Atlanta got this series to even with a 5-2 victory Saturday night, doing this handicapper a nice favor in the process by covering on the run line. What have we got cooked up for Sunday's series rubber match?
Braves vs. Phillies Series Closer
By: Ron Patrick
Game 2 Recap
Philadelphia took a 2-0 lead Saturday night on a Ryan Howard homer in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Atlanta scored three runs in the top of the seventh and added a couple more in the eighth on its way to a 5-2 victory. The Braves won as -115 favorites on Saturday's MLB odds, and put a grin on our face by covering at a price of +145 on the run line.
Saturday's game also sneaker UNDER its total of 7.5 runs.
The Atlanta Braves got a quality outing from starter Shane Miller, who allowed just three hits through six innings, and three scoreless innings from the bullpen, including a perfect ninth by Jason Grilli for his seventh save in seven chances this season.
Philly starter David Buchanan posted his best performance of the season so far, taking a shutout into the seventh, allowing only two hits, before being touched for those three runs, two of which originated with walks.
Game 3 Betting Odds
As of early Sunday morning the best price we could find on Philly and Jerome Williams was the -109 offered at 5Dimes, while Atlanta and Trevor Cahill were getting +105 at Heritage. Also, most books were listing the total on today's game at eight runs, although there were a few 7.5's out there.
Williams is two-for-three on quality starts this season. Last time out he held Miami to two earned runs and eight hits through six innings, with one walk and six strikeouts. And on the season he's allowed seven ER and 26 base-runners (hits + walks) through 17 innings. Philly is 2-1 in Williams' starts, with the totals going 1-1-1.
Last year Williams started once against Atlanta, giving up four runs and eight hits in six innings of a 5-4 Phillies victory.
Cahill is 0-for-two on quality starts this season for his new team. Twelve days ago he gave up four runs in less than three innings against Miami, and last Tuesday he gave up three earned runs in four innings against the Mets. Atlanta is 0-2 in Cahill's starts, and both starts played OVER the totals.
Cahill last started against the Philadelphia Phillies two seasons ago, when as a Diamondback he held them to one run in five innings of a 3-1 Arizona defeat.
Game 3 Free Pick
We'll give Williams the edge in the pitching match-up, and with most other factors balancing out to about a wash we'll take the Phillies for our MLB picks to take Sunday's series rubber match.
Free MLB Pick: Philadelphia -109 at 5Dimes
Braves vs. Phillies Game 2
By: Ron Patrick
Braves-Phillies Game 1 Recap
Starters Aaron Harang and Alex Wood stymied the sticks for a combined 13 2/3 innings, as the game went into the bottom ninth as a scoreless tie. Finally, Philly scored the only run of the game on an Atlanta error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth for the 1-0 victory.
The Phillies won as +110 home dogs on Friday's MLB odds, and Friday's game, to our delight, never came close to approaching its total of seven runs.
Even though it won Friday Philly has now scored three runs over its last three games, and just 42 runs through its first 17 games of this season.
Atlanta, meanwhile, managed just two hits Friday night, while committing four errors. The Braves have now lost four games in a row, scoring a total of six runs in the process.
Game 2 Betting Odds
As of early Saturday morning the best price we could find on Atlanta with Shane Miller was the -115 offered at WagerWeb, while Philly and David Buchanan could be found getting +108 at Bovada. And most books were listing the total on tonight's game at seven runs, although there were a few 7.5's out there.
Buchanan is 0-for-three on quality starts this season. Last time out he gave up three runs and six hits through five innings against Washington, and on the season he's allowed 14 runs and 31 base-runners (hits +walks) through just 13 2/3 innings. Philly is 0-3 in Buchanan's starts, and two of those starts have played OVER on the totals.
Last year, as a rookie, Buchanan started twice against Atlanta, giving up seven runs – four earned – on eight hits and nine walks through nine innings. The Phillies lost both those games, by scores of 3-2 and 7-4.
