Braves Look to Pad Lead over Phillies in NL East
The two best teams in the National League East will meet this Thursday when the 51-36 Atlanta Braves host the 45-41 Philadelphia Phillies. This is the rubber-game of a three-game at SunTrust Park. The Braves needed just one game in July before firing up the offense that dominated in June. They head into Thursday’s home series finale against the Phillies looking for a series win. Another big offensive performance would go a long way in helping.
The Braves have extended their NL East lead over the Phillies to 5 games with Wednesday’s 9-2 victory. The Braves got three-run homers from Josh Donaldson and Austin Riley to win for the 21st time in their past 30 games.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34 ERA) vs. Braves RH Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.13)
Phillies and Braves Have Youngsters on the Hill
In his first full season in the bigs, Soroka has been one of the most profitable pitchers in baseball. He has led Atlanta to a record of 11-3 in his 14 starts. The 21-year-old baby-faced assassin has been selected for the All-Star Game. The Braves drafted him out of high school in 2015 with the No. 28 pick. Soroka has already paid big dividends for the team. He has show impressive pitch control and inducing nearly three times as many ground-ball’s as fly-ball’s.
Eflin was a first round pick in 2012. The Florida native hasn’t enjoyed much success since making his MLB debut with the San Diego Padres. He has an ERA of 3.34 this season and it has been his most successful throughout his young career. He has made16 starts for the Phillies. He has the Phillies at 7-9 thus far and is getting just 4.06 runs of support per game.
This, That, and a Dart Throw
Atlanta added a two-run, pinch-hit homer from Matt Joyce in pounding out 10 hits in last nights win. It was one night after being shut out for only the second time this season. They have improved to 33-16 in the team’s past 49 games. Atlanta has averaged 5.9 runs and 9.4 hits per game and has bashed 86 homers over that span.
Wednesday was a milestone night for Philadelphia right fielder Bryce Harper. He recorded his 200th career homer and 1,000th career hit on a solo blast in the sixth inning. The Phillies lost for the third time in their past nine games. They were held to six hits after averaging 9.8 in their previous eight games. Catcher J.T. Realmuto extended his hitting streak to four games with two hits. He is batting .355 in his past nine games.
Eflin continues to stabilize a sometimes-shaky Philadelphia rotation. He has thrown two complete games in his first 16 starts. He is entering tonight’s game ninth in the NL in ERA. The 25-year-old gave up six runs in five innings to the Mets on June 24, but he rebounded five days later by holding Miami to three runs on eight hits with one walk in six innings. Eflin has pitched to a 1.24 WHIP, but has surrendered 15 homers in 97 innings this season. He is 2-0 in three career starts with a 1.57 ERA against Atlanta.
Soroka makes his first start since being named to the NL All-Star team.He began Wednesday tied for second in the league in wins. Soroka would be second in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify. He left a June 23 start at Washington when he was hit with a pitch in his right forearm. The righty came back strong and held the Mets to two runs on seven hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings Friday. Soroka is limiting opponents to a .206 average this season and is making his first career appearance against the Phillies. Braves SS Dansby Swanson extended his hitting streak to six games Wednesday and is batting .423 during that stretch.
The Dart Throw: Braves 7, Phillies 2
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NL East Betting Odds & Trends
|Philadelphia is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games|
|Philadelphia is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games|
|Philadelphia is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games on the road|
|Philadelphia is 2-7 SU in its last 9 games on the road|
|Philadelphia is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Atlanta|
|Philadelphia is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing Atlanta|
|Philadelphia is 2-8 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Atlanta|
|Atlanta is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games|
|Atlanta is 18-7 SU in its last 25 games|
|The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Atlanta’s last 10 games|
|Atlanta is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home|
|Atlanta is 11-3 SU in its last 14 games at home|
|The total has gone OVER in 13 of Atlanta’s last 16 games at home|
|Atlanta is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Philadelphia|
|Atlanta is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing Philadelphia|
|Atlanta is 8-2 SU in its last 10 games when playing at home against Philadelphia|
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