Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#857 Philadelphia Phillies vs.
#858 Atlanta Braves
Sunday, April 11, 2021 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Philadelphia Phillies will head on the road to Truist Park on Sunday afternoon for the final game of their National League East series showdown against the Atlanta Braves.

The Phillies sit atop the NL East standings with a 5-3 overall record but the Braves have climbed back into second place after a slow start. Philadelphia swept the season-opening series at home against Atlanta but has not been able to continue its momentum in its first road series of the year. The Braves have won four straight, including the first two games of their series against the Phillies to get back to the .500-mark at 4-4.

Can Atlanta stay hot at home against Philadelphia on Sunday night?

Phillies hoping to get more out of Moore

Philadelphia is scheduled to hand the ball to veteran left-hander Matt Moore for his second start in a Phillies’ uniform. Moore was solid but unspectacular in his Phillies’ debut. Signed on a one-year, prove-it deal, Moore opened the season with 3 ⅓ innings of two-run ball against the New York Mets. He retired the first seven batters he faced and struck out four but will look to exhibit better command after also issuing four walks on the night.

The Phillies are hoping that Moore can figure things out after several injuries derailed a once-promising career on the mound. Moore’s strikeout rate had declined in each of his last three full seasons as a starter while his walk-rate was trending in the opposite direction during that span.

Moore has made one career start against Atlanta, tossing seven innings of three-run ball in a win against the Braves during the 2017 season. According to Baseball Savant, current Braves are batting .269 in 27 plate appearances off of the Phillies’ left-hander coming into Sunday’s contest.

Smyly building confidence after strong Braves' debut

Left-hander Drew Smyly will toe the rubber for the Braves in the series finale against the Phillies on Sunday evening. Smyly used his curveball to keep hitters off-balance in his Braves debut, allowing just two runs and striking out eight batters in six innings of work. Despite his efforts, the 31-year-old was left with a no-decision on the night but it was still an encouraging start for a pitcher that came over as a reclamation project after bouncing around between three teams over the past two seasons.

This will be Smyly’s first career start against the Braves. He’s only made one relief appearance against them in his career and struck out one batter in a scoreless inning of work. While he hasn’t pitched versus the Phillies, six Phillies’ batters have had experience in the batter’s box against Smyly before. According to Baseball Savant, current Phillies are batting just .130 in 24 plate appearances off of the Braves’ lefty heading into Sunday’s matchup.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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While both of these pitchers entered the season at reclamation projects, their careers appear to be trending in opposite directions. Moore doesn’t appear to have much left in the tank and doesn’t look like he has solved the command issues that plagued him during his time with the Rangers and Giants. Meanwhile, Smyly has had a long road back from a labrum tear that cost him two seasons but he’s finally starting to look like a competent starter again. The lefty struck out eight batters and walked just one in his first start of the season and posted strong strikeout numbers (14.35 K/9) in a small sample size (26 innings) with the Giants last year. Take Atlanta to complete the sweep and cover the run line over Philadelphia on Sunday night. 

Prediction: Atlanta Braves -1.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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These two teams are projected for nine runs after totaling exactly that number in each of the first two games of the series. That follows a three-game series in Philadelphia in which the NL East rivals stayed under the projected total in all three contests. With that being said, I like the trend to continue here. Moore has been suspect, at-best, over his last three-plus seasons and his time as a starter in Philadelphia could be short-lived. Meanwhile, Smyly has also struggled at times since returning from injury, so there’s no guarantee that he’s officially turned the corner just yet. Take this divisional battle to go over the projected total on Sunday night. 

Prediction: Over 9
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.