced (51.1 percent) and has walked only four. Earlier this season, ex-Brave Kenley Jansen earned his 400th career save against his former club.
--Field Level Media