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 MoorePhiladelphia 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' debutLeft-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.
Welcome to Atlanta, Drew Smyly pic.twitter.com/U4Mx1eLCTh— Brian Chandler (@BrianC_Chandler) November 16, 2020
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.
- Phillies are 10-22 in their last 32 games as an underdog.
- Phillies are 3-7 in their last 10 vs. a team with a losing record.
- Phillies are 6-15 in their last 21 during game 3 of a series.
- Braves are 13-3 in their last 16 home games with the total set at 7.0-8.5.
- Braves are 4-1 in their last 5 games after losing the first 2 games of a series.
- Braves are 4-1 in their last 5 home games with the total set at 6.5 or lower.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
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.
Full-Game Total Pick
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.