Game: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves
Time: 7:20 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Zack Wheeler vs. Charlie Morton
Odds: Phillies +107, Braves -116
The Philadelphia Phillies have their chance to win the NL East this week. They will face current division leader Atlanta in a three-game series that begins tonight and then the Phillies will finish the season at last-place Miami. The opportunity is right in front of them.
Philadelphia is 2.5 games behind Atlanta in the race for the division title. Winning the division is the only way the Phillies (81-75) can make the postseason. St. Louis (87-69) and Cincinnati (82-75) appear to have the NL wild cards all but wrapped up.
To get win No. 1, Philadelphia will start Zack Wheeler tonight against the Braves. Wheeler is 14-9 for the season with a very good 2.79 ERA. He was in the running for the NL Cy Young but has slipped a bit. Still, Wheeler is one of the best pitchers in the National League.
In addition, Wheeler has had great success against Atlanta this season. In four starts against the Braves, the Phillies are 3-1. His last start against Atlanta was on July 23. Wheeler pitched seven innings and gave up one earned run as the Phillies won 5-1. Philadelphia has won each of Wheeler’s last five starts.
On the other end, the Braves will go with Charlie Morton who is 13-6 with a 3.48 ERA for the season. Morton has struggled recently. Atlanta has only won one of his last six starts. That includes losses in each of his last three. Like Wheeler, Morton has faced Philadelphia four times this season. The Braves split those four games.
The Braves have the better lineup featuring multiple 30-home run hitters. Even after losing Ronald Acuna Jr. earlier this season, Atlanta is still a top ten hitting team. The Braves are seventh in runs per game (4.92) and seventh in OPS (.755). Third baseman Austin Riley (.303) leads the team with 32 homers. Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman has 31 homers and 2B Ozzie Albies has 30 along with a team-high 103 RBIs.
Despite having that lineup, Wheeler has been pretty dominant against the Braves this season. In his four starts against Atlanta, Wheeler has allowed a total of just four runs. He could be the great equalizer again for the Phillies.
Speaking of Philadelphia, the Phillies had won five straight before losing on Sunday to Pittsburgh. After taking three in a row from the Pirates, the Phillies were shutout 6-0. Hopefully, for the Phillies, that was just an aberration. Philadelphia had scored 23 runs in the three games prior. Bryce Harper is carrying the Phils offense. Harper is hitting .313 with 34 home runs and 82 RBIs.
All three of Wheeler’s last three starts have seen the total go Under. The total has gone Under in six of Philadelphia’s last eight games. The total has also gone Under in four of the last six games played between these two teams.