Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 11:45 AM EST and are subject to change.
Philadelphia +150 over Atlanta
7:20 PM EST. We backed the Phillies yesterday, but ripped up our tickets after the Braves posted two runs in the bottom of the ninth for a 6-5 win. Despite the loss, we are going to come right back on Philadelphia here, as they send a talented young lefty to the mound.
Ranger Suarez (LHP - PHI) has been on our radar for a couple of seasons. Suarez had his breakout season in 2021, posting a solid 1.36 ERA that was backed by a tidy xERA of 2.60. Perhaps most impressive was Suarez’s uber elite groundball rate of 59.2% across 106 innings. Here in 2022, Suarez is still dealing. His groundball rate is down, but still elite at 50.4%. Suarez has yet to reach his full potential, which is pretty impressive considering he’s racked up a 4-2 record here in 2022. While pitcher wins are really team wins, these Phillies appear to play with confidence when Suarez is on the mound.
There isn’t much these Atlanta hitters won’t swing at, as the Braves are the second most free swinging team in the majors. Only the Diamondbacks (420) post more strikeouts at the plate than the Braves (419). If you’re looking for a reason the Braves have not regained their World Series form, those strikeouts are not helping. Atlanta was 11th in total punchouts last season. Not elite, but better than almost dead last. Moreover, the Braves are struggling against lefties this season, which figures to bode well for us today. Atlanta is batting just .212, which ranks just 24th in MLB. With that low average comes struggles in Slugging Percentage (ranked 21st, at .347) and OPS, also 21st, at .654. This is a heavy price to pay for a team that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time with a left handed pitcher on the mound.
For a while there, Charlie Morton (RHP - ATL) seemed to be aging like a fine wine. He found his greatest success late in his career after winning World Series rings in Houston (2017) and Atlanta (2021), while also going to the championship with the Rays in 2020. Now one could argue that Morton benefited greatly from the Garbage Pail Kids scandal, but we’ll leave that for another day. Here in 2022, at near 39, Morton has finally seen his skills decline. His K-rate is down 2.14 K/9 per game (8.33), while his walk rate has inflated by 1.47 BB/9 to 4.28. Perhaps most concerning is Morton’s groundball rate, which has dropped from a solid 47.8% to a paltry 34.2%. The signs of decline are clear as day. Morton is still priced like he is the “ace” on a World Series winner. We’re going to be looking to fade Morton when he’s spotting such inflated prices and we’ll put that to the test here.
Philadelphia +150 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.00)