Strider and Nola Set for Pitching Duel

Braves vs. Phillies, Game 3, 4:37 ET

The series is tied up. After a nice opening game from the Phillies, they were stifled by the pitching of the Braves, something that I was genuinely concerned about coming into this series. The Braves starting staff is really good. Now, this is a pivotal game as we are in a best-of-three series now with whoever wins this game having a good path towards advancing.

The Braves are somewhat lucky because they still have a bullet left in the chamber for this game. Not that the Phillies don’t, but there was concern that starter Spencer Strider wouldn’t be able to go in this game. Strider is a top candidate for Rookie of the Year, and has been superb for the Braves this year. The big issue right now is that he is coming off of almost a month of rest. How much rust will need to be shaken off? If there is none, I really like the Braves to win this game. If there is some, the Phillies could strike first and Aaron Nola could close out the game with another strong performance. There is a reason for optimism for Strider pitching though. Strider has faced the Phillies as a starter three times this season, including his most recent start. In all three games, he went at least six innings and allowed just one earned run. Twice, those runs came in the form of a solo homer. In the 21.1 innings he has against the Phillies (2.2 came as a reliever) he’s only allowed seven hits to them. He has allowed seven walks too, which is a little concerning.

Nola is taking the ball for the Phillies and he turned in a masterful performance against the Cardinals in the Wild Card round. Over 6.2 innings, he allowed just four hits and no earned runs. He was great as the Phillies navigated their way to a 2-0 victory and booked themselves a spot in this series. Nola has been slightly worse at home than on the road. He’s allowed 38 earned runs and 12 homers in 97 innings. Lately, when he is good, he is very good. When he is bad, it hasn’t been pretty. He’s faced the Braves five times on the season and allowed 14 earned runs and five home runs over 34.1 innings. The Phillies are 3-2 in his starts against the Braves though. At home against the Braves this year, he has pitched 19 innings and allowed nine earned runs. His most recent start against them at home, in September, was a strong six innings of four hits and no earned runs.

To me, we are unlikely to see a lot of runs given up by either pitcher. If you think that the Braves are going to win, I’d play them to score first and win. If you like the Phillies, I’d probably take them to score first and win. Both are plus money right now. My official play on this is going to be under 6.5 runs for the game at +100. With two strong pitchers in a really important game, I’m going to take a chance that runs are hard to come by.

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Written by David Troy

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