Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick 8/10/20
Atlanta Braves (11-6) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (4-6)
When: 6 p.m., Monday, August 10
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Moneyline: ATL +132/PHI -142
Runline: Braves +1.5/Phillies -1.5
Starting Pitchers: Sean Newcomb (0-1, 6.57 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) vs. Aaron Nola (0-1, 3.97 ERA, 0.79 WHIP)
Thanks to one disastrous outing against the Mets, Newcomb’s numbers look a lot worse than they are. The Mets crushed Newcomb for six earned runs in 4.1 innings in his second start of the season, but otherwise, Newcomb has proven to be a reasonably decent pitcher, giving up a combined three runs and eight hits in his other two appearances.
The problem is that Newcomb is not the kind of pitcher who can last for a long time. In three appearances, he’s yet to make it out of the fifth inning, and that wasn’t necessarily because he was getting hit hard. In his first start of the year, Newcomb had only given up one run to the Mets, but he still came out with one out in the fourth inning. It’s not been an easy change for Newcomb as he goes from reliever to starter, and because of that, it might not be worth touching the five-inning lines or totals, because Newcomb is likely to be out of the game before the end of the fourth.
This is the biggest question: how will these teams react to playing for the first time in more than eight months? None of these players have ever been away from the game for so long unless they were rehabbing an injury, and as we’ve seen in the MLS tournament, it takes time to get yourself back to normal. Obviously, baseball and soccer are very different sports, but the fact remains that this matchup will be full of question marks until we see how everyone adjusts to the new season.
One positive is that these teams have been playing exhibition games, so some of the rust might not be as apparent as it was in MLS. But just as we never know what we’re going to get from spring training, we still don’t know what we’re going to see from either Cole, Scherzer, or either lineup.
Breaking the Cycle
Sunday’s doubleheader was a relief to the Braves, who had really struggled against the Phillies as of late. Before Sunday, the Phillies had won four of five against Atlanta and had covered on the run line in five straight and seven of nine. The Braves lost the season series to the Phillies by a scant 10-9 margin last year, and with the schedule being Eastern opponents only, Atlanta really cannot afford to lose the season series to the Phillies again.
The good news for Atlanta is that this marks the last time this year that they’ll see Citizens Bank Park, as the remaining six games between the Braves and the Phillies will be played in Atlanta.
Power at the Plate
The Phillies are usually one of the stronger teams at the plate, in part because Citizens Bank Park is one of the most hitter-friendly parks in the majors. But no matter what park you’re in, you’ve got to hit the ball to produce a quality slugging percentage, and the Phils have whacked it pretty good. Despite their small sample size from playing fewer games than most teams, the Phillies own a .443 slugging percentage, good for fifth in the majors.
They’ve also hit 12 home runs on the season, a better number than Tampa Bay and Arizona despite playing in half as many games as those squads. Philadelphia has struggled at times against Atlanta pitching, but when the Phillies are on, their lineup has more than enough power to take advantage of playing in a small park.
- The Braves have won seven of their past ten games.
- The Braves are 1-8 in their previous nine games as a road underdog.
- The Phillies have won four straight against a left-handed starter.
- The Phillies have won nine of the last 13 meetings at Citizens Bank Park.
- The under is 5-2 in the Braves’ past seven matchups.
- The under is 5-1-1 in the Phillies’ previous seven home games.
With temperatures at 92 degrees, it’s likely to be a muggy night in south Philadelphia, even with some cloud cover.
Atlanta’s played well this season, but the Phillies have the better pitcher here and should avoid beating themselves with the bullpen the way the Mets did when they faced Newcomb. Philadelphia hits the ball well, and Atlanta has struggled when it’s left northern Georgia.
I don’t really like the Braves’ chances of keeping the momentum going from Sunday. I think the Phillies should be the pick here.