Blue Jays vs. Phillies Odds, Picks, Predictions: MLB Betting Preview for Tuesday, Sept. 20
Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images. Pictured: Vlad Guerrero Jr. (Blue Jays)
- The Blue Jays and Phillies go head-to-head on Tuesday as both teams are battling for playoff positioning.
- Toronto has an advantage with its always dangerous lineup and with Ross Stripling on the hill.
- Does that mean the Jays will get the job done? Doug Ziefel dives in.
Blue Jays vs. Phillies Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||-126|
|Time||6:45 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, every game becomes critical. And for these two ball clubs, that is certainly the case.
The Toronto Blue Jays, owners of the top wild-card spot in the American League, head to Philadelphia, where the Phillies are desperately trying to hold onto the last wild-card spot in the National League.
Toronto came into the season as a consensus pick to win the World Series, but the team with all the hype around it has proven to be very streaky.
The good news is that the Jays have been hot of late. They enter this game as winners of six of their last 10, including taking two-of-three from Baltimore in their latest series.
As for Philadelphia, it comes into this series needing to turn it around fast. The Phils have lost four straight, and now have just a 2.5-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers.
So, can the Phillies steal this series opener and stop their freefall? Let’s dive in to find out.
Watch Out for Jays’ Lineup
Despite its hot and cold streaks, this Toronto lineup is always dangerous. It leads the majors in Hard Hit Rate and Average Exit Velocity, which in turn, leads it to also leading the league in xBA, as well.
We have seen all that loud contact lead to run production over the last two weeks, as the Blue Jays are seventh in team batting average, wOBA and wRC+ in that span.
Tonight, they’ll aim to stay hot as they are lined up to face Kyle Gibson.
After a sparkling month of August, Gibson has been knocked around in September. He’s allowed 12 earned runs on 20 hits in just over 12 innings of work.
Perhaps what is most startling about his recent outings is the teams who did the damage against him.
First, the San Francisco Giants, who have been one of the coldest lineups in baseball over the last month, tagged him for seven earned runs.
Then, in his next start, the Marlins put up four earned runs on nine hits.
While he did avenge that bad outing against Miami in his last start, the amount of contact and command issues are worrisome heading into this one against Toronto.
In addition, the Blue Jays are also due for some sizable positive regression against Gibson.
The current Toronto lineup has compiled 114 at-bats against Gibson, and he has gotten the better of it. Overall, the Jays have hit just .175 and have a 25.4% strikeout rate. However, they have an xBA of .254 and a xwOBA of .292, so look for the Jays to do damage this evening.
Phillies Have Tough Matchup vs. Ross Stripling
If we’re talking about hot lineups, it’s hard to ignore what the Phillies have done of late.
Over the last two weeks, Philly ranks sixth in wRC+, fifth in wOBA and third in ISO.
However, the Braves cooled them off quite a bit over the past weekend — they were outscored 16-7 in the three-game series.
Tonight, the Phils are lined up to face Ross Stripling, who has been spectacular in a swingman role for Blue Jays this season. He enters this start with a 2.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP.
Stripling has become an integral part of the rotation, especially of late, as he appears to be fully stretched out. He has gone at least six innings in each of his last six starts.
What’s been the difference maker in Stripling’s breakout campaign is his command. His walk rate has dropped by nearly three percent from last season and now sits in the top-four percent of all qualified pitchers.
Command is key for Stripling as he’s not going to overpower hitters. Instead, he keeps them off balance by mixing in his changeup and slider frequently in an attempt to create soft contact.
As his numbers reveal, he’s been successful in doing so this year, as he ranks in the top 35% of the league.
Lastly, Stripling dominated the Phillies in his start against them earlier this year. We saw him twirl a season-high seven innings of shutout ball while allowing just two hits.
Given how well he’s been pitching of late and with the Phillies’ lineup due to cool off, he should be able to replicate some of his success tonight.
Blue Jays-Phillies Pick
While both of these clubs are playoff caliber, they are currently trending in opposite directions.
The Jays’ bats are hot and are far more potent than Philly’s. They are also due to have some success against Gibson, and we know how dangerous their lineup can be.
On the other side, Stripling is hard to fade, given how impressive he’s been of late. He appears to be locked in and is getting a good matchup.
This is why I’m backing Toronto to take this series opener. Be sure to shop for the best line as the price is rising.
Pick: Toronto Blue Jays ML -118 ( Play to -140)
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