We picked up another win last night when we backed the Philadelphia Phillies as small home favorites against the Washington Nationals. I liked our side of the starting pitching matchup as Philly starter Jake Arrieta had been really good at home this season and Nat’s starter Gio Gonzalez has been in freefall as of late. The game itself was an exciting back and forth affair that saw the lead change hands multiple times.
In the end, the Phillies bats were just too much for Gio Gonzalez as the veteran pitcher struggled yet again. The Phillies pounded Gonzalez for six runs, all earned, in five innings of work. Arrieta wasn’t any better as he was run from the game after three innings of work as his pitch count swelled early. While this one didn’t go exactly as planned, we still picked up the win and cashed our ticket.
The Phillies picked up a much needed to win to keep pace in the National League and the Nats lost, something I have a feeling they are going to do a lot of down the stretch as they unloaded quite a bit of talent recently. For tonight’s pick, I will take a look at the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves.
The Chicago Cubs head to Atlanta for a makeup game Thursday. The Cubs are forced to play in Atlanta and miss out on a much-needed day off, as after this game they embark on a long, ten game road trip. The Cubs saw their seven-game winning streak snapped last night in New York when they dropped a game to the New York Mets. The Braves have been playing good ball recently as well as they have won six out of their last nine games and are starting to run away with the National League East Division title.
Starting tonight for the Braves is Mike Foltynewicz (10-8 2.67 ERA), and for the Cubs, it is Mike Montgomery (4-4 3.62 ERA). The Braves are -126 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:35 PM PST from SunTrust Park in Atlanta.
Mike Montgomery has been a jack of all trades this year for the Chicago Cubs. He starts games, he comes out of the bullpen, and he does an admirable job in both roles. Montgomery did struggle a bit in the starter role in July as he went 0-2 with a 5.57 ERA in four starts and the Cubs lost each game.
But he has pitched much better in August though, as in three appearances, two of them starts, he has an ERA of just 0.73. The problem for Chicago has been the despite his solid results, they can’t seem win when he is on the mound. The Cubs have lost seven out of the last eight times Montgomery has pitched. Montgomery has two appearances against the Braves this year and hasn’t allowed a run in three innings of work out of the bullpen.
Mike Foltynewicz had an unbelievable start to the season. He was named to his first All-Star team and was producing stellar results. The wheels fell off a bit in July though as he went just 2-3 with a 5.74 ERA in five starts. But he has gotten right back on track here in August as he is 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA in five starts. He has been the recipient of some bad luck recently as well as he has pitched a combined thirteen innings in his last two starts and has allowed a total of one run, and the Braves lost both games.
Foltynewicz has made one start against the Cubs this year and he shined. He pitched five innings, gave up no earned runs, and struck out a season-high ten batters. But once again he came up as a hard-luck loser as the Braves lost the game 3-2.
Both of these teams are playing very well right now. After battling all summer in their respective divisions, it looks like these will likely be the presumptive division champs in the National League Central and the East. Which means tonight’s one game could very well be a playoff preview. But it may be hard for the Cubs to bring the heat tonight as they are forced to miss a travel day and play for the fifteenth consecutive day.
To make matters worse for Chicago, they don’t have a day off coming up until September 13th! That is a brutal stretch of games and don’t be shocked if at some point this Cubs team starts to look a bit run down. I think tonight’s game is one of those spots where the schedule is just too much to handle for the Cubs, and they will come up short.
They played in New York last night and had to travel all the way to Atlanta today, only to get back on a plane to Philly right after the game. That is brutal, and if the Cubs come out flat, you will know why. Throw in the fact that the Braves are a really good team and Foltynewicz is an elite starting pitcher and you have a recipe for disaster for the Cubs.
Montgomery will likely pitch well enough to keep this game competitive, but in the end, I see the Braves as finding a way to win the game. These makeup games are always tough on both teams, but they are especially tough on the road team as the travel demands can be outrageous. Give me the Atlanta Braves as small home favorites tonight from Atlanta at -128!