Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Phillies vs. Nationals Betting Preview (Aug. 26)

Credit:

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola.

  • The Nationals are a slight favorite over the Phillies on Wednesday night.
  • Brad Cunningham's model likes the Phillies and starter Aaron Nola in the first five innings against Patrick Corbin.
  • Get his full model projections and breakdown below.

Phillies vs. Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds -104 [Bet Now]
Nationals Odds -112 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-108/-113) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 6:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday at 10:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Wednesday’s Phillies vs. Nationals game features a heavyweight pitching matchup as Aaron Nola takes on Patrick Corbin. Both teams are at the bottom of NL East as we reach the halfway point in the season, so a win on Wednesday is crucial if either team is going to make a run at a playoff spot.


Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Phillies Projected Lineup

The Phillies have been fantastic offensively to start the season. They have the fourth-best wOBA (.341) and fifth-best wRC+ (113) in MLB. Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto have been on a tear, each posting wOBAs above .400 and combining for 15 home runs and 41 RBIs.

Philadelphia has also been absolutely mashing left-handed pitchers. In 179 plate appearances, the Phillies have a .358 wOBA and 125 wRC+, which is significantly higher than their numbers against righties. Corbin has been solid so far, but navigating this Phillies lineup will be a tall task for the Nationals starter.

Phillies Probable Starter

Aaron Nola, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Nola has been one of the best pitchers in baseball, posting a 2.46 xFIP through his first five starts. He’s made a stronger commitment to utilizing his off-speed pitches, which has drastically increased his effectiveness.

Most notably, Nola is throwing his changeup 10.9% more often this season (29.5% in 2020 vs. 18.6% in 2019). That decision has paid dividends: His changeup has allowed only a .191 wOBA to opposing batters and has produced a 46.2% whiff rate. Both of those marks are drastic improvements from his 2019 metrics.

Along with Nola’s increased changeup-rate, he has also thrown his curveball less frequently in 2020. Nonetheless, it has still been a pretty effective pitch, producing a .181 opposing batting average and 38.6% whiff rate. His curveball almost acts like a slider due to its crazy lateral break. When Nola is on-point with his location, his curveball is almost impossible to hit.

Nola’s commitment to throwing his off-speed pitches more frequently has also greatly improved the effectiveness of his fastball. He has allowed only three hits on 136 fastballs this season, so it’s clear that his new mix of pitches is really keeping opposing batters on their toes.

Nationals Projected Lineup

The Nationals have been above-average offensively, ranking 10th in MLB in terms of wOBA (.330) and wRC+ (104). However, they’ve done most of their damage against left-handed pitching: Washington boasts a .374 wOBA versus lefties compared to only a .313 wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Asdrubal Cabrera have been carrying the Nationals offense so far and are the only three Washington players with a wOBA above .350. In fact, those three guys are hitting a combined .316 on the year, while the rest of the Nationals lineup is hitting a measly .241. The bottom half of the batting lineup must improve in order for Washington to contend for a playoff spot.

Nationals Probable Starter 

Patrick Corbin, LHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Corbin has been solid through his first five starts. He’s accumulated a 3.99 ERA and 3.18 xFIP and has been really effective with his slider and sinker. Each of those two pitches are holding hitters under a .275 wOBA, and his slider has produced a 46.7% whiff rate.

However, Corbin has had some major issues with his fastball, to put in mildly. Opposing hitters have tagged it for a .503 wOBA and seven extra base hits. The Phillies rank in the top-half of MLB against fastball and sinkers, so Corbin will probably go to his slider frequently on Wednesday.

Bullpens

The Phillies bullpen has been a disaster this season. Philadelphia’s relievers have a combined ERA of 8.00, which is the highest in MLB. In fairness, they have been a tad bit unlucky, because their xFIP is 4.47. But that alone does not absolve their disappointing performance.

The Nationals bullpen hasn’t been much better: Washington’s relief pitchers report a 4.38 xFIP, which ranks 14th in MLB. The Nationals will have a slight advantage in the bullpen department during this series.

Projections and Pick

The Phillies have the advantage in the starting pitching matchup, especially given how dominant they’ve been against lefties this season. I also want to avoid the Phillies bullpen at all costs right now, so I am going to bet the Phillies first five innings line at -113 (DraftKings). I would play it up to -137.

Pick: Phillies First Five Innings (-113)

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