Phillies vs. Braves, 7:20 ET
The Phillies, Braves, and Mets all are likely to reach the playoffs. There is a very clear division though between two of those teams and the third. The Mets and Braves are playing for a division crown while the Phillies if they want to win the World Series, will have to travel through the wild card path to do it. With all three almost certainly in the playoffs, it is hard to say this is an important game, but I’d think the Braves want to win the division still.
Aaron Nola, the ace of the Phillies rotation is taking the ball tonight. I haven’t written much about Nola this season, and honestly, that’s because he burned me most of last season. Any time I thought he would do well, he stunk. Any time I would fade him, he would be a Cy Young candidate. This year has been a bit better with it though and I think this is a good spot. He has a nice 2.85 ERA on the road this season and has done well in his two September starts (he left his last one early due to weather delay). Against Atlanta, he has been hit fairly hard, but of the ten earned runs he’s allowed against them, he only has allowed one on the road.
Jake Odorizzi has been, um, not great since he joined the squad at the trade deadline. He was fairly similar on the Astros though, where in some games he was lights out, and in others, he would struggle to get through five innings. He has six starts for the Braves and has allowed 16 earned runs over 29 innings. He’s only made one home start for them and he allowed five earned runs in five innings with three home runs. I personally don’t think he’s a great pitcher and he needs to show much more consistency if the Braves are going to use him at all in the playoffs. Still, he is their fifth-best pitcher, and as far as fifth starters go, he’s one of the best. Phillies hitters haven’t seen a ton of him with the exception of Jean Segura who has had great success against him, but those that have seen him have hit him good enough.
I think there is a clear edge here for Nola and the Phillies. The Braves are certainly the better team and can explode for offense at any time. Nola though is a bit more trustworthy on the road and I’m going to continue to fade Odorizzi until he consistently pitches well. Take the Phillies through five at -135. This line should tell you a lot – the Phillies are just -115 to win the game, but -135 to win the first five innings.
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