Expect a low scoring affair in Atlanta as the Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies in what should be an excellent pitching duel.
Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee has put together a standout season. He’s 14-7 with a 2.93 ERA. Against the Braves this year, he’s thrown some of his best baseball. In four previous starts against Atlanta, Lee is 3-1 with a 2.63 ERA.
Braves starter Kris Medlen began the season shaky but has rounded into form in the second half. Since the All Star Game, Medlen is 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA (before then he was 6-9 with a 3.64 ERA).
While his overall performance against the Phillies isn’t great (5.01 ERA), nearly all of his struggles happened before the All Star break. In his most recent outing versus Philadelphia (on August 13), he went seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits.
Beyond the pitchers, both these teams, in general, have seen better offensive days. For the season, the Phillies rank 11th (out of fifteen National League teams) in terms of runs scored per game in 2013. As for the Braves, they were one of the best hitting teams in baseball early in the season, but as of late, the offence has stalled.
In their three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, just preceding the Phillies coming to town, Atlanta was shut out twice and mustered only three runs in the other game. Look for the cumulative run total in this contest to be below 6.5 runs and take it at 1.85.
The Detroit Tigers will earn a win at the Miami Marlins behind the resurgent pitching of Rick Porcello.
The Tigers’ starter has been one of the weak links in the pitching rotation this season. His ERA got as high as 5.27 at one point this year. But, recently, Porcello has found a way to regain the attributes that has made him a pitcher considered so promising by scouts.
In his past three starts, Porcello has given up just four runs in 21 2/3 innings pitched. He’s also struck out 24 in that stretch. Part of the secret to that current success has been Detroit management lining up Porcello against subpar clubs (he faced the White Sox twice and the Mariners once in those three games). A game against the weak Marlins should suit Porcello equally well.
With the Marlin’s easily sporting the worst offence in terms of runs scored per game in the NL, it probably wouldn’t matter who was on the mound for the Marlins. But the fact it’s Tom Koehler doesn’t help matters. Koehler is 4-10 with a 4.45 ERA.
In his last home start, he was pounded for four runs on eight hits in five innings of work. Pick the Tigers, on here at 1.58 to win.
Back under 6.5 runs between the Braves and Phillies at 1.85
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