Starting Pitchers: Atlanta (Jurrjens) vs. Philadelphia (Worley)
Date/Time: July 8, 1:35 PM EST
MLB Betting Odds from TopBet
Moneyline: Philadelphia (-126) Atlanta (+116)
The bottom has fallen out for the Philadelphia Phillies over the last month. The Phillies have lost 9 of their last 10 and they now sit a season-high 12 games under .500. Atlanta is 45-39, and the Braves are still within reach of the Nationals and Mets at the top of the National League East. Can the Phillies salvage a game in this series, or will the Braves finish off a sweep?
Atlanta has had an up and down season thus far. The offense has looked like the best in the National League at times, but for other stretches they look pathetic. Overall, this is a very talented lineup when everyone is healthy. Freddie Freeman and Chipper Jones have both had some injuries this year, and the team really needs them to stay healthy. Michael Bourn has been a great leadoff hitter for the Braves this year. His speed is a major weapon for this team. Martin Prado leads the team with a .322 batting average. Jason Heyward is slowly heating up, and if he could get hot that would take this offense to another level.
The Braves pitching staff has an overall ERA of 3.93. The bullpen hasn’t been nearly as good as they were last year, but they have been getting overused. Atlanta really needs some starters to stretch it out and eat up some innings. Jair Jurrjens is 2-2 with a 5.19 ERA this year. Jurrjens spent quite a bit of time in the minors working on his mechanics, but he still doesn’t seem to be in great form.
The Phillies came in as the heavy favorites in the NL East this year. The injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Roy Halladay certainly haven’t helped; but this team still has no business sitting at 37-49. Most people look at their record and assume the offense has been horrible, but it really has been the pitching staff that has disappointed. The Phillies rank 22nd in the majors in team ERA. Vance Worley is 4-5 with a 3.46 ERA this year. Worley was torched for six runs in his last outing. The bullpen has struggled all season.
Offensively, Carlos Ruiz has been carrying the team most of the season. Ruiz has a .348 average and a .411 on-base-percentage. Hunter Pence is hitting .288 with 16 homers and 50 RBI’s. Shane Victorino is having the worst season of his career thus far, and Jimmy Rollins is having a disappointing season as well. Utley and Howard coming back to the lineup will help this group, but it might be too late to salvage anything out of this season.
MLB Free Pick: Braves ML
Jurrjens hasn’t pitched well this year, but at this point the Braves are clearly the better team. Getting Atlanta at plus money looks like a good value here.
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