This is a pretty fun divisional matchup. The Atlanta Braves have been red-hot and are now within one game of the Mets for the NL East lead.
In the meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are staying above water in the NL Wildcard race. Philly finds itself one game out of the third spot entering this one.
If you want to make the postseason, you have to win your divisional games. That being said, who’s going to win this one?
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Monday’s matchup.
Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies Odds
Max Fried is still in the running for Cy Young. He’s been one of the National League’s best pitchers, and the Braves are generally heavily favored in his starts.
While Ranger Suarez is having a slightly down year, he’s still a competent pitcher. Considering the solid plus-money odds, it might be worth targeting the Phillies at home here.
The wind is projected to be blowing straight out to center field on Monday evening, which points me towards the over.
Let’s dive a little deeper to see where the best value is.
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
RF R. Acuna R
SS D. Swanson R
1B M. Olson L
3B A. Riley R
DH M. Ozuna R
C T. d’Arnaud R
LF W. Contreras R
2B O. Arcia R
CF M. Harris L
Atlanta Braves vs Ranger Suarez
Suarez was always due for regression. His 2021 was amazing, but it was also carried by a .257 BABIP and an 87% strand rate. As those numbers regressed, so did his entire statistical profile.
However, I didn’t expect him to regress this much. His ERA, xERA, FIP, and xFIP are all between 3.97 and 4.11. His strikeout rate is also down over 7% and his walk rate is up a few ticks.
Suarez is still elite at avoiding hard contact, with his 31.1% rate ranking above the 90th percentile of qualified pitchers. That sinker can still force a good amount of ground balls.
It’s going to be very difficult to get by this Braves lineup, however. Atlanta has more barrels than any team in MLB than the Yankees. And since they flipped the switch in June, no team in the NL has a higher wRC+ (123) save the Dodgers.
The offense has driven the Braves’ eruption in the second half. Since the offense got it together, the Braves are 35-11 and have eliminated a 10-game lead in the division.
Philadelphia Phillies Starting Lineup
LF K. Schwarber L
1B R. Hoskins R
C J. Realmuto R
RF N. Castellanos R
3B A. Bohm R
SS D. Gregorius L
CF M. Vierling R
2B J. Camargo S
DH D. Hall L
Philadelphia Phillies vs Max Fried
Only four pitchers in the National League have an fWAR above 3.5. That list includes Sandy Alcantara, Carlos Rodon, Aaron Nola, and Fried.
Fried is also third in the NL in innings pitched (119 ⅓) and has kept his ERA and FIP around 2.50. And thanks to the run support he’s earned from the lineup, Fried’s posted a 10-3 record this year.
There isn’t much that Fried can’t do. His Baseball Savant page backs that up:
Image credit: Baseball Savant
Look out for the fastball and slider, but Fried has five pitches that have amassed a -2 Run Value or better this year. That’s tough to stop.
The Phillies are an annoying team. Kyle Schwarber is kicking ass, but the Phillies are a league-average offense. They’re a below-league-average offense without Bryce Harper in the fold and the worst defense in baseball when he can’t play in the outfield.
Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are carrying the Phillies, and they could be dangerous come October. But for now, this team is not where they want to be.
Atlanta Braves vs Philadelphia Phillies Pick & Prediction
My picks: Over 8 (-115 at Caesars Sportsbook)
Despite less than 35% of the tickets being on the over, the line has crept up to 8.5 at some sportsbooks. We classify that as reverse line movement, and it tends to be a profitable bet signal.
I also like the over in general. Fried could be slightly overvalued on the road, and Suarez’s peripherals show he should be a 4.00-ERA pitcher for the remainder of the season.
It’s also nice we’re getting a Phillies defense that’s second-to-last in both Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average. That always can help when backing an over.
Add in the wind factor I mentioned above and we’ve got the perfect storm for an over 8 play.