The Braves and Phillies were originally slated to duke it out for NL East supremacy this season. However, the Phillies haven’t really given it much of a fight. After dropping Monday’s series opener at the hands of Atlanta, the Phillies are now 74-69 on the year, 15 games adrift of the Braves for the top spot in the NL East. The Phillies are now 6 ½ games behind the Nationals for second place as well.
The Phillies are just three games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card spot in the NL, but they have a couple of other teams ahead of them. Time is also running out. There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s going to take a furious charge at this point if Philadelphia has any hope whatsoever of landing a playoff spot. At this point, their chances are slim.
They can at least look to end the season on a high note. The Phils will try and even their series with the Braves on Tuesday night when Jason Vargas toes the rubber. Left-hander Max Fried will pitch for the Braves. The Braves are -165 favorites on the moneyline at top US sports betting sites, while the Phillies are +140 underdogs at home.
|2019 ATR Home||37-38||31-42|
|2019 ATR Away||38-32||39-31|
|2019 O/U Home||68-69-8||66-73-4|
|2019 O/U Away||34-32-4||33-35-2|
Max Fried isn’t a household name quite yet, but it may not be long until he is. The young southpaw is 16-4 through 29 starts for the Braves on the year with a 3.86 ERA. He won’t win the Cy Young Award this season, but he has at least put his name out there as a potential candidate down the road.
Fried has a strikeout rate north of 25%, which is among the best marks on the Atlanta staff. He has been particularly dominant as of late. Fried has held the White Sox and Nationals to a combined three runs over his last 13 innings of work, with 20 strikeouts and just one walk along the way. He held Washington to just a hit with nine strikeouts alone in his last start.
The Phillies certainly have some threatening right-handed power hitters, but this lineup hasn’t taken off the way many expected it would. Rhys Hoskins has been mired in an epic slump in the second half of the campaign. Hoskins hit just .161 in August with 2 home runs, and he’s “up” to .200 so far in September. His struggles have coincided with the Phillies essentially dropping to the fringes of the NL playoff race.
Jason Vargas has been one of the luckiest pitchers in all of baseball this season. The left-hander has a nice 4.27 ERA, but his 5.28 SIERA indicates that some regression is overdue. While he’s had a few rocky starts since coming to the Phillies from the Mets ahead of the trade deadline, we are still waiting for that regression to come on a full-scale basis.
There’s a decent chance that regression comes tonight. Vargas faces a daunting matchup with a Braves lineup that was built to mash left-handed pitching. Vargas has allowed 15 home runs to right-handed hitters this season, and there’s a good chance he sees as many as seven of them in the Atlanta lineup this evening. Atlanta’s projected lineup has a collective .369 wOBA with a .257 ISO against southpaws on the year.
Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Josh Donaldson, Dansby Swanson, Adam Duvall, and Austin Riley have all mashed lefties this season. Freddie Freeman, the lone lefty regular in the lineup, has also fared admirably against same-handed pitching. Vargas is in a pretty terrible spot tonight, and I’d be surprised if his magical season continued. This should be the night that it all comes crashing down for him.
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a fan of the Braves in this spot. Atlanta’s lineup profiles excellently against a pitcher of Vargas’ skill set, while Fried should be able to tame whatever bats the Phillies throw his way. It certainly helps that Fried will have the platoon advantage against a couple of the Phils’ better hitters in Bryce Harper and Corey Dickerson.
There isn’t great value in betting on the Braves to win the game outright on the moneyline (-165), but I do think there’s merit to taking the Braves’ runline (+100) in this spot. You can double your money if the Braves manage to win by at least 2 runs, and I think there’s a good chance of that given what looks like a lopsided pitching matchup in Atlanta’s favor.
Give me the Braves to cover the runline tonight.
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