The Atlanta Braves are hoping to get out of this week with even more of a comfortable lead in the NL East. Their only threat is the Philadelphia Phillies, who had an opportunity to add a couple of winners due to a double-header against the Nationals. They didn’t make good in Game 1, and then choked away a late lead in Game 2. It’s almost time for the Phillies to accept their fate and chalk this season up as a near miss.
If the Phillies keep trading wins and losses, the Braves are going to be perfectly content with that. With the Braves already up by a comfortable margin, the Phillies have it tough the rest of the season. A poor finish and they could actually fall behind under the .500 mark. The possibility of nabbing a wildcard is also dire, as they’re currently the third team out in the National League.
The Braves finished 3rd in the NL East with a record of 72-90 and are set to complete a turnaround soon. If they can hang on and not choke the division away they’ll be back on of the NL East. The last time the Braves won the division was back in 2013, which was the first time since 2005. The Braves won the NL East a whopping eleven seasons in a row before that came to an end in 2006.
The Braves had some good years led by Chipper Jones, but the Braves have some talented youngsters in Atlanta ready to lead this team for a long time. The Braves will go with a guy on the mound who is certainly not a youngster. Anibal Sanchez has been in the major leagues since 2006. He’s having one of his best years this season, his first with the Braves. A scenery change has worked wonders for Sanchez in Atlanta. He’s not throwing heaters or anything, but the movement on his ball has improved tenfold. Derek Holland has found success with his new team as well. Head below for our free Braves vs. Giants pick below.
Atlanta Braves vs. San Francisco Giants Pick
Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 3.09 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (7-8, 3.54 ERA)
If there is anything the Braves can’t do, it’s looking ahead to the postseason. Things are looking good now, but things can change in a hurry on the drop of a dime. They haven’t been doing that, thus far anyway. And as far as Anibal Sanchez is concerned, there have been a lot of people waiting for him to hit a wall and regress quickly.
That’s never happened as he continues to pitch well for the Braves. Sanchez enters with a rock-solid ERA of 3.09 this season. He hasn’t seen an ERA below 4.00 since 2014 so this has been a career saving year for him. He’s been good in his last three starts, with an ERA of 2.81 and a 1.06 WHIP. Now Sanchez takes on a Giants’ offense that pretty much gave up after McCutchen got traded. They are averaging just 3.85 runs per game and have scored 2.66 runs per game in September.
Derek Holland has been doing his job, though. He can be a good pitcher when the injury bug doesn’t hit him hard, which has been the theme of his career. Holland enters with a 1.96 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in his previous three outings. He’s allowed more than 2 runs just once in his last ten starts, dating back to July 21st. The Giants haven’t been able to hit a softball lately, so he likely going to have to be sharp and not expect too much run support in this contest. He’s used to it, as the Giants haven’t scored more than 3 runs in a Holland start in six appearances. This should make for a low-scoring that could go either way. I prefer a play on the UNDER in San Fran on Wednesday afternoon.