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Bryan Leonard | MLB Money Linedouble-dime bet 908 ATL (-124) BetOnline vs 907 PHIAnalysis: PHILADELPHIA @ ATLANTA
It was not a good spring for Roy Halladay. He posted a 6.06 ERA, opposing batters hit .323 off of him, and he completely failed the eye test with scouts and writers. Halladay dealt with a drop in velocity, putting him in the mid-to-high 80s. Until he proves that he can survive with lessened velocity and flatter breaking balls, he should be an easy fade candidate. Halladay, who will turn 36 in May, has nearly 2700 regular season innings of work on his arm and he may just be reaching the end of the line.
The Phillies struggled with lefties last season, going 23-30. Some of the team's top hitters by OPS against southpaws are gone, including Shane Victorino, Carlos Ruiz, Hunter Pence, and Ty Wigginton. Lefty Paul Maholm gets the ball for the Braves. In 11 starts last season with the Braves, he was quite good, striking out over 7.7 batters per nine innings and posted a 3.54 ERA. More importantly, Maholm recognized the need to throw more ground balls in a pretty good hitters' park in Atlanta and posted a well above average ground ball rate of 53.7%. Lefties neutralized Utley and Howard last season and that should go a long way in helping the Braves win.
Add in a pretty good Braves offense and the concerns with Halladay and this line looks like it should be higher than it is.