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Lowe aims to keep Atlanta atop NL Wild Card
By: Nick Bracken - StatFox
Published: 9/27/2011  at  5:53:00 AM
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First pitch: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Philadelphia -110, Atlanta +100, Total: 8

The skidding Braves will need to pull it together for the final two games of the season against division rival Philadelphia. Atlanta is holding a slim one-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Wild Card race with just two games remaining.

Roy Oswalt (8-10, 3.86 ERA) will get the start for the Phillies who look to match a franchise-record with their 101st win of the season. Oswalt has been terrific against the Braves in a Phillies uniform, going 1-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 21 innings against Atlanta. Opposing Oswalt will be veteran right-hander Derek Lowe (9-16, 4.92 ERA). Lowe has had one of his worst years, with an especially dreadful September (0-4, 8.24 ERA, 2.09 WHIP). The Phils have been unbelievable the last two seasons when playing against teams with a winning record in the second half of the year, going a remarkable 59-22 (.728). Philadelphia also has been strong as a favorite of -100 to -150, where it is 43-24. The Braves have a woeful 9-16 record in September, but have played well at home all year (47-32). Despite this strong home record, the Phillies have a huge advantage in the pitching matchup on Tuesday that is not properly reflected in the money line. The pick here is PHILADELPHIA to continue Atlanta’s downward spiral and further damage the Braves chance for a postseason berth.

This pair of FoxSheets trends also side with the Phillies:

ROY OSWALT is 57-17 (77.0%, +32.8 Units) against the money line vs. teams whose hitters strike out 7 or more times/game in the second half of the season since 1997. (Team's Record). The average score was OSWALT 5.4, OPPONENT 3.2 - (Rating = 2*).

PHILADELPHIA is 45-21 (68.2%, +20.6 Units) against the money line on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 over the last 3 seasons. The average score was PHILADELPHIA 5.3, OPPONENT 3.8 - (Rating = 2*).

With Monday night’s 4-2 victory, Philadelphia has won five straight games over the battered Braves by a combined score of 36 to 8. Oswalt is coming off a poor effort Thursday, in which he gave up six runs over 7.2 innings in a 6-1 loss to the Nationals. The right-hander had a solid start against Atlanta back on Sept. 7, when he threw seven innings, allowing only two runs on four hits and struck out seven in a 3-2 victory.

In the past two seasons, Derek Lowe has lost six of his eight starts against Philadelphia, posting a 4.59 ERA over that span. Lowe pitched decent on Wednesday, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings, but suffered his fourth straight loss in a 4-0 defeat in Florida. Atlanta has lost three straight game, batting a miserable .183 those three contests. With St. Louis playing the worst team in the majors, the 56-104 Astros, to finish the season, the Braves know they most likely have to win the final two games of this series to keep playoff hopes alive.

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