After a chaotic ending to last night’s affair, the Phillies and Braves will do battle once against his evening. Both teams now have matching 20-23 records and tonight’s pitching matchup seems pretty even…until you realize Joe Girardi has to manage things. Does that give bettors an advantage?
The story so far
It’s hard to really explain what happened last night. The Phillies defense struggled with the most basic of tasks but when push came to shove, Bryce Harper proved to be the difference-maker in the ninth. The Phils were 1-4 without him and are back to winning ways with him. That trend looked to continue last night.
After opening the series with a win, Harper was able to give the Phils an edge in the ninth with a clutch-bomb in the ninth, only for the Phillies to predictably: blow it. Girardi sent Nick Nelson to the mound despite the fact he had already pitched *checks notes* one inning earlier. Depth was light in the bullpen, but this kind of decision when there were better, fresher names available, was ultimately a costly one and unfortunately the type of call that has become par for the course for the Phils this season.
Will that change this evening?
Ranger Suárez (4-2, 4.12 ERA) vs Charlie Morton (3-3, 4.95 ERA)
Going 3 innings and allowing 3 runs against the Dodgers wasn’t exactly a vibe for Suarez, but up to this point, that’s kind of been the story. He’s allowed at least 4 hits in every appearance this season. The good news is that the Braves have a less than stellar offense and have been just as messy as the Phils. If there is ever a spot for a bounce-back, this would be it.
As for Morton, he’s a familiar face having played for the Phils in 2016. He’s allowed 39 hits in 40 innings and 23 runs. So long as the Phils can keep the fires burning on offense, there’s at least hope they can pull off another victory.
The Phillies are underdogs going into today’s game and given that Atlanta are one of the few teams who can match Philly from a ‘chaotic mess’ perspective, I wouldn’t back the favorite regardless of who it was. Betting the underdog feels like a safer play, and with bullpen struggles in both camps, correlating it with the over makes sense.
AP Photo/Todd Kirkland