Thursday’s Tip Sheet

Phillies at Braves – 7:20 PM EST

The top two teams in the National League East finish up their three-game series at SunTrust Park this evening after splitting the first two contests. Philadelphia (45-41) blanked Atlanta in the series opener on Monday, 2-0 behind Aaron Nola’s eight-inning scoreless gem to improve to 6-2 in the previous eight games.

However, Atlanta (51-36) rebounded last night by pounding Philadelphia, 9-2 as -135 favorites behind a six-run sixth inning. Austin Riley and Matt Joyce each went deep in that sixth inning explosion to help right-hander Bryse Wilson pick up his first win of the season. The Braves have won three of the past five matchups with the Phillies since getting swept at Citizens Bank Park to begin the season.

The Braves send out right-hander Mike Soroka (9-1, 2.13 ERA), who has been the anchor of the Atlanta rotation this season. Atlanta has won six consecutive starts made by Soroka since the start of June, including the last two on the road against division opponents. Soroka lasted only two innings in a 4-3 win at Washington on June 23 as the Alberta native exited with a right forearm contusion.

Soroka rebounded in his next start against the Mets last Friday night opposite Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom by tossing 6.1 innings and allowing two runs in a 6-2 victory. The Braves cashed as a +130 underdog, while Atlanta improved to 6-2 in Soroka’s eight road starts. Soroka has not faced the Phillies this season, as the Braves are riding a six-game winning streak in his past six starts at SunTrust Park.

Zach Eflin (7-7, 3.34 ERA) has produced a victory only twice in his last eight starts for the Phillies, although the right-hander has compiled five quality outings in this span. Elfin was on track for a win his previous start at Miami last Saturday as the Phillies built a 6-1 advantage through five innings. However, the Marlins outscored the Phillies, 8-0 in the final four innings as the Philadelphia bullpen couldn’t hold on by allowing six runs.

Eflin has pitched at least six innings in four of the last five starts, but the Phillies are 0-4 in his previous four outings away from Citizens Bank Park. The Orlando native hasn’t seen the Braves this season, but Eflin did beat Atlanta in his most recent meeting back in August of 2017 as a +155 underdog, 5-2. The Phillies have lost four of their past six road series finales, including a 15-1 drubbing at Atlanta back on June 16.

Angels at Rangers – 8:05 PM EST

Los Angeles (44-43) received the tragic news on Monday afternoon that starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs passed away in his hotel room at the age of 27. The Angels have stepped up for their fallen teammate in their first two games in Arlington with a pair of victories over Texas (46-40). Los Angeles won the series opener on Tuesday, 9-4 as a +125 underdog, assisted by six unanswered runs in the fifth and sixth innings after trailing, 2-1.

The Halos dropped a four-spot in the third inning of Wednesday’s 6-2 triumph as star center fielder Mike Trout drilled a pair of home runs. The Angels’ bullpen tossed four perfect innings following Jaime Barria’s five-inning effort in which the right-hander struck out eight batters for his third win of the season. The Rangers captured four straight meetings with the Angels in mid-April and early May before the Angels have run off four consecutive wins over their division rivals.

The Rangers had a six-game winning streak snapped last Saturday at Tampa Bay as Texas is currently on a four-game slide. Lance Lynn (10-4, 4.00 ERA) is putting together a solid campaign in his first season with the Rangers, fresh off three consecutive victories. The right-hander has compiled quality starts in nine of his past 10 trips to the mound, including tossing eight scoreless innings and striking out 10 batters in a 5-0 shutout of the Rays last Friday. Lynn defeated the Angels in his last matchup with them on April 17 by a 5-4 score as the Rangers look to improve on a 7-1 home record with the former Ole Miss product on the hill.

Griffin Canning (3-4, 3.79 ERA) snapped a two-start skid in his previous start as the Angels’ right-hander allowed two runs in six innings of an 8-3 rout of Oakland last Thursday. The Angels have lost three of Canning’s four last five road starts, while receiving a no-decision against the Rangers as a -160 home favorite in a 4-3 defeat on May 24. Canning scattered three hits and one run in five innings as he left the game with a 3-1 advantage before the Rangers rallied for three runs.

Padres at Dodgers – 9:10 PM EST

San Diego (42-44) has been the ultimate roller-coaster team of Major League Baseball this season. The Padres have no doubt improved with the signing of All-Star Manny Machado in the offseason, but consistency has been San Diego’s biggest issue. In late June, the Padres pulled off a three-game home sweep of the NL Central-leading Brewers, followed by dropping all three contests at Pittsburgh.

Most recently, the Padres took care of the Cardinals in the first two games of their series at Petco Park last weekend before squandering a 3-0 lead in an extra-innings defeat in the Sunday matchup. San Diego then laid an egg in three home losses to a surging San Francisco squad, as the Giants dropped 30 runs for a three-game sweep of their division rivals.

Things won’t get easier this weekend for the Padres, who take the short trip to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers (59-29), who are knocking on the door of win number 60 this evening. The Dodgers pulled off a sweep of a two-game set of the Diamondbacks last night with a 5-4 triumph for the second consecutive night. L.A. tied the game at 4-4 with a run in the ninth inning before walking it off in the 10th inning on Cody Bellinger’s second home run of the night.

Although Clayton Kershaw is the ace of the Dodgers’ staff, fellow left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (9-2, 1.83 ERA) has turned into a terrific second option by putting together a career season. Ryu went through a nine-start stretch by allowing four earned runs before getting tagged for seven earned runs in four innings of a 13-9 setback at Colorado his last time out. The Dodgers are unbeaten in Ryu’s eight home starts this season, while the southpaw owns a miniscule 0.94 ERA at Chavez Ravine.

The Padres will counter with right-hander Dinelson Lamet, who makes his first start of the season. Lamet returns from Tommy John surgery after missing all of 2018 for San Diego. The Dominican Republic native closed out 2017 without a victory in his final seven starts, while posting a 7-8 record and 4.57 ERA that season. Lamet struck out 10 batters in six innings of a 1-0 defeat to the Dodgers at Petco Park on September 1, 2017, but gave up four runs in five innings of a 9-2 setback at Dodger Stadium in his final start of that season.

The Dodgers have won four of the first five meetings with the Padres this season, while Los Angeles owns a 9-2 record in its past 11 home matchups with San Diego since the start of 2018.

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