Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Marlins vs. Phillies: Wrong Team Favored (May 20)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Sandy Alcantara.
- The Phillies and Marlins close out their three-game series Thursday night at Citizens Bank Park with each team picking up a win in the first two games.
- Miami is a +110 underdog, despite having the better pitcher on the mound in Sandy Alcantara.
- Mike Ianniello explains below why the pitching edge gives him enough confidence to back the Marlins.
Editor’s Note: Phillies pitcher Vince Velasquez was scratched from Thursday night’s start because of a numb right index finger.
Marlins vs. Phillies Odds
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The Phillies took Game 1 of a three-game series against the Marlins behind a seven-run bottom of the eighth on Tuesday. Philadelphia has struggled with the Marlins recently and went just 3-7 against Miami last season.
In Game 2 on Wednesday, the Marlins evened the series with a 3-1 victory, led by a dominant pitching performance from Trevor Rodgers who allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings.
Alcantara Looks to Bounce Back for Marlins
I am going to guess Sandy Alcantara (RHP) has been itching to get back on the mound after his disastrous last start. Entering May 14 with a 2.72 ERA, Alcantara allowed eight runs in a nightmare second inning against the Dodgers.
Prior that outing, Alcantara has lasted at least four innings in all 53 starts of his career. The 2019 All-Star has the 14th best ERA (3.55) among all pitchers over the last three seasons. He has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his nine starts this year. He has a 2.92 xERA and .314 xwOBA this season and has produced a 48.2 groundball rate.
The hard-throwing 25-year old averages 97.6 miles per hour on his fastball and has an excellent changeup, as well as a sinker, slider and the occasional curveball. In six career starts against Philadelphia he is 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA.
Miami’s pitching staff has really carried them this year as they rank just 20th in batting average, 26th in wOBA and 24th in wRC+. Miami has hit just 39 home runs this year, 27th in the league.
Miguel Rojas, Jesus Aguilar and Jazz Chisholm have all been solid for the Marlins this season, but they desperately need Starling Marte back in the lineup. He has played just 15 games this season.
Phillies’ Velasquez is Due for Regression
While Alcantara’s expected numbers are much better than his actual stats, Vince Velasquez’s (RHP) expected numbers are much worse. His actual stats aren’t anything to write home about, with a 3.68 ERA and .331 wOBA. His predictive numbers are even worse, as he currently has a 4.70 xERA and .342 xwOBA.
Velasquez started the year coming out of the bullpen and has lasted six innings just once in his five starts for Philly. He has been solid in his last three outings though, allowing just one run in each of his last three starts.
While teams are batting just .202 against Velasquez this year, his 5.82 BB/9, 2.15 HR/9 aand 47.2% HardHit% are all the highest of his career. He has allowed an average exit velocity of 93.2 on batted balls, the sixth highest among all starting pitchers.
Despite the talent in the Philadelphia lineup, they have really only been average on offense this season. Philly ranks 19th in wOBA, 19th in wRC+, 17th in runs per game and 10th in batting average. The Phillies bats have been much better at home this season.
The Phillies offense has been led by Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins, and while most of their big names are having good seasons, their lineup has been a bit of a revolving door with only Hoskins and Alex Bohm appearing in every game this year. Didi Gregorius and Roman Quinn are on the injured list, and catcher J.T Realmuto has missed the last three games with a hand injury.
This is a great buy-low, sell-high situation. On one side Alcantara is a much better pitcher than his current numbers indicate, and I’m sure he can’t wait to get back on the mound after his dreadful last start.
On the flip side, Valasquez has a 4.67 career ERA, and while he has been solid in his last few starts, his walk rate, home run rate and exit velocity allowed are all very concerning, and I think he is a prime regression candidate.
Miami has given the Phillies fits over the past couple seasons, and I like them to win the rubber match in the series finale, especially as an underdog with the better pitcher on the mound. I would back them to +100.
Pick: Miami Marlins +110 (Play to +100)
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