The Philadelphia Phillies are back in action tonight for the opening game in a series against the Atlanta Braves. Coming off of a disappointing sweep against the Cubs, the Phils will be looking to get back to winning ways, especially considering that they’re only 1.5 games back from the St. Louis Cardinals, who occupy the final wildcard spot.
The lay of the land
Being swept by a team 20 games below a .500 record isn’t exactly ideal. Sprinkle in some Castellanos controversy and all of a sudden things don’t seem too great.
However, the defending World Champs have also endured their fair share of struggles this year, including the recent loss of outfielder Adam Duvall. He will join Ozzie Albies on a growing list of key players struggling with injury.
With that said, Matt Olson has done well to bridge the gap after the departure of Freddie Freeman, and he’s being supported by some stars in the likes of Ronald Acuna Jr and Darby Swanson.
The Phillies have to find a way to get out of this slump and back to their best. One could argue that the all-star break came at a horrible time, knocking the wind out of the teams’ sails just as the bullpen was finding some stability and the batting lineup was delivering consistent outings.
Ranger Suarez (7-5 4.07 ERA) Vs Max Fried (10-3, 2.64 ERA)
This isn’t exactly looking like the dream matchup for the Phils. Suarez hasn’t been the most consistent pitcher, while Atlanta is averaging close to 5 games on the road this year, more than Ranger’s ERA.
The Braves are 24-10 when facing left-handed pitchers this year, and Suarez is 1-1 in his two starts vs Atlanta with an ERA of 5.04.
Fried has been red-hot over these past two months, posting a 2.16 ERA, while none of his nine starts saw him allow more than 3 runs. The Phils are going to have to get hot early tonight.
However you view this, it feels as though this is a game that’s bound to feature an abundance of scoring…even if the Phillies don’t appear as though they will be the team doing the most damage.
Phillies vs Braves Betting preview
The run-total being set at 8 here is a little striking. I feel as though this could easily be a game where 10+ runs come in easily, especially if the Phils wave the white flag early. For context, there were 7+ runs in each of the games against Chicago and Philadelphia were only ever really competitive in one of those games. I’ll be taking the over here.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky