Game: Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies
Time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Odds: Braves -140, Phillies +120
The Braves look for win No. 2 against the Phillies tonight in this early week series. Atlanta can put some space between the two teams in the NL East Division race. The Braves are 43-32 currently and have a four-game lead over the Phillies (39-36). Atlanta trails division leader New York (47-28) by four games. If there is a game where the Braves have a distinct advantage over Philadelphia, it would be tonight’s matchup.
The Phillies will start left-hander Ranger Suarez who is 6-4 this season with a 4.23 ERA. Suarez picked up wins in his last two starts. His last trip to the mound was one of his best. He pitched 7.1 innings against San Diego allowing just two earned runs in a 6-2 victory. While he has pitched well recently, the advantage may go to the Braves.
That’s because Atlanta has been tearing it up recently. The Braves have won 15 of their last 20 games and they have been even better against left-handed pitchers. In the month of June, Atlanta has the second-highest OPS against left-handers and the fourth-highest OPS overall. While Suarez’s last two starts have been solid, his worst start of the season came on May 25 … against Atlanta.
In that game, Suarez pitched 4.1 innings, gave up six hits, and allowed a season-high five earned runs. Atlanta won the game 8-4. Suarez also recently gave up four runs in 4.1 innings to Arizona. He is far from an elite pitcher and against the Braves’ powerful lineup Suarez may have some difficulties.
The other issue for Philadelphia will be its bullpen once Suarez exits the game. The Phillies are a mediocre bullpen with an ERA of 4.08. The Braves bullpen ranks third in MLB with a 3.08 ERA. Atlanta relievers will provide plenty of support for starter Kyle Wright, who is 8-4 this season with a 3.18 ERA.
Wright won his last start despite giving up four earned runs in 5.1 innings. The Braves gave him enough run support to beat the Giants 7-6. Atlanta has won four of Wright’s last five starts. Wright has faced Philadelphia earlier this season. On May 26, Wright pitched 6.2 innings and allowed three hits and three runs. The Braves didn’t support him in that game and Atlanta lost 4-1.
The Braves are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games on the road and 6-2 in their last eight against the Phillies. Philadelphia, which will be without star Bryce Harper, is 13-7 SU in its last 20 games. The Phillies are 10-5 in the last 15 games against Atlanta played at home.
Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia is the best MLB ballpark for home runs. The total has gone Over in nine of the Phillies’ last 12 games. The Over is also 4-1 in the last five Phillies games against the Braves. The Under is 6-3 in Atlanta’s last nine games.