The National League wildcard race is the talk of the MLB at the moment with seven teams vying for three playoff spots. Ben Steele previews three of best games happening tonight...
The 26-year-old is 3-1 in his five starts against the NL East leaders but has sometimes struggle to contain a potent Atlanta batting lineup, giving up five home runs to Braves hitters this season.
Phillies a good price to upset Atlanta
Philadelphia Phillies @ Atlanta Braves
Thursday 17:10 BST
Mike Soroka and Aaron Nola go to battle in a matchup that could be an enthralling pitchers duel between the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves. Phillies starter Aaron Nola hasn't been quite as dominant this year as he was in 2018, but he has had continued success against the Braves. The 26-year-old is 3-1 in his five starts against the NL East leaders but has sometimes struggle to contain a potent Atlanta batting lineup, giving up five home runs to Braves hitters this season.
In contrast to Nola, Mike Soroka has struggled in his two appearances against Philadelphia this term. The second year star is yet to make it past the fifth inning against the Phillies this term and, with Atlanta already guaranteed a playoff spot, he could be on a short leash again tonight. Look for Nola and the Phillies to pick up a win on the road.
Clevinger too good for Tigers
Detroit Tigers @ Cleveland Indians
Friday 00:10 BST
The Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers have had vastly differing season, Cleveland are chasing a playoff spot while Detroit have already lost over 100 games. Tonight's starter for Cleveland, Mike Clevinger, will expect to earn a crucial win tonight as he continues his strong second half of the season.
In his last start Clevinger lost for the first time since June, and even that was mainly due to a lack of run support from his batting lineup, the talented righty gave up just two runs to the Minnesota Twins in the loss. With their pitcher in good form and with Detroit starting Jordan Zimmerman (1-11) I expect the Tribe to earn a comfortable win.
Friendly schedule will help Arizona
St Louis Cardinals @ Chicago Cubs
Friday 00:15 BST
An absolutely crucial National League series starts tonight in Chicago as the Cubs host the St Louis Cardinals. Going in to the four game series St Louis are three game ahead of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Brewers, in the NL Central title race. The Cubs will be know that this series is key for their playoffs hopes but will be confident of a win in familiar surroundings. Only the Dodgers, Yankees and Astros have won more home games this season than the Cubs and given the recent success of their batting lineup, Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty will have his hands full.
Joe Maddon's Cubs scored 47 runs in a three game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates over the weekend and Flaherty, coming off a loss in his last start, will need to be at his best, particularly as his opposite number has a perfect 3-0 record against the Cards this term. Look for a tight fought Chicago win to kick off the series.