The race is on to the finish line of the first-half of the season, which doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but finishing with some momentum is always a good thing. It’s especially important for teams like the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. They got into a pitching duel last night, as Aaron Nola and Dallas Keuchel faced off in a pretty impressive showing for both.
Nola got the better of Keuchel, though, as he was sharp throughout the contest. The good sign for the Braves is that Keuchel appears to be in fine form already. He hasn’t needed much time to shake the rust off and feel comfortable again. It feels like he’s been with the team all season long.
Philadelphia are going to have to be the team to play catch up with the Braves in the second-half. Bryce Harper is hitting .248, which must change for the Phillies to have a chance. Along with Harper, their bullpen has to take strides in the right direction. They’ve blown far too many games and may be in 1st right now if it weren’t for them.
So, consider the slow start by Harper and the gas can bullpen. Improve on those two aspects and the Phillies are going to gain steam. Depending on their bullpen to improve is a tall order. In any case, they did their jobs well yesterday against the Braves. That doesn’t take away from how inconsistent they can be, though.
With respects to Harper, maybe missing out on the All-Star Game will be a motivator to play like an All-Star when it matters most down the stretch. Following an outstanding night for Nola and Keuchel, Nick Pivetta and Bryse Wilson will look to duplicate on Wednesday. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Braves pick.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Phillies are hoping that Nick Pivetta is going to breakout after the All-Star break. They’ve been waiting for Pivetta to show flashes of greatness for a while now, but he’s still in a holding pattern. He had to sit out for just over a month and returned to doing pretty much the same thing. This is his third season in the major leagues, so the Phillies are expecting to see something more from him at this point.
Some guys are just late bloomers, but it doesn’t appear it’s coming in his third season, anyway. Pivetta enters with an ERA of 5.62 and 1.52 WHIP in ten starts. He’s been trending in the wrong direction recently, with a 7.13 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in his previous three outings. Pivetta has allowed at least 4 runs in those three games.
He’s also yielded 10.6 hits and walks, which spans across 17.2 innings of work. One of those games came against the Braves, where he surrendered 8 hits and 4 runs in 6.2 innings. Pivetta also gave up 8 hits and 4 runs back on March 30th in his opener earlier in the year. We should expect to see the Atlanta offense open it up and score a healthy amount of runs after a donut last night.
Bryse Wilson will get another start on Wednesday for the Braves. He made one start a year ago, got bombed with an ERA of 6.43 in 7 innings. That also included two appearances out of the bullpen. Wilson is getting another opportunity in the big leagues because of Mike Foltynewicz.
Folty has been hot garbage a year after he had a coming out party. He’s been bad enough to afford him a trip to the minors and the Braves experiment with Wilson, who has failed thus far. Wilson owns an ERA of 8.31 and 1.85 WHIP in 8.2 innings of work. He’s made an appearance out of the bullpen for an inning, and pitched 7.2 innings as a starter this year. As a starting pitcher, Wilson surrendered 8 runs in 7.2 innings. Neither offense was having much fun yesterday, but things should change course in this one. Look for more runs to put this matchup OVER the total Wednesday.