The Philadelphia Phillies welcomed Ryan Howard back to
their lineup Friday night, although he couldn't help them get a victory. Can
Philly and Howard find a winning track when they finish up a series with the
Atlanta Braves Saturday and Sunday?
Braves vs. Phillies:
Atlanta took the opener of this series Friday night 5-0,
breaking open a scoreless tie with five runs in the eighth inning, four on a
grand slammy by Brian McCann. The Braves won as -115 road favorites on the MLB
betting line, and the game played UNDER its total of nine.
Howard, in his first action this season coming back from
that Achilles injury, doubled in his first at-bat and later added a single to
finish 2-for-4 on the night.
So Atlanta, at 44-39, sits in third place in the NL East,
five games behind the first-place Nationals, while Philly, losers of eight of
its last nine and at 37-48, is in last place, 13 games out of first.
The Phillies are now just 17-25 at home this season, while
the Braves are 24-17 on the road.
Sunday's Pitching Matchup
Vance Worley (4-5, 3.46) will go Sunday for the Phillies against Jair Jurrjens (2-2, 5.19) for Atlanta.
Worley is seven-for-13 on quality starts this season, but Philly is only 5-8 in games he's started. His last time out Worley got clipped for six runs on 10 hits in four innings vs. the Mets Tuesday night, and over his last three starts he's given up 11 runs in 17 innings. On the season Worley has allowed 78 hits and walked 26 in 78 innings.
Last year, Worley made one start and two relief appearances vs. the Braves, allowing two ER on nine hits in eight innings.
Jurrjens is just one-for-seven in quality starts this year, mainly because he's only reached the sixth inning one time. Most recently he gave up three unearned runs on nine hits in five innings vs the Cubs Tuesday night, and since coming back from a stint in the minors he's allowed just three ER in 18 1/3 innings.
However, on the season Jurrjens has given up 48 hits and walked 14 in 35 innings.
Last year, when he was going really good, Jurrjens started twice against the Phillies and held them to three ER 13 2/3 innings. The Braves won both those games.
Free MLB Pick for Sunday
We've been a fan of Worley's for a season-plus now, but we don't like his recent performances. So, we'll go with Atlanta again for Sunday's free MLB pick.
Joe Blanton (7-7, 4.85) will make the start Saturday for
Philly (7:10 pm Eastern, Fox) vs. Tommy Hanson (9-5, 3.70) for Atlanta.
Blanton is just six-for-16 in quality starts this year,
although the Phillies are 9-7 in his starts. His last time out Blanton gave up
three earned runs on six hits in six innings vs. the Marlins last Sunday, and
just before that he held the Pirates to two ER in seven innings. But, on the
year Blanton has allowed 115 hits, including 19 homers, in 104 innings.
However, Blanton's best start of this season came against
Atlanta, back in early May, when he threw a three-hit shutout at Turner Field.
Hanson, meanwhile, is only seven-for-17 in quality starts
this year, but the Braves are 11-6 in games he's started. Most recently Hanson
gave up four runs in seven innings vs. the Cubs, and over his last three starts
he's allowed 10 runs in 18 1/3 innings. On the season, Hanson has given up 96
hits, including 16 dingers, in 100 innings.
Hanson has one start this year vs. Philly, and gave up four
ER on eight hits in less than four innings.
Lines and Trends
As of Saturday AM Matchbook.com is listing the Braves as
-105 favorites for Saturday's game, with Philly getting +103.
The run line is all over the place on Saturday's game. The
Phillies can be gotten at +200 giving the run and a half at 5Dimes, while
Atlanta can be had at +145 giving the 1.5 runs at BetOnline.
And most baseball books are listing the total on Saturday's
game at nine.
Early betting action on Saturday's game has seen about 57
percent of play on the side come in on Atlanta, and nearly 60 percent of play
on the total has come in on the 'under.'
These teams have met four times this season, and three of
those games stayed 'under' on the totals.
Free MLB Pick for
We don't like running with the betting crowd, but we like
the Braves for Saturday's free MLB pick.