Stephen Nover's MLB Thursday Top Ticket
Atlanta vs. Philadelphia,
09/12/2019 19:15 EDT,
Score: 5 - 9
Money Line: -124 Atlanta
If it weren't for Washington's Dave Martinez, I would select Philadephia's Gabe Kapler as the worst manager in the National League if not all of baseball.
The Phillies haven't made the playoffs since 2011. Kabler hasn't changed that in the two years he has been manager despite management getting him a lot of talent. Kapler's bizarre in-game decisions, poor bullpen management and lack of communication have hindered the Phillies.
So if I can find a reason to fade the Phillies, I usually will. In this matchup there are several major factors working against Philadelphia, beginning with the starting pitching matchup of Julio Teheran versus lefty Drew Smyly.
Teheran is very reliable. The Braves are 16-7 in his last 23 starts. During these past 23 starts, Teheran has a 2.67 ERA. He's allowed only three runs during his past four starts spanning 25 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .167 against him during this time frame.
It took a while, but the Braves' high quality relievers they picked up at the trade deadline have settled down and are pitching well.
Atlanta is one of the hottest teams in the majors having won 19 of its last 23 games.
The Braves have won 67 percent of their games, too, when drawing a lefty starter this season going 22-11.
Smyly was terrible with Texas this year going 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA and 1.91 WHIP. He pitched better initially since coming to the Phillies on July 21. But aside from his last start against the Mets this past Saturday, Smyly has reverted back to his terrible American League form giving up 21 earned runs in his previous six games. Smyly failed to go six innings in any of those six outings before his last start.
The chance to back the hot Braves with the stronger pitcher at a reasonable price has me taking Atlanta.