The NL East division crown will likely be decided this week as the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves open up a three-game set at 7:20 p.m. ET. The Braves’ magic number to win the division is 5. Zack Wheeler will get the start for the Phillies, while the Braves will give the ball to Charlie Morton.
NL East standings
Phillies 81-75 — 2.5 GB
Run line: Phillies +1.5 (-195), Braves -1.5 (+165)
Over/under: 7.5 runs
Moneyline: Phillies +105, Braves -125
Based on how both of these starting pitchers have pitched this month, we should be in store for a pitchers duel. In September, Wheeler is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.14 and .207 OBA through four starts. As for Morton, he’s 1-1 with an ERA of 3.60 and .195 OBA in four starts this month. However, the Phillies might be able to score some runs off of Morton, who has lost four out of his last five starts. But it depends on which Phillies’ offense shows up and if they can match the Braves’ high powered offense. I’d lean towards taking the over for this game. In their last six games in Atlanta, the run total has gone over five times.
Starting pitchers: Zack Wheeler vs. Charlie Morton
One could make the case that Philadelphia comes into tonight’s series opener with the advantage on the mound. Wheeler has pitched like a NL Cy Young candidate for a majority of the season.
The veteran pitcher has a 14-9 record and 2.79 ERA. Wheeler has done well on the road this season with an ERA of 3.42, but has pitched even better against the Braves this year. In four starts against Atlanta, the 31-year-old old starting pitcher is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.35. The lone loss was the second start of the season at Truist Park on April 9. Meanwhile, Morton is 13-6 with an ERA of 3.53 in 31 starts this season. The 38-year-old starting pitcher has not won a game at home since June 5 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’ll be trying to snap this losing skid against the Phillies, where Morton has a 2-2 record, 3.06 ERA, and .261 OBA in four starts.
Prediction: Phillies take Game 1
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