Normally in any Sport during the Playoffs, if the Home team loses Game 1, they were the better team going in and now are facing a very tough task to win that Series with a Game 2 second loss. The Braves are in a tough spot Friday Night, Game 2, as they will be facing maybe the Best Pitcher in Baseball for the past two month, Cards Jack Flaherty. It was clear to see even if you missed betting him one time in August, by September it was time to jump on the Money Making Wagon and bet him every start. He was in “rare air” of pitching brilliance as nobody could hit anything he threw to the plate. It reminded me of the Orel Hershiser days when he went months without getting hit. 

For the entire season Flaherty was fantastic, even though his record doesn’t show it (11-8). He just missed reaching the 200 innings pitched mark, (2.75 ERA), had 231 K’s and allowed opposing hitters to bat a measly .192 against him. He was a tad better at Home, with a (2.36) than on the Road, (3.13).  His ERA pitching in Day games was (1.48) and today he gets the benefit of the bad sun changing light/shadows the hitters face at Sun Trust Park, (or face at any park at this time start) due to the early start. 

Flaherty was nasty to Righties (.182 batting avg against), but rock solid vs lefties too (.202). His August ERA was (0.71), and his September ERA was (0.82). He had 100 K’s in those two months combined, with only 17 walks. His batting average allowed to opposing hitters was an incredible (.118). He started twice this season vs. the Braves and went a combined (12) innings, allowed (6) hits, (3) earned runs and no homers and a (.158) batting average. He was making some hitters look like A Ball guys as he was working every pitch he had to near perfection.

Now due to the fact the Braves Bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead, the Braves will need to somehow figure him out and hope their own Pitching staff can stifle a good Cards lineup, in what likely will be a lower scoring game then Game 1, a game that was actually low scoring til all Hell broke loose in the last two inning making it look like it was a slug fest type game.

Coming into this Series these two teams were about as dead even across the board as you could get and I would expect all the remaining games to be close too. Hard though to take the “zig zag” theory of simply betting a very good team, at Home, down the first game in a short 5 game Series, but this is the time I’d say don’t try it. Flaherty has just been too good to bet against and I’d be shocked if he throws a clunker here today in Atlanta.

VEGAS BETTING ODDS:  ST. LOUIS CARDS (-110 to -115 range) vs. Atlanta Braves ~ Game 2 ~ TOTAL (8 1/2 RUNS)

Enjoy the game, unless you are a Braves fan, as then you likely will be a nervous wreck the entire game trying to beat possibly the Best Pitcher in MLB the past few months.


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