MLB Odds, Picks for Phillies vs Braves
Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images. Pictured: Spencer Strider
Phillies vs Braves Odds
The Phillies may have a four-game cushion in the NL wild-card race, but with plenty of teams on the chase and the Atlanta Braves on the schedule, that can all change very quickly.
Will Christopher Sanchez continue Philly's hot streak on Tuesday, or will Spencer Strider have the answer?
Let's break it all down in our Phillies vs. Braves preview and prediction.
The Phillies will send Sanchez to the hill in the midst of what's been a surprisingly great season to this point. The 26-year-old lefty had pitched just 52 2/3 innings at the big-league level after debuting in 2021 and spent the majority of the first half down at Triple-A, compiling a 4.35 ERA.
Since he's been back up, he's been as reliable as they've come with a 3.25 ERA in 83 frames, and his numbers to this point would more or less back up the results.
His strikeout numbers are better than the league average and his 4% walk rate puts him in the top 2% of all pitchers.
His arsenal has produced a very pedestrian .246 xBA and his 40.6% hard-hit rate is certainly a concern, but considering he hardly hands out free passes to hitters and has a fantastic 57% ground ball rate, Sanchez has been incredibly effective for Philly.
The Braves are the hardest test in baseball for an opposing pitcher, but luckily the Phillies' offense is firing on all cylinders at the moment. They scored seven runs against Atlanta in a win on Monday and for the last two weeks now have a 107 wRC+ coupled with a sky-high 11.5% walk rate and a solid .187 ISO.
While Philly's strikeout rate remains high, it is still reaching base and hitting for power as well as it has all year.
With the NL East secured, the Braves have taken their foot off the gas just a little bit over the last two weeks. Even then, they're still slashing .265/.327/.503 during those games with a strong 17.8% strikeout rate.
Atlanta's swinging at pitches at a slightly higher rate than normal, and as a result its walk rate is a meek 7.1%, and it is is also hitting fly balls at a slightly higher clip.
One guy who can't afford to take this last month for granted, however, is Spencer Strider. The strikeout artist has still been at the top of his game in that regard, punching out 37.6% of the batters he's faced, but he continues to have some issues getting outs via contact and his walk rate has begun to jump.
He put 9.2% of hitters on base via the walk in August and that number has climbed to 11.4% in September. HIs xBA for the month has also risen to .243 and his chase rate has now dropped in each of the last three months.
With that all said, Strider's still 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season with 27 strikeouts and just three walks in 19 innings. The flamethrower seems to enjoy the matchup with his punchout-happy division rivals.
Phillies vs. Braves
Betting Pick & Prediction
I really love this matchup for Sanchez. The Braves are a fly-ball team by trade and against lefties rank ninth in fly ball rate. The extreme ground-baller should be able to negotiate enough outs on the ground against a slightly lethargic Atlanta team to keep his team in it, but on the other side of the coin I'm not sure the Phillies have any sort of answer for Strider.
While Philly has been incredibly patient at the dish, which could exacerbate Strider's newfound walk issues, the fact remains that this team loves to strike out and that has ultimately led to absolutely no success this year against the righty.
It does seem like a very scary proposition these days to rely on Strider to keep runners off base enough to cash an under, but with a number this high I think we need to bet on both pitchers in what should be great spots.
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