Miller is only one-for-three on quality starts for his new team this season, but that's because he's been on a short leash so far. First, he held Miami scoreless through five innings; then he held those same Marlins to one run through five innings; and last time out he limited Toronto to two runs through six innings. So on the season the former Cardinal has allowed just three runs and 12 hits through 16 innings, although the seven walks are a bit much.
Atlanta is 3-0 in Miller's starts, and all three starts have played UNDER.
Last year, pitching for St. Louis, Miller started twice against Philly, giving up seven runs and 12 hits through 12 2/3 innings; the Cardinals split those two games.
Game 2 Free Pick
Miller gets the nod in the pitching matchup, so we're thinking that if Atlanta can just scratch out a few runs against a struggling Buchanan, it should win this game. And since we like to take chances we'll shoot for a price and take the Braves on the run line with your MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Atlanta -1.5 runs getting +146 at Pinnacle
Braves vs. Phillies Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Game 1 Betting Odds
As of early Friday morning the best line we could find for MLB picks on Atlanta with lefty Alex Wood was the -114 offered at Heritage, while Philly and Aaron Harang were getting +108 at BookMaker.
Also, BetOnline was listing the Braves at -120 to win this series, with the Phillies “getting” +100 as home dogs for this National League East matchup.
Braves-Phillies Series Set-Up
Atlanta just got swept three games by the Mets, losing Tuesday 7-1, Wednesday 3-2 and Thursday 6-3. Braves bats managed five extra-base hits in the three games.
Just before that Atlanta took two of three games in Toronto, but just before that it lost three of four against Miami. So the Braves are 3-7 over their last 10 games.
Atlanta is also 10-5 (Over-Under) on the totals this season, in good part because totals on Braves games are routinely listed so low.
Philly just dropped two of three games to Miami, winning Tuesday 7-3 but losing Wednesday 6-1 and Thursday 9-1. Wednesday the Phillies managed just five hits and committed three errors, and Thursday they didn't score until scraping out a single run in the ninth inning.
Just before that Philly lost three of four games at Washington, and just before that it got swept three games by the Mets. So the Phillies are 2-9 over their last 11 outings.
Philly's bats have been the main problem; they rank dead last in the Majors in scoring with a total of 41 runs through their first 16 games. Both Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, who together are hitting .156 this season, sat out Thursday's game. Whether that will help these two find something is anybody’s guess.
Last year Atlanta took the season series from Philadelphia 11 games to eight, with the totals leaning toward the UNDERS by a 10-9 margin.
Harang, by our strict standards, is two-for-three on quality starts so far this season. First he held Boston scoreless on two hits through 6 1/3 innings; then he held the Mets to one run and four hits through six innings; and last time out he gave up three runs and seven hits through six innings against Washington. On the whole he's allowed 18 base-runners (hits + walks) through 18 1/3 innings.
The Phillies have won two of his three starts, and two starts played UNDER the MLB odds totals.
Harang, who did a nice job with the Braves last season, last pitched against Atlanta back in 2012, when he was with the Dodgers.
Wood will be making his fourth start of this season; last time out Saturday at Toronto he took a shutout into the seventh inning, then gave up three runs in a game the Braves eventually lost 6-5 in 10 innings. Through three starts Wood has allowed eight runs and 29 base-runners (hits + walks) through 18 1/3 innings.
Wood started twice against Philly last year, and came up with quality outings both times. First he held the Phillies to one run and eight hits through eight innings, although Atlanta lost that game 1-0; then he held them to one run through six innings of an 8-2 Braves victory. Wood walked one in those 14 innings, while whiffing 15.
At the Bat
Atlanta owns a .309 team OBP and a .399 team slugging percentage against right-handed pitching this season.
Philly owns a .342 OBP and a .427 slugging percentage against lefties this season.
Game 1 Free Pick
Harang has been good this season, and even stretching back to last year, when he went 24-for-33 on quality starts with Atlanta. Wood, meanwhile, was very good in two starts last year against Philly. So while we're not sure who's going to win this game, we're expecting a tight, low-scoring affair.
Free MLB Pick: UNDER seven runs at The Greek.