Atlanta Braves' Charlie Morton
Atlanta Braves' Charlie Morton pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Phillies vs Braves, Sept. 28

Kyle Barrette

This is the series that will ultimately decide the winner of the NL East. Currently, the Braves hold a 2.5 game lead over the Phillies with a three-game series coming up. All Atlanta has to do is win two of the three to clinch the division. The best outcome for Philly would obviously be a sweep, which would allow them to control their own destiny and would be up a half game heading into their final three games of the season. This series has been close all season long, with the Phillies holding a two game lead in the season series and the over/under sitting at 8-8. Can the Braves win their fourth NL East title in a row? Or will Philadelphia win their first divisional title since 2011?



Atlanta
The Braves have saved some of their best baseball for last this season, coming into the home stretch 7-3 over their last 10 games. Although seven of those games were against the Padres and Diamondbacks. The Phillies are going to be a much bigger challenge than those two teams. To open the series, the Braves are sending Charlie Morton to the hill, a veteran who is no stranger to big time spots. Unfortunately, things have been tough for the Braves in recent games started by Morton. Not to his doing, but the Braves offense has done a disappearing act in a majority of his last 10 starts. Despite only giving up more than three runs one time over his last 10 starts, the Braves have only gone 3-7 over Morton’s last 10. In three starts against the Phillies this season, Morton is 2-1 and has allowed nine runs in which all three games have gone over as far as the total runs. In his most recent start, Morton fanned eight batters and only allowed two runs over six and the Braves cruised to an easy 7-2 win. 

Phillies
This is it Philly fans, one last shot to take down the Braves and steal the NL East. Philly comes in playing good ball as well at 7-3 over their last 10. The Phillies resume looks better on paper than reality as well, as they were able to beat up on the Pirates and the Orioles over their last 10 games. Philly is sending Wheeler to the hill to start this series. The Phillies have gone 19-12 in the veteran right hander’s starts this season and have won his last five. Wheeler is having probably his best season, as he leads the NL in several categories such as total WAR, innings pitched, and strikeouts. Wheeler has faced the Braves three times this season, and it has not been pretty for Atlanta. He has allowed only one run and struck out 30 Atlanta hitters and pitched a combined 22 innings in those three starts that resulted in three Phillies wins and three unders. With numbers like these it’s no wonder that he leads the NL in many categories. 

Phillies vs Braves: The Pick
Round one is going to go to Philadelphia here and that’s where we’re going with our pick. At even money, look for Wheeler to pad his non-human numbers against the Braves and go deep into this game. Morton is no slouch, but he will not be able to match the success or depth that Wheeler is going to be able to show in this one. Phillies will get to the Atlanta bullpen first and have Wheeler backing them into the seventh or beyond. Buckle up, this divisional race is going to get tighter. Take the Phillies on the money line.

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