When the Phillies won 3-1 yesterday, as predicted in the Phillies Betting Preview, they became the first team this season to sweep the Tampa Bay Rays in a series. The PBP “sweep” was complete when Turner got on base in the 6th. Unfortunately, the Braves won as well, so they didn’t gain any ground up in the division. They are, however, in possession of the last wild card slot, a half a game ahead of the San Francisco Giants and a full game against the Milwaukee Brewers. While it’s way too early to really get worked up over the playoffs, it is nice to know that you’re in control of your own destiny.
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Phillies (-125) vs. Marlins (+105) O/U 7.5
The Phillies are now taking their 12-game road winning streak to South Beach for a 3-game weekend set against the Miami Marlins. This is the second series between the two squads, with the Marlins having won two out of three games in April. They are currently in second place in the NL East with a 51-38 record. With yesterday’s extra-inning win, the Phillies move to 47-39. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m.
Phillies Pitching and Batting
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RHP Zack Wheeler (7-4 4.03) takes the mound for the Fightin’ Phils Friday evening. The powerful righty has struggled in his last two starts after three stellar starts. He was the winning pitcher in the Phillies’ on-field fireworks game against the Nats, winning 19-4. He made it through 5 innings but allowed seven hits and surrendered four runs. Through his last five outings, he has a 3-0 record, with an ERA of 3.34 and an even better FIP at 2.75. Endurance has been a bit of an issue, only making it past the 6th inning once while logging 29.2 innings over the course of those 5 games. That could come into play as the bullpen pitched five innings in relief yesterday.
Just when it started to look like the Phillies’ bats were turning around, they score three runs in 11 innings. Over the past 10 games, they have a batting average of .286 and scoring six runs per game. However, if you take out the 19-run outlier, those numbers drop precipitously, down to .266 and 4.6 runs per contest. They are still decent, but not the stellar foundation that it would at first appear. Their home/road splits are interesting. They’ve played 10 more games away from Citizens Bank Ballpark, but have been much more explosive away from home. They have scored 41 more runs, 55 home runs away compared to the 48 they hit in their home park. This explosiveness comes at a high price, with a whopping 127 more strikeouts in the additional 10 games.
Rays Pitching and Batting
Embed from Getty ImagesThe Marlins send RHP Sandy Alcantara (3-7 4.93 ERA) to the bump for the first game of the series. The reigning National League Cy Young winner is having his worst season ever in an impressive career. His 4.93 ERA is 2.65 runs higher than last season and over 1.5 runs higher than his career. His last five starts haven’t been much better, with a 1-2 record a well-earned 4.60 ERA with an accompanying FIP of 4.41. His WHIP during this stretch is 1.34 and opponents have been batting .279, with a .777 OPS. While his record of 6-8 may not reflect it, Alcantara has been quite effective against the Phillies. He has a 3.79 ERA, had a WHIP of 1.06 until this year’s drubbing, and a mark of 8.2 K/9.
Miami’s offense can be quite potent but not particularly powerful. They are third in the majors in batting average with a .264 mark. Because they play in one of the more pitcher-friendly parks, many of their scoring numbers are rather muted. They are only scoring 4.17 runs/game, the 7th-worst in the majors, and their 82 home runs is 8th-worst. Against right-handed pitching at home, the Marlins raise their batting average to .271, with an OPS of .725 and a K% of 20.7%. Their .329 BABIP though would indicate some of those higher averages may drop a bit from here on out.
Fresh off of their sweep of the Rays, the Phillies are one of the hottest teams around and the Marlins’ Alcantara is definitely struggling. However, I am making a slight play on the Marlins plus 1.5 runs at the price of -165. Going back to 2017 (minus the 2020 Covid season), the Phillies are 2-9 in their first games of a series in Miami when they didn’t have a travel day. Miami’s nightlife is legendary and this trend would go to solidify that. Even though Alcantara is having a down year, historically he has been very tough against the Phillies. Finally, Zack Wheeler is slightly struggling right now. We profited over six units yesterday and will be willing to put up two of those on an underdog who has a better record and is playing at home.
Bets and Season Record
Pick: Miami+1.5 -165 2 units (Bet365)
Up 12.5 units (+$1250)