Very few pitchers undergo Tommy John two surgeries and return on the mound, and even less manage to pitch as well as Ben Sheets. He returned to his winning ways faster than anyone could predict and he looks poised to hand the Phillies a rare defeat, given the fact that Atlanta has a terrible record against Philadelphia. Facing Vance Worley doesn’t increase their chances and the Braves will need to play their A-game to stand a chance at Citizens Park.
Bet: Philadelphia Phillies
Odds: bet365 2.05
Last year Atlanta missed the playoffs due to a couple of winless matches against Philadelphia, but this season they are regarded as favorites in the series. The Phillies have the home page advantage and a tradition to win against Atlanta, but they are tied for the last place in the East division. 13 victories separates them from the Braves who have to overcome a three-game deficit of their own to tie Washington for the lead.
Ryan Howard returns for a victory
Following an impressive winning streak, Atlanta suffered a surprising defeat at home against the major league’s worst Houston, but eventually won the series. Their mission is far more complicated this week when the Phillies are coming after back-to-back victories and have one of their best pitchers on the mound. Worley won six of his 12 decisions and unlikely as it might seem, he didn’t receive enough runs of support from a team that allegedly has the best batting staff in MLB.
He might be more fortunate tonight when Ryan Howard returns following a sting on the disabled list and the slugger had an extraordinary performance against Atlanta’s starters. Sheets is a formidable opponent but given his health condition, it is hard to believe that he would last more than six innings at the Citizens Park. If the hosts managed to inflict enough pressure and play aggressively against him, the visitors will choose to retire him early. The first few innings are very important for Philadelphia, because they need to build a comfortable lead since they don’t have the better bullpen.
It is difficult to go against a starting pitcher who has three victories and just one defeat this season and an ERA of only 1.46. Nevertheless, this is the risk worth taking because Sheets lacks the stamina to pitch a full game and the longer he spends on the mound, the less accurate his pitches will be. Philadelphia is an amazing team that goes through a terrible period, but it is still an opponent to be reckoned with and I prefer to back the hosts when Bet365 presents odds as high as 2.05.