In the final version of TBS Sunday Baseball betting festivities, the top two teams in the National League meet up in the City of Brotherly Love, as the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves.
The Braves used a great effort from their bullpen to survive an 11 inning duel yesterday here in Philly, and they'll probably end up using the "all hands on deck" strategy to win this one to try to cut that lead in the NL East to just 1.5 games at the season's intermission. Normally speaking, Derek Lowe is a horse for Atlanta, and he typically wins a slew of games. However, this year, he is only 5-6 in spite of the fact that his team is 11-8 in his 19 starts in the first half of the season. The good news for Lowe is that he has won back to back starts, allowing a total of four runs and nine hits in 11.1 innings of work for those two victories. Lowe's ERA of 4.21 is nothing really special, but the truth of the matter is that this is just about on par with what we've come to expect from him over the years. A WHIP of 1.36 is rather average. Atlanta would be helped a lot if it would put up more than the 3.5 runs per game that it has averaged this year with the righty on hte mound.
The Phillies on the other hand, are just trying to make sure that they enter the All Star Break with a good taste in their mouths. They know that they'll have the best record in the league, and they are coming into this game having won 19 of their last 27 overall. The good news is that one of the best southpaws in the league, Cole Hamels is going to be closing out this first half of the season on the bump. The lefty is 10-4 this year and has led the Phillies to 12 wins against just six losses in his 18 starts on the MLB betting lines thus far this year. Hamels, unlike Lowe, is also getting a ton of help from the team around him. The bullpen has been great in particular. Teams are only averaging 2.5 runs per game with Hamels on the mound in 2011, and as a result, 'over' bettors have ha a dreadful time, going just 5-9-4 in his 18 starts. Hamels has allowed two runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts, and he really hasn't had a bad start since the middle of May.
Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies Pick: We tend to think that the Phillies are going to win this MLB betting battle, but we just can't lay this type of chalk in doing so. Atlanta will prove to be victorious with a battling Lowe on the bump at least 40 percent of the time, and that's good enough for us. We'll take the Braves +160 on Sunday.