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Cardinals vs. Phillies MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Philly Keep Offense Rolling Against Miles Mikolas? (Friday, July 1)

Cardinals vs. Phillies MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Philly Keep Offense Rolling Against Miles Mikolas? (Friday, July 1) article feature image
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John Fisher/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles Mikolas

  • The Phillies are short road underdogs in tonight's matchup with the Cardinals.
  • Philadelphia will give Bailey Falter a spot start against St. Louis hurler Miles Mikolas.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Cardinals vs. Phillies Odds

Cardinals Odds -145
Phillies Odds +125
Over/Under 9.5
Time 6:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Philadelphia Phillies may have stopped the bleeding Thursday as they salvaged the final game of their series with Atlanta. Still, their offensive spark may be short-lived as they will now be tasked with one of the better pitchers in the National League, Miles Mikolas.

Mikolas has been tremendous this year as he’ll enter this start with a 2.57 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. Mikolas has become the ace of a Cardinals team that looks to be in a divisional pennant race for the rest of the season.

Opposing Mikolas for the Phillies will be Bailey Falter, who has again been called upon from Triple-A to make a spot start. He’s done it three other times this year and has been relatively successful. However, he has not faced a lineup like the Cardinals, so it remains to be seen if his arsenal can pitch up to the competition.

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Expect Bailey to Falter Against Cards Lineup

This will be Falter’s fourth spot-start of the season, and while on the surface, his numbers don’t look too bad, when you dig a little deeper the concerns rise very quickly.

Falter is primarily a two-pitch pitcher as he features a solid fastball-slider combination. Unless your stuff is elite, it is hard to make it through multiple turns of a major league lineup on just two pitches. Falter does not have elite stuff; in fact, his fastball is in the bottom one percent of the majors. It also does not help that it sits at 91 mph.

Despite his fastball not being a great pitch, Falter throws it nearly 60 percent of the time. Although you would think it would be to set up his slider, which he throws only 26 percent of the time, that set has not been successful. His slider has an xBA of .350. That’s on top of his fastball, having an xwOBA of .410 with an average exit velocity of over 91 mph.

Put that up against a Cardinals lineup that has seven starters with a positive run value against fastballs, which include guys like MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt who’s hitting .304 off fastball this season. However, that not even the best on the team, as Nolan Arenado is hitting .342 and Brendan Donovan is hitting .475.

Now the slider is a different story as only five guys have a positive run value, and only four of them have hit over .300 off sliders, but they will see far more fastballs from Falter, which will be his downfall once again.

Look for the Phillies to Regress Against Mikolas

Mikolas has begun to put it all together this season because he finally committed to using his best pitches to get the results they are intended to produce.

He has become a groundball pitcher, with his sinker and slider now being his predominant pitches. However, he will mix in his four-seamer and curveball quite often. His pitch mix keeps batters off balance and then produces consistent soft contact.

All of that is reflected in his underlying metrics. He is among the top 30 percent of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity, hard-hit and barrel rates. Mikolas has also displayed impeccable command of his arsenal as he ranks in the top 12 percent in walk rate.

The Phillies broke out in a big way against Ian Anderson and the Braves; however, they are likely not even to repeat a third of that showing tonight. Philly’s hottest hitter, Kyle Schwarber, has not fared well against Mikolas in his career. Entering this game, he is just 2-for-14 with four strikeouts. The same goes for Rhys Hoskins, who is 0-for-5 against Mikolas.

If those two can’t generate any offense, the Phillies are left to count on the likes of Darick Hall or veterans like Nick Castellanos and JT Realmuto, who have struggled mightily this season. Overall, their outlook is bleak against Mikolas.

Cardinals-Phillies Pick

The Phillies are set to come crashing back to earth after their offensive explosion Thursday. Mikolas has the arsenal to put this Philly lineup away and work deep into this game, as we’ve already seen him do on multiple occasions.

On the other side, Falter is not a big-league starter. His two-pitch mix is not up to scuff, and against the talent in this Cardinals lineup, they could do some damage in a hurry. That’s why I’m backing the Cardinals to take this series opener.

Pick: Cardinals -145

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