After a slow start, Atlanta pitcher Charlie Morton has returned to good form, and he’s on the mound Wednesday as the Braves host the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies in Game 3 of their four-game set. Atlanta is a short favorite on the MLB odds.
How to Bet Phillies at Braves MLB Odds & TV Info
- When: Wednesday, 7:20 PM ET
- Where: Truist Park
- Probable pitchers (away/home): Ranger Suarez/Charlie Morton
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
- Opening MLB Lines: Phillies -135, Braves +125 (total 8.5)
Why Bet on Philadelphia?
The Phillies have been successful in 27 of their 30 stolen base attempts this year and their 90.0% success rate ranks 2nd in MLB behind. In 38 career games at Truist Park, Bryce Harper has posted a .925 OPS in 164 plate appearances with 28 runs, 6 doubles, 11 home runs, 28 RBI and 29 walks.
The Phils remain without shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is on the injured list retroactive to May 5 with a left knee sprain. Gregorius, who also dealt with a hand issue in late April, has gotten off to a nice start offensively this season, hitting .288/.338/.356 across 65 plate appearances. Not clear when he may return.
It’s lefty Ranger Suarez (4-2) on the mound for the Phils. Suarez was pulled after surrendering three runs in three innings last Friday against the Dodgers. Suarez worked a scoreless third after giving up a run in the first and two in the second, but since he was already up to 84 pitches after getting nine outs, the Phillies made the change.
Suarez was missing bats at a better clip than usual, with 11 swings and misses on 84 pitches. And he allowed just two hard-hit balls with an average exit velocity of just 87.9 mph. With the Phillies’ shaky defense and the lack of strikeout stuff, Suarez is going to be at risk of having these types of days even when his stuff isn’t that bad, especially against good offenses like the Dodgers.
Suarez has seen his numbers take a big step backward so far in 2022. He’s posted a 4.12 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and 19.0 percent strikeout rate through 39.1 innings. He’s also walking more and striking out fewer batters than last season, a 2.8 BB/9 has increased to 3.9, while a 9.1 K/9 has decreased to 5.8. Suarez has averaged 18.1 pitches per inning this season. The only qualifying pitcher in either league averaging more is Cincinnati’s Tyler Mahle (19.1)
Suarez’s poor start begs the question: have the Phillies put too much faith in him following his stellar 2021? The 26-year-old’s stellar numbers were inflated by his bout in the bullpen during the first-half of last season, in which he posted a 1.12 ERA in 40.1 innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 career innings vs. Atlanta.
Why Bet on Atlanta?
The Braves hitters lead the National League with an average exit velocity of 89.4 mph. Marcell Ozuna is one off the NL lead off Milwaukee’s Rowdy Tellez with 17 barrels. Atlanta pitchers have allowed an average exit velocity of 88.1 mph, seventh best in baseball.
The Braves have compiled a .391 slugging percentage this season, 14th best in baseball. The Braves expected slugging percentage, based on exit velocity and launch angle, is .421 however, which is fifth best in baseball and second highest in the N.L. Atlanta leads all of baseball in expected home run percentage (3.9%).
It’s veteran right-hander Charlie Morton (3-3) on the mound. Morton yielded three runs in 5 1/3 innings for the win last Friday as the Braves topped the Marlins 5-3. Morton allowed one run in five innings before giving up a two-run blast to Jorge Soler in the sixth. Still, it was enough to get Morton his third win on the season. Over his last three outings he sports a 2.20 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 19:5 K:BB through 16.1 innings to lower his ERA To 4.95 on the year.
After a tremendous 2021 season, which ended when he fractured his right fibula in Game 1 of the World Series, Morton pitched to a 6.85 ERA through five starts this year but has been a different guy in the past three. Now, Morton admits it may have taken him a little extra time to confidently drive through his delivery with his legs again.
His chase rate – which is the proportion of pitches outside the strike zone at which a batter swings – is 19.8% this season, according to Baseball Savant. That is a sizable drop from 27.7% last year. His career high in this area came in 2020, when he had a 31.5% chase rate. When Morton struggled, a lot of focus was placed on the fact he wasn’t missing bats as frequently as he had in the past. Morton began to believe this may have been a product of opponents not chasing pitches out of the zone as frequently as they previously had.
“We all know that what he’s capable of doing leads to good results more often than not,” shortstop Dansby Swanson said.
Morton is 5-5 with a 4.53 ERA in 12 career starts vs. the Phillies.
- Phillies are 6-15 in their last 21 vs. National League East.
- Phillies are 4-1 in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
- Phillies are 4-1 in their last 5 Wednesday games.
- Braves are 5-2 in their last 7 home games vs. a left-handed starter.
- Braves are 2-5 in their last 7 Wednesday games.
Expert Prediction: Braves 4, Phillies 3
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