After destroying the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves are –130 favorites on the MLB odds board for Wednesday's series finale at Turner Field.
Jason's 2015 record as of May 5: 13-8, plus-4.80 units ML; 0-1, minus-1.05 units Total
It's too bad Shelby Miller can't pitch every day for the Atlanta Braves. He ran his team record to 5-1 (plus-4.79 units) with Tuesday's complete-game shutout of the Philadelphia Phillies (+129 away), allowing just three hits and a walk while striking out eight in a 9-0 final. That's four straight quality starts for Miller; he has yet to give up more than two earned runs in any of his six starts as a Brave.
Alas, Miller won't be on the mound this Wednesday (7:10 p.m. ET) when the Braves host the Phillies in the rubber match of their three-game set. That honor will go to northpaw Mike Foltynewicz, who will be making his second MLB start. Veteran righty Jerome Williams responds for Philadelphia; the MLB Odds at press time have Atlanta pegged as –130 favorites.
Remember how the Braves got off to a hot start this year, earning our nod as the Biggest Surprise of the early season and a solid “B” grade based on their performance? Well, there was a reason it was a surprise. Atlanta was a 66/1 long shot on the World Series futures market at Bovada, and despite Miller's heroics, the Braves (13-14, plus-0.42 units) have lost 10 of their last 15 games.
Don't blame Foltynewicz, though. He pitched well enough to pick up the win in his first start, scattering six hits and three walks over five innings in a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds (–123 away). However, Foltynewicz also allowed five steals, and his command was poor. The 6-foot-4 fireballer is probably better suited for the bullpen, but he does have upside, and Atlanta's a bit short on pitching talent right now. Try No. 29 in the majors at plus-0.4 WAR going into Tuesday's action.
Jerome, Bring Me My Mirror
It's good to see Williams (4.49 FIP) getting another shot at the majors as he continues his comeback – even if it's with the Phillies (10-18, minus-5.52 units). Williams made a splash in his 2003 rookie campaign with the San Francisco Giants, but that turned out to be his best season in the bigs, and he spent three years playing internationally before getting another shot in 2011 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Williams ended up playing for three different teams last year, but after the Phillies picked him up off the waiver wire, he racked up 6.39 units of profit on a team record of 6-3. Nicely done. But Williams also enjoyed some good fortune, allowing a BABIP of .257, well below his career average of .290. This year, the pendulum has swung the other way; Williams has a .337 BABIP after five starts, but his hitters have supported him enough to go 3-2 for a profit of 1.62 units. That includes a 5-4 win over Atlanta (–105) on Apr. 26.
Miller's shutout means the Braves didn't need to go to the bullpen Tuesday, while Philly burned through three relievers. This could be the difference-maker on Wednesday. If you're playing in a fantasy league where holds count, rookie RP Cody Martin (3.07 FIP, five holds) has been excellent in his 16.1 innings of work, striking out 21 batters and allowing just four runs with a 0.98 WHIP. Martin is only 6% owned in Yahoo leagues as we go to press.
The Braves will almost certainly need to go to the pen after Foltynewicz needed 94 pitches to get through his five innings against the Reds. Martin picked up a hold in that game, though, and with the Phillies ranked No. 27 in hitting at 0.5 WAR, we're content enough to add Atlanta to our MLB picks for Wednesday.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Braves -129 at The Greek