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Phillies-Braves betting preview: Ranger Suarez and Max Fried meet again

Ranger Suarez and Max Fried face off in a rematch of last Friday night's game. Will the lefties dominate again?

Ranger Suarez, pictured here during an outing vs. the Texas Rangers, will be relied on to give the Phillies a strong outing Thursday night after the team used its bullpen a lot over the last few nights. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Ranger Suarez, pictured here during an outing vs. the Texas Rangers, will be relied on to give the Phillies a strong outing Thursday night after the team used its bullpen a lot over the last few nights. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)Read moreMitchell Leff / Getty Images

Wednesday night’s game set up exactly like we planned. Zack Wheeler was brilliant, and the Philadelphia Phillies got a few chances to get a run and take a lead on Kevin Gausman and the Toronto Blue Jays, even putting a runner at third with less than two outs in the fifth. Our first-half Phillies result (+120) was in sight. Alas, it faded away.

But good news for Phillies fans: the team rallied and won in dramatic, walk-off fashion to keep its wild card lead over Milwaukee and snapped a five-game losing streak in the process.

Now comes another test for the Phillies. The Atlanta Braves arrive Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park to start a four-game series, fresh off a three-game sweep of the Phils in Atlanta last weekend. The pitching matchup is a rematch of Friday night. Here’s how we’re betting Thursday night’s contest. (Odds are courtesy of Caesars and subject to change.)

Phillies vs. Braves odds (Caesars)

Moneyline: Phillies (+122) vs. Braves (-145)

Run line: Phillies +1.5 (-135) vs. Braves -1.5 (+115)

Total: Over 7.5 runs (+100) | Under 7.5 runs (-120)


Over 7.5 (+100)

Phillies vs. Braves probable pitchers and analysis

PHI LHP Ranger Suarez (9-5, 3.53 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) vs. ATL LHP Max Fried (13-6, 2.52 ERA, 1.02 WHIP)

This was the pitching matchup last Friday night down in Georgia, and it delivered — that is if you like good left-handed pitching and low-scoring baseball. It certainly moves fast. And Friday night’s game was cruising. The teams traded solo shots in the middle innings, the Phillies taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a Jean Segura homer.

That score remained until the bottom of the eighth, with Suarez and Fried done for the night. The Braves blasted Phillies reliever Seranthony Dominguez, who gave up five runs on three hits — including a Ronald Acuña Jr. two-run shot — while issuing two walks and recording just two outs.

Atlanta went on to win 7-2, the second of what ended up being five consecutive losses for the Phillies.

Let’s run it back Thursday night.

» READ MORE: Even after losing streak, playoff odds remain in Phillies' favor

The total for Thursday night’s game was dealing at eight runs at multiple books Wednesday night, but moved to 7.5 by Thursday morning. Suarez and Fried are having great seasons for their respective teams, and they exited last Friday’s game in Atlanta having allowed a combined three runs through six innings. Suarez allowed just two hits and the Phillies mustered only four off of Fried, who has been really good for the Braves over the last few seasons.

Seems like under 7.5 runs would be a smart play, right? Maybe, but let’s look at what’s working against that thought.

Suarez, who has been a critical component of Philadelphia’s rotation, has pitched more than six innings only once in his last five starts. In 25 innings over that stretch, he’s allowed 17 runs (13 earned) on 24 hits while walking a dozen hitters. It’s a small sample size, of course, but that 1.44 WHIP over that stretch is higher than his season average.

What’s most worrisome for the Phillies heading into Thursday night is that they need innings out of Suarez, and he’s never thrown this many total innings in a professional season. The Phillies used seven pitchers Wednesday night after sending six (though one was a position player) to the mound Tuesday night. Philadelphia’s bullpen, being worn down, has a 4.29 ERA, good for ninth-worst in the league.

Atlanta, with the likes of right-handed hitters Acuña Jr., Dansby Swanson, Austin Riley and William Contreras, have crushed left-handed pitching (.784 OPS vs. .755 vs RHP). Thursday night marks the fifth time the Braves are seeing Suarez, who has allowed 13 runs (10 earned) in 22 innings vs. Atlanta (4.09 ERA). He has, at times, held the Braves’ lineup in check. And he could again Thursday, but then you’re relying on a beat-up bullpen to get through the rest of the game.

All of this goes without mentioning Fried, who has a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings (three starts) vs. the Phillies this season. Despite having powerful lefties like Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber, the Phillies have actually been better against left-handed pitchers than righties (.779 OPS vs. .729).

It’s kind of a contrarian spot, but even money on the over Thursday night is too good of a price to pass up with a battered Phillies bullpen and this Atlanta lineup.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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