In Friday’s Phillies Betting Preview, I thought that Philly would have its way with National pitcher Josiah Gray. It was the other way around as Gray pitched six innings and only gave up one earned run while striking out eight. The Phillies wasted a fantastic Cristopher Sanchez outing. Washington took the first game of the series 2-1.
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Nationals (+195) vs. Phillies (-225) O/U 9.5
These two National League East rivals meet for the proverbial “rubber match” today, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m. After yesterday’s demolition, Washington finds itself in 5th place, 22 games back with a 33-49 mark, while Philadelphia is in 3rd position, with a record 44-38, and 11 games behind the division-leading Braves.
Nationals Pitching and Batting
The Nats roll out RHP Trevor Williams (4-4 4.28) to face a Phillies offense that is starting to find its stride, which has to terrify Williams to no end. In his career against the Phils, Williams is 0-3 with a 5.22 ERA in seven appearances, five of those starts. One Sabermetric that jumps out is his BABIP of .264 against the Phillies, meaning that he has been lucky his stats aren’t much worse, as the average BABIP is around .300.
In his last five starts, one of which includes getting roughed up by the Phillies a month ago, Williams has been shaky at best. You know you’re having a rough season when a 5.04 over a 5-game stretch actually lowers your season total. His WHIP is 1.68 and that sounds like a recipe for runs.
The Nats’ offense, for the season and over the last 10 games, hasn’t been giving opposing pitchers nightmares before their games. The Phillies’ 19 runs they scored yesterday is almost exactly half of the 40 Washington…in the last 10 games!! As a team, they’re batting .259 over that period, but their power numbers have just been flat, with only a .736 OPS. The four runs per game they were averaging aren’t going to win many contests when the pitching staff’s ERA is 5.06. Yet somehow they still managed to go 6-4, which is about the most impressive thing regarding the Nationals.
Phillies Pitching and Batting
The Phillies counter with LHP Ranger Suarez (2-2 3.18). Suarez has been nothing short of spectacular in his last five starts, allowing just four earned runs in 33.1 innings for a 1.08 ERA. In that span, his WHIP is .961, his K/9 is 9.0. 91.8% of the runners that have reached base have been stranded there. While his record is only 2-0, Suarez’s stats put him in the Top 3 pitchers for the month of June.
One of the reasons why Suarez only notched two victories last month is an anemic Phillies offense. Over their last 10 games, which saw them go 6-4, they’ve been averaging 5.3 runs per game. However, if you take away last night’s 19-run upheaval, that number plummets to 3.8 runs/game. As good as Philadelphia’s pitching has been, that kind of paltry offensive output isn’t satisfactory.
However, they do seem to be trending in the right direction. In the 3-game sweep of the Cubs, they scored 16 runs against a Cubs pitching staff that has a 3.95 ERA. [OVER 4.5 Ks -145]
-230 is a big price to pay for a team whose offense is as inconsistent as the Phillies. However, they have won their last five games when -200 or better, including yesterday. I’m not inclined to buck that trend just yet. The other bet I’m looking at is Suarez’s strikeout total of 4.5 for a price of -145. I realize that Washington is the best team at not striking out, however, Suarez is pitching on another level. His last four outings saw him fan 8, 7, 7, and 8. His K/9 for the season is 8.8 and he’s gone five or more innings in his last seven starts. I think he gets this with room to spare.
Bets and Season Record
Pick: Phillies -230 money line 10 units
Props: Ranger Suarez over 4.5 strikeouts 3 units
Up 13.5 units (+$1350)