Here we are baseball fans! Game 162! It has been a long and winding road of a season, and with just one game left on the schedule we still have a lot to play for. For those of you that haven’t been following it closely, here is a quick rundown of where we stand. The American League playoffs are all set. The Red Sox, Astros, and Indians took home the division titles, and the Oakland Athletics will play in New York against the New York Yankees in a one-game wild-card playoff for the rights to play the Boston Red Sox in the second round.
Now to the National League where all the fun is at! The NL Central features a tie between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers for first place with one game to go. The Cubs play the St. Louis Cardinals at home, and the Brewers play the Detroit Tigers at home. If the teams end up tying after today, there will be a one-game playoff between the squads in Chicago, with the winner taking the division title and home-field advantage in the playoffs and the loser hosting the NL wild-card game.
The NL West is also tied as the Colorado Rockies are tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division title. The Rockies play at home against a Washington Nationals team that broke their hearts last night. While the Dodgers must win at their rivals, the San Francisco Giants. To add even more drama to the mix, the Atlanta Braves, the NL East Division champion, has the same record as both West Division teams, so depending on how that all shakes out it will decide who gets home field advantage in the second round series between the winner of the East and West Divisions.
I know it is a lot to absorb, but just know that today is a great day to be a baseball fan as there is all kinds of action and excitement, and several teams will be playing for a lot this afternoon. All games kick off by right around noon PST to make sure that nobody’s action is spoiled. Buckle your seatbelts it’s going to be a great day of baseball action! For our pick today, we will take a look at the Atlanta Braves as they look to lock down the home field advantage against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Atlanta Braves are in Philly Sunday for game 162 and are hoping to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs with a win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies won last night, their first win in ten games, as Aaron Nola finished off his season with an exclamation point as he tossed seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits. The win capped a fantastic season for the young starter, and the future sure seems to be bright for Nola.
Starting today for the Braves is Kevin Gausman (10-10 3.93 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is Ranger Suarez (1-1 6.00). The Braves are -144 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 PM PST from Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly.
The Braves turn to Kevin Gausman to get the job done today in a game that has a lot of meaning. Gausman was brought over at the trade deadline from the Baltimore Orioles, and at the time it looked like a minor move. But as the Braves head into the playoffs as division champions, it looks like a move that likely was a key contributor.
Gausman has pitched much better in a Braves uniform than he ever did for the Orioles. In fact, he was nearly unhittable for Atlanta when he first came over, as through his first six starts he had an ERA of just 1.66. He has cooled off a bit in his last couple of starts, but make no mistake, the Braves have gotten their money’s worth out of Gausman. Gausman has one start against Philly this season, it came in his last start, and he pitched well. He threw six and a third innings and allowed three runs and the Braves won the game 8-3.
The Phillies will start late season call up Ranger Suarez. Suarez is a rookie and in three appearances, two starts, has been getting hammered. His ERA on the season is 6.00, and in the last two games, he has pitched it has been in mop-up duty as the Phillies lost those two combined games 34-5. It is going to be a tough task for Suarez today to hold back a very motivated Braves squad.
The Phillies put everything into last night’s game. They wanted to send Aaron Nola into the offseason on a high note and break that nasty nine-game losing streak. They succeeded and picked up the win, and I think they are content with that. Today, I see them as laying down for the Braves. You aren’t starting a guy like Ranger Suarez if you really value winning very highly.
I think the Braves will win this one and win it big. I am shocked to see the number as a tight one as the Phillies have absolutely nothing to play for and have been dreadful for the last several weeks. Atlanta should be able to get a solid outing from Gausman as well as tune up Suarez, and I see them coasting to an easy victory. Give me the Atlanta Braves as road favorites tonight in game 162 from Philly at -135!