The Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies will wrap up their four-game series on Thursday night in the City of Brotherly Love. Atlanta has taken two of the first three, including a 3-1 triumph on Wednesday night. Dallas Keuchel stifled the Phillies, holding them to just a run on three hits over the course of six dominant innings of work. Zach Eflin, meanwhile, lasted just 3.2 innings, though the Phillies’ bullpen did hold the Braves’ potent offense scoreless over 5.1 innings to keep the game within reach.
Julio Teheran will get the ball for Atlanta in the series finale, while Drew Smyly will get the call for the Phillies. The Braves have now opened up a 9.5-game lead in the NL East over Washington, while the Phillies have dropped to 15 games back, which is tied with the Mets for third. Philadelphia and New York are just two games behind the Cubs and Brewers, who are tied for the second NL Wild Card spot behind Washington.
For the series finale, the Braves are currently -125 moneyline favorites at most of the top baseball betting sites, while the Phillies are +105 home underdogs.
|2019 ATR Home||37-38||32-43|
|2019 ATR Away||39-33||39-31|
|2019 O/U Home||34-37-4||34-39-2|
|2019 O/U Away||35-33-4||33-35-2|
Drew Smyly got off to a horrendous start for the Rangers this season, which ultimately led to Texas’ decision to designate him for assignment. The left-hander has pitched in 22 games between Texas and Philly, including 18 starts. The fact that he has allowed 29 homers isn’t great, but Smyly does own a respectable strikeout rate of 22.6%. The walk rate over 11% is also suboptimal, though, and it can lead to some short outings.
Smyly has been in excellent form over his last couple of starts, however. The 30-year-old has held the Reds and Mets to just one total run over the last 12.1 innings of work, along with 14 strikeouts and five walks. The Phillies won both games by a combined score of 12-1, as well.
He faces a tougher task tonight against Atlanta, however. The Braves’ offense will be getting a park boost going into hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park, and Smyly’s home run problem could be an issue against a Braves lineup with no shortage of right-handed power hitters. Atlanta can populate the lineup with eight right-handed hitters against him, most of which have legitimate pop. The Braves’ projected lineup has a collective .386 wOBA with a massive .278 ISO against left-handed pitching on the season.
The only notable weak spot in the Atlanta lineup other than the pitcher is Francisco Cervelli, who does actually have a track record of being an above-average hitter for a catcher. The lowest ISO among the other seven hitters in the lineup is Dansby Swanson, who is still well above average in that regard at .186.
Julio Teheran has an impressive 3.31 ERA on the season, but the underlying numbers suggest he has gotten incredibly lucky to this point. The right-hander has a record of 10-8 through 30 starts with a 5.04 SIERA and a 5.11 xFIP. The fact that his ERA is about a run-and-a-half lower than his SIERA is among the luckiest things we’ve seen in baseball all season long.
Teheran used to do a good job of limiting damage against righties while struggling mightily against lefties. This season, he’s struggled against both. Teheran has an xFIP of 6.01 against left-handed hitters compared to a 4.50 mark against RHBs. His strikeout rate is lower and his walk rate is up over 14% against lefties, which is incredibly awful.
The Phillies do have some potent left-handed hitters in the lineup. The most obvious of which is Bryce Harper, who has notably enjoyed a ton of success at Teheran’s expense in the past. Batter vs. pitcher stats offer absolutely nothing in terms of predictive value, but it is fun to note that Harper is 18 for 43 lifetime (.419) with 8 home runs in his career against the Braves’ right-hander. Jay Bruce and Corey Dickerson also boast plenty of power from the left side. They may be in the Phillies’ lineup tonight.
This looks like a good game for offense. Smyly has had a problem with giving up home runs this season, while Teheran is due for some regression on that fortunate 3.31 ERA. It’s expected to be a fairly warm and very humid night in Philadelphia, which should help the ball travel further than it otherwise might. These are a couple of the best offenses in the National League going toe-to-toe, so I think we get some fireworks in this one.
My MLB pick for this Braves vs Phillies game is to bet the over on 10 runs being scored.
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