The Atlanta Braves have clinched the NL East and don’t have to worry about the Nationals or Phillies any longer. No matter what happens from here to Sunday, the Braves will be going to the postseason as winners of the NL East. This has been a great season for the Braves, and a pretty good for the Nationals who are on a path to go to the postseason as a wildcard. The biggest disappointment in the NL East was easily the Phillies. And that probably goes for the entire major leagues, the Phillies really fell flat and are long shots just to go to the Wild Card Game.
The Phillies won the bidding war for Bryce Harper, but it hasn’t paid off for them, at least in his first season in Philadelphia. Bryce will have to go back to the drawing board in the offseason and figure out what went wrong. He came up big in spots here and there, but his strikeout rate was far too high.
A guy on his contract should not be hitting .256 with 33 home runs. We can find several guys across the majors with better numbers who are not on his contract. He gets somewhat of a free pass in year-one, but don’t expect that next season. Atlanta loved watched the downfall of Harper, as it only helped them out in the NL East. Having said that, even if he was playing well, this division looks like it would be the Braves regardless. With a record of 96-61, there’s only one team in front of them for the top of the National League.
At 100-56, the Dodgers own a healthy lead for 1st. However, there is still an outside shot of the Braves coming from behind to overtake the Dodgers. Their main goal is going to be keeping their focus and making sure that they’re mentally ready for October ball. Going in cold could be a killer, so it’s important they stay composed in Kansas City. The Braves will send out Julio Teheran to square off against Danny Duffy of the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Head below for our free Braves vs. Royals pick.
Atlanta Braves vs. K.C. Royals Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Kansas City Royals fell hard and fast after winning the World Series in 2015. From a championship four years ago to 57-100 and second-last in the AL Central. The Royals exhausted all of their resources during that championship run and it paid off. The flip side is a rebuilding phase for the Royals. It was well worth it because they won a World Series and fans are going to be more patient with the club because of that. There will come a time soon when the grace period is over, though.
The Royals enter Tuesday 2-8 in their previous ten games. They are ready for the offseason right now. That’s less than a week off, so the Royals don’t have to do much more waiting. They have a tough opponent in town for a couple of days, though. On the bright side, the Royals won’t have to do any flights out of town. They’ll wrap up their 2019 campaign with a three-game series against the Twins next weekend.
Another bright side is the fact that Danny Duffy has been coming on strong in September. Duffy has posted an ERA of 0.95 and 0.75 WHIP in his previous three outings. You must take the good and the bad with him. He is a pitcher who goes hot and cold with no real consistency. Duffy owns an ERA of 4.30 and a 4.23 ERA at home in Kansas City. He’s also done well against the Braves, as they’re hitting .209 in 91 at-bats.
How much do the Royals care, though? They’re playing like they’ve checked out and have to face Teheran tonight. Teheran has had their number, as the Royals are hitting just .182 with a .229 OBP against him. Freddie Freeman will be out tonight, but I don’t think it will matter. Expect the Braves to be composed and focused as they get into postseason mode in Kansas City. I like a 5-3 or 6-4 win for the Braves in this spot.