Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: Target the Run Line Philadelphia (Friday, August 27)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper.
- The Phillies host the lowly Diamondbacks on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.
- Neither lineup is hitting well at the moment, but Aaron Nola may give Philadelphia the edge it needs.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup below and delivers his pick for the game.
Editor’s note: Tonight’s game has been delayed due to COVID-related contact tracing with Philadelphia.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Odds
|Time||Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via BetMGM|
Since losing seven of their last 10, the Philadelphia Phillies have fallen far behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League East division lead. Philadelphia entered Thursday night with its playoff chances down to 20%.
The Phillies put forth Aaron Nola to face Taylor Widener of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are the second-worst team in baseball. Is there any chance of an upset in this one, or will the Phillies improve those slim playoff chances by beating up on a lesser opponent?
Widener is pretty weak. His hard-hit percentage is 44.5%, and his xERA is 1.09 points higher than his ERA. He is over-performing and has not even been too sharp thus far.
The Phillies are top-10 in walk rate, and Widener’s 11.6% walk rate puts the Diamondbacks into more of a bind in this matchup. Given these variables, as long as Nola has an average outing, Philadelphia has even more of an advantage than it usually would against a team like Arizona.
The Diamondbacks hold an 87 wRC+ as a team. This ranks 27th in MLB. Losing Kole Calhoun to the injured list further hinders this lineup.
Arizona has four or five regulars in August who sport an above average wRC+ mark. The second half of their lineup, though, has struggled. Against right-handers, however, losing Calhoun was a massive setback for the Arizona offense. Even Ketel Marte is sub-100 in that same category.
Three players with over a .340 OBP in the month of August versus righties will not cut it, even if Nola has a tough time earlier in games.
Now, Arizona has one of the worst bullpens in the league, especially since the trade deadline. Caleb Smith and Matt Peacock have been some of the most reliable relief arms, but both have an xFIP over 4.00 and sub-3.00 ERAs.
Shortly put, Arizona is getting lucky when it comes to its bullpen, and these are two of the only somewhat decent options for manager Torey Lovullo.
Even though they’ve struggled, the Phillies lineup still has some powerful pieces.
Bryce Harper, Odúbel Herrera, Brad Miller and J.T. Realmuto have been their best bats off against righties since the deadline. Harper, Herrera and Alec Bohm are the only three batters with over .340 OBPs (Bohm is currently in Triple-A). Jean Segura, Didi Gregorius, and Andrew McCutchen will have to straighten out eventually, since Rhys Hoskins is out for the season. There is no advantage between the two lineups here.
Archie Bradley, Héctor Neris and J.D. Hammer have not been the best options out of the bullpen this month. They are about league average and have been all season.
That said, Nola should be able to go at least five innings against an ailing offense, so whoever comes in between Bradley, Neris and Hammer should be able to close the door without other help.
Finally, Nola has been unlucky this season. He has a 4.33 ERA and 3.54 xERA. He does not walk anyone (5.6%), and 29.3% strikeout rate, so he should be able to carve up this lineup without its best hitter, while facing right-handers.
Neither of these lineups can hit well at this moment.
On the other hand, expect one of the power bats, outside of Herrera, Harper, Realmuto and Miller to wake up against Widener. They have a patient enough batting order, where they should be in good shape, and with Nola on the hill, they have a few bullpen arms that can back him up.
Given how Arizona has one of the weakest bullpens in the league, the Phillies should be able to expand their early lead.
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 (+100, play to -130)