Is it too late for the Philadelphia Phillies to make a
run at a playoff spot? After struggling all season without their two big
left-handed boppers Philly has suddenly found a little life with their return.
The Phillies will try to continue with their recent winning
ways when they head into Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves
starting Friday night.
Saturday's Pitching Matchup
Mike Minor (5-7, 5.49) will go for the Braves Saturday vs. Joe Blanton (8-8, 4.70) for Philly.
Minor has only six quality starts this year out of 18 tries, but he's working off three QS in a row. Most recently he held the Marlins to two runs through seven innings, and over those last three starts he's given up five ER over 19 1/3 innings.
Still, on the year he's allowed 100 hits, including 21 dingers, and 42 walks in 105 innings.
This will be Minor's first start against the Phillies since 2010.
Blanton is only 8-for-19 on quality starts this year, although the Phillies have managed to win 11 of his starts. Blanton is working off back-to-back quality outings, having held the Dodgers and Giants to five ER over his last 16 innings. Still, on the season, he's allowed 137 hits, including 22 homers, in 126 innings.
Blanton is 1-1 against Atlanta this year. In the first game he threw a three-hit shut-out, but in the second game he got clipped for five ER on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Free MLB Pick for Saturday
We're not sure who's going to win Saturday, but we're definitely leaning toward the OVER on the total.
Review Friday's Pick
Setting the Scene
The Phillies have won four games in a row and eight of their
last 11, after sweeping three games from Milwaukee this week by identical
scores of 7-6, rallying late for each victory.
So Philly, at 45-54, sits 9.5 games out of that second NL
Wild-Card spot, with 63 games to go.
Atlanta, meanwhile, just took two of three games in Miami to
complete a 4-3 road trip. So the Braves, at 54-44, trail first-place Washington
by five games in the NL East, but they also own one of the two NL Wild-Card
Atlanta will throw reclamation project Ben Sheets (2-0,
0.00) for Friday night's series opener against Cole Hamels (11-4, 3.23) for
The Braves can't ask for much more out of Sheets so far,
after they signed him earlier this month. Sheets hadn't pitched in the Majors
in almost two years, having had elbow surgery, but through his first two starts
for Atlanta he's thrown 12 innings of shut-out ball, allowing just seven hits.
In his first start he held the Mets scoreless on two hits, and in his second
start a week ago he held the Nationals to nothing on five hits.
Sheets, as you might expect, has no recent record pitching
Hamels, meanwhile, is 12-for-19 on quality starts this
season, and the Phillies are 12-7 in games he's started. But Philly has only
won one of Hamels' last five starts. Most recently Hamels gave up five runs on
10 hits, including three homers, through 7 2/3 innings vs. the Giants last
This will be Hamels' first start since signing his new
In his only start this year vs. Atlanta Hamels allowed two
runs on six hits through six innings of a 4-2 Phillies victory.
Friday's Betting Odds
As of Friday's morning most online sportsbooks are listing
Friday night's game at right around a pick 'em, with an 'over/under' of 7.5.
Philadelphia is a lopsided 60-36 on the 'over/unders' this
season, and the totals have gone 12-7 in Hamels' starts.
Also, Bovada is listing the Braves as -125 favorites to win
this series, with Philly “getting” -105 as the underdog.
Friday's Free MLB
The linesmakers seem to have this one pegged about right, at
a pick 'em, because we can't see much difference in the matchup. But Atlanta,
which is 10 games above .500 overall, is just 16-21 vs. left-handed starting
pitchers. So we'll go with Hamels and the Phillies for Friday night.