Don’t look back now, but the Philadelphia Phillies are red-hot. After coming out of the All-Star break slow and getting swept by the lowly Chicago Cubs, the red pinstripes took two of three from the Braves, and just picked up a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Now, the Phillies head into Atlanta for a quick two-game series before coming back home for a seven-game homestand. Hopefully, Jean Segura will be joining them tomorrow as well.
Game One- Phillies go with a bullpen game
Nick Nelson (3-1, 3.94 ERA, 48 SO) vs. Spencer Strider (5-3, 2.91 ERA, 120 SO)
Due to the lack of pitching depth with Zach Eflin still injured and Kyle Gibson unfortunately on the bereavement list (grandmother passed away), the Phillies will roll out another bullpen game. Right-handed pitcher Nick Nelson will get the nod for the Tuesday night matchup and will be opposed by Spencer Strider.
This will be the second time Nelson starts for the Phillies this season. His first attempt came in a game against the Cardinals on July 10th. Here, he allowed one run on three hits in two innings of work. Nelson has struggled a bit against the Braves in his career, especially in comparison to other teams. In three appearances, he’s allowed three runs on five hits in 3.1 innings of work (5.40 ERA).
On the flip side, Spencer Strider has been having a great season. He’s faced the Phillies two times this year, once in relief and once as a starter. Back on May 25th, Strider had 2.2 scoreless innings against Philadelphia, and that success carried into his start on July 26th. In that game, he allowed one run and only three hits in six innings of work as his family watched him wearing identical mustaches to his. Talk about wholesome.
Game Two- Ace is back on the mound
Zack Wheeler (9-5, 2.77 ERA, 122 SO) vs. Charlie Morton (5-5, 4.34 ERA, 126 SO)
Wheeler has seen the Braves two times this season and has done pretty well. In two starts, he’s allowed five runs on 13 hits in 13 innings of work. He’s also had 18 strikeouts in those innings. Not too shabby for pitching against a pretty good opposing lineup as the Braves are fourth in the MLB in runs scored.
Meanwhile, Charlie Morton will face the Phillies for the fourth time just this season, the most against any team for him so far this year. The Phillies have hit the right-hander well, forcing him to an ERA of an even six runs. Morton has allowed 11 runs on 22 hits in 15 innings of work against Philadelphia this year, leading to a pretty bad 1.933 WHIP.
Betting Preview and Predictions
Fade the Phillies game one, back them game two
Heading into this series, it feels like a split on paper. Spencer Strider looked really good against the Phillies in his last start, and with the Phillies riding a five-game winning streak, it feels like this will be the game where they are due for a loss.
However, with their ace on the mound in game two, the Phillies look to be in pretty good shape. Let’s also not forget to mention their success against Morton this season.
Alec Bohm has also been white-hot, hitting an insane .434 in the month of July. A Bohm single feels almost automatic, especially against left-handed pitchers. Parlaying Bohm to get a hit with a Phillies win in game two feels almost too good to be true.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar