Stuckey’s MLB Betting Notes: Value on Phillies-Rockies Over/Under at Coors
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola
Betting Odds: Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies
- Phillies Moneyline: -123 (Aaron Nola)
- Rockies Moneyline: +112 (Antonio Senzatela)
- Over/Under: 10.5
- First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Ahhh… my first Coors total of 2019. It is officially baseball season.
Coors Field has been a house of horrors for the Phillies, who suffered a sixth straight defeat in Denver last night on a two-out, two-strike, two-run walk-off bomb by Charlie Blackmon AKA Chuck Nasty. The Phillies somehow scored only three runs — despite 17 hits.
Bryce Harper was responsible for five of those hits in what was surprisingly his first career five-hit game. However, the ‘Fightins finished a pitiful 1-16 with runners in scoring position and left 19 men on base — the most they have in any game over the past 10 years.
While the moneyline looks about right to me, I do see some value in the over/under. Let’s take a closer look.
There’s no doubt the future is bright for the Phillies’ Aaron Nola. The LSU product has the repertoire to be an elite starter at the MLB level for many years to come.
However, he’s just not ‘right’ to start the year — and Coors is the last place you want to go when things are a little off. Some have suggested it’s the colder weather impacting Nola, but his release point has been off to start the year, which is subsequently hurting his confidence.
You can tell Nola is struggling just by looking at his surface numbers. He comes into today sporting a 7.45 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP. And while it’s still way too early to panic too much about a pitcher who finished third in the Cy Young race last year, some of the numbers are alarming.
- Nola has allowed at least five runs in three straight starts; he hadn’t done that in 38 consecutive starts, including every start last season
- Nola has walked 11 in four starts; he had only one month with more than 11 walks last season (13 walks in five June starts)
The walks (12.6 BB%) are particularly concerning. He’s falling behind hitters, which limits the effectiveness of his secondary pitches. There has even been talk of Nola tipping his pitches, which certainly would explain his ineffectiveness without any dip in velocity.
His curveball (which he throws about 30% of the time) has always been his nastiest pitch. Nola used it as well as any pitcher last year to get called strikes and put batters away.
However, even his money pitch has been getting crushed this season. Take a look at these numbers, per FanGraphs.
Plus, curves don’t work well in Coors Field because of the altitude (just ask Mike Hampton).
Look, he has been a little unlucky, but the underlying walk and swing rates are real. I’m fully confident that Nola will eventually right the ship but not immediately — and not in Coors with his pitching mix. The Rockies should get to Nola in a few innings. I generally don’t like to sell low, but Nola’s early struggles are only one minor part of why I like this over.
Antonio Senzatela will oppose Nola. And while the recent call-up had a successful start last time out, that was in Petco. This is Coors Field. Just a slight difference.
Senzatela does have a decent fastball that he throws around 95 mph, but his secondary stuff won’t wow anybody. He has had more success since reducing the frequency of his very vulnerable slider, but he’s still just a fringe, bottom-rotation guy. And while the Phillies are dealing with a number of injuries in their lineup, I still think their offense can do damage tonight against a very average starter.
I also don’t expect Senzatela to go deep. He averaged about 5.5 innings over his 14 starts (postseason included) last season, going more than six only twice. And that could spell trouble for a Colorado pen that has been taxed over the past few nights.
Yes, the Rockies pen has been pretty solid to start the year (third in the National League with a 3.58 ERA), but two of their top-three arms likely won’t be available: Wade Davis and Scott Oberg both pitched at least one inning in each of the first two games of this four-game set with the Phillies.
Even if Nola figures some things out and/or Senzatela has a semi-decent outing, we still could see a plethora of late-inning runs against an undermanned Rockies bullpen and an underwhelming Phillies pen. I make this 11 all factors considered, so I will certainly go over a cheap 10.5.
The Pick: Rockies-Phillies Over 10.5 (-105)