Best MLB prop bet for today, 9/13: Strider strikeouts and Atlanta runs

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (65) reacts after an out against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning at Truist Park.
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A full 15-game slate is on tap in MLB this Wednesday, and there are numerous important matchups with playoff implications. Among those marquee games is the conclusion of the series between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies. With 43 runs scored between the teams in the first 3 games of the series, the entertainment factor in this game should be high. Let’s dive in, but make sure you check out our MLB picks for every matchup today.

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Spencer Strider over 6.5 strikeouts + Atlanta Braves over 3.5 runs (-120)

Odds available at DraftKings and BetMGM sportsbooks at time of publishing. Playable to -130 odds.

The Phillies and Braves have put together one of this year’s more entertaining series in the last few days, with all 3 games coming down to the wire in high-scoring affairs. No fewer than 12 runs have been scored in each game as these red-hot offenses have collided at the right time. Once this series ends each team will play a series against another team before reuniting for another 3-game set, this time in Atlanta. Tonight’s game will feature a starting pitching matchup between Spencer Strider and Christopher Sanchez. While I lean towards the Braves winning the game, I would rather stay away from the ML in this matchup and instead focus on 2 aspects of the team that have been very consistent this season.

Strider leads all of baseball with 250 strikeouts on the season, 33 more than Kevin Gausman who is next closest on the list. The right-handed flamethrower has recorded 7 or more strikeouts in 24 of his 28 starts this season while amassing 8 or more in 23 of those outings. His regular strikeout total for this matchup is set at 8.5, a number he has surpassed in 20 of his 28 starts. Strider leads all qualified pitchers with a 19.5% swinging strike rate, a mark ranking 4.4% higher than Blake Snell’s 2nd-place number. Opponents swing at his pitches inside the zone at the 8th highest rate on that list, and yet connect at just a 76.4% clip, the lowest rate. He pulls opponents out of the zone for chases in the 95th percentile, and his whiff rate sits in the 99th percentile. Against Philadelphia this season, Strider has pitched 6 innings with 9 strikeouts in both of his starts, while his offense has produced 4 and 11 runs in those games. Active Philadelphia batters have a 36.0% K% against Strider all time, while posting a .184 AVG and .554 OPS.

That offense will matchup against Christopher Sanchez today. The left-hander has been a solid piece of the Phillies rotation this year but has been kept on a short leash with under 80 pitches per start on average. This has resulted in some short outings, and he typically doesn’t work much more than 5 innings. Sanchez is a 3-pitch pitcher with his sinker leading the way at a 47.4% usage rate. Against left-handed batters that skyrockets to 76.2%, becoming far more predictable. Atlanta’s lineup happens to feature Matt Olson and his 51 home runs from the left side. The rest of the lineup will presumably be right-handed, playing into Sanchez’s far worse split. Against left-handed pitching in the last 30 days, the Braves rank 2nd in SLG, 3rd in wOBA and 6th in AVG with a 132 wRC+.

Behind Sanchez is a typically solid Phillies bullpen, but their unit has not been sharp in this series, and they are also now heavily taxed thanks to the close extra-inning games. Among their bullpen pieces, 5 of their better ones have already been used 2 times in the last 3 days, leaving them either overworked or unavailable in this game. Atlanta’s offense also gets all 9 innings locked in to bat regardless of the score as they are on the road for this matchup. Citizen’s Bank Park is also a plus-hitting environment that the Braves have become fond of. Atlanta has scored 4 or more runs in 45 of 56 games since the all-star break, including 18 of their last 20.

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