In Tuesday’s edition of the Phillies Betting Preview, I predicted a Phillies defeat and also some prop bets. Aaron Nola‘s roller coaster year continued as he was stellar, going seven and a third innings, matching his career-high in strikeouts with 12 (twice this season) and the Phillies scored just enough to beat their former pitcher, Zach Efflin. However, he was just as solid as his counterpart, fanning nine Phillies in seven innings. Bryce Harper came through in fine fashion in the top of the seventh with a one-out double and the Phillies won their tenth road game in a row.
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Phillies (+110) vs. Rays (-115) O/U 9.5
The Rays had swept the Phillies in 3 straight series before Tuesday’s victory. Going into Tuesday’s game, Philadelphia was 12.5 back from Atlanta, but with the Braves’ loss to Cleveland in extra innings, they picked up a much-needed game in the division. Unfortunately, the Marlins won as well, but the Phillies can take care of that dilemma a little bit this weekend. For now, they need to worry about the team with the best record in baseball at 57-31. The Phils moved to six games over .500 at 45-39. The first pitch is 6:40 p.m.
Phillies Pitching and Batting
RHP Taijuan Walker (9-3 3.93) takes the bump Wednesday evening. If Ranger Suarez had been the Phillies’ best starter in the month of September, Taijuan was a very close second. He was 5-1 in his six starts, with a 1.50 ERA. After giving up three runs against the Mets on June 1st, he didn’t allow more than 1 run in any of his next five starts. In those five games, batters had a .174 batting average, 32 strikeouts in 32 innings, and a scintillating WHIP of .8438. For you fantasy fans out there, he averaged 26.6 DraftKings pts/game and a whopping 45.8 FanDuel pts/game.
Philadelphia mustered six hits against their former pitcher, Eflin, but with the way that he’s been throwing, that’s pretty decent. More importantly, they hit .333 with runners in scoring position (2 for 6) and only stranded five runners, as opposed to their normal eight. Bizarrely enough, on the road against righties, the Phillies are a top-10 team in virtually every advanced Sabermetric stat.
Rays Pitching and Batting
RHP Zack Littell (0-1 5.28) makes the start for the Rays in what will be a bullpen game because of a visit to the 15-day injury list. The Rays pen has a sneakily average bullpen. They have the 10th-best ERA at 3.82 but are tied for the league-worst in blown saves with 17. Interestingly enough, the Baltimore Orioles also have 17 blown saves. Their WHIP is 6th at 1.24 but they have also surrendered the 8th-most home runs at 39.
The Rays have good numbers overall, batting-wise, but they are less effective against right-handed pitching than left-handed. Part of this may stem from the fact they have over three times as many at-bats against righties than lefties, but they’re hitting a collective .257 at home against right-handed pitching, with 49 home runs in 1143 at-bats, an OPS of .794, a BABIP of .307, and ISO (short for Isolated power) of .199. Against lefties, they are batting a blistering .292, with 20 home runs in 318 at-bats, their OPS is .888, BABIP .323, and ISO is .242.
Yesterday’s game against Aaron Nola was a good example of the slightly reduced effectiveness against righties. While Nola can resemble a staff ace when he’s on (which he was yesterday), this year he’s struggled more than not. However, he only allowed five hits and one walk yesterday. The only extra-base knock was Wander Franco‘s 10th home run in the top of the 8th.
If there was ever a fishy line, this would be it. Tampa Bay is forced to have a bullpen game because of injuries and they’re going up against the Phillies’ hottest pitcher in the month of June. What’s more, this line actually moved in the Phillies’ favor, going from a -105 underdog to a +110. Well, I’ll bite. They may not score a lot tomorrow, but I think they’ll score enough.
I am also looking at another prop and this could be very lucrative. The Rays catcher, Christian Betancourt, has only thrown out 17.5% of would-be stealers. Over the last five games, Trea Turner has stolen five bases without getting caught once. With his OBP rising, I think tomorrow is an excellent chance of taking Trea to get one or more steals. Here is another example of the need to line shop, as BetMGM has him at +280 while Bet365 has him sitting at +320.
Bets and Season Record
Pick: Philadelphia +110 2 units
Prop: Trea Turner over .5 stolen bases +320 2 units (Bet365)
Up 5.6 units (+$560)