MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Phillies vs. Rockies: How to Back Colorado as a Favorite (Friday, April 23)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images. Pictured: German Marquez.
- The Colorado Rockies and Philadelphia Phillies will take the field at Coors Field tonight in a National League showdown.
- The Rox have German Marques taken the mound, and they have groomed him to pitch at Coors. The Phils can't say the same thing about their starter.
- Check out Michael Arinze's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Phillies vs. Rockies Odds
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The Philadelphia Phillies hit the highway for a seven-game road trip beginning in Colorado against the Rockies. After winning its first four games of the season, Philadelphia has cooled off a bit with just three wins in its last nine games.
It’ll try to win back-to-back games for the first time since its four-game winning streak to start the season.
Vince Velasquez will get the start for the Phillies instead of Matt Moore, who is currently on the COVID-19 injury list. Velasquez’s experience as a starter is exactly why Philadelphia tendered him in the offseason despite its plan to use him out of the bullpen.
Opposing Velasquez for Colorado will be Germán Márquez, who went the distance in a shortened seven-inning game in his last outing.
This season, Márquez has had success pitching down in the zone, and that tactic is paramount — particularly when pitching in the thin air of Colorado.
Phillies fans must have been surprised when they heard Velasquez received a $4 million tender offer in the offseason. After all, the organization demoted him to the bullpen toward the end of last year. The truth is, whether he’s starting a game or coming out of the bullpen, it hasn’t worked well for him in a Phillies uniform.
Coming into the season, Velasquez had a 4.72 ERA as a starter vs. a 5.67 ERA as a reliever. This year, he’s made three appearances, all as a reliever, and owns a 9.00 ERA with a 2.75 WHIP.
Velasquez seems to be struggling with a lack of command, considering his infrequent use out of the bullpen. He hasn’t pitched more than 2 1/3 innings in either of his three outings, and he’s walked 36.6% of the batters he’s faced.
One thing that would concern me if I’m a Phillies supporter is his 0.67 GB/FB ratio this season. In fact, five of his seven seasons have all had a GB/FB ratio under 1.0.
His inability to generate ground balls could be problematic in Coors Field, where fly balls tend to leave the ballpark in a hurry.
The Rockies are aware of the difficulties pitching in Colorado, and as a result, they work hard to cultivate ground ball pitchers. One of those pitchers is Germán. Márquez has a 2.38 GB/FB ratio, and I think that’s part of why he has a .571 winning percentage (20-15) in Colorado.
Marquez throws five pitches, per Baseball Savant: a four-seam fastball (48.5%), a curveball (25.9%), a slider (17.7%), a sinker (6%), and a changeup (1.9%).
While he pounds the zone with his four-seamer, he can pitch in the lower quadrants with his curveball, slider, and sinker. That’s essential for a pitcher in Colorado, as his ability to generate ground balls could help to bail the Rockies out of trouble, particularly with runners on base.
Marquez hasn’t given up more than three runs in any of his four appearances this season, and in two of those starts, he produced a quality outing.
I think it’s fair to be a bit alarmed by his 5.16 BB/9 ratio, but that number is a bit skewed after he allowed six walks to the Dodgers on Opening Day. Since then, he’s allowed only two walks on two occasions and three walks in his other outing.
However, unlike Velasquez, Marquez has never finished a season with a BB/9 ratio above 3.0. At the same time, Velasquez has yet to have a season in which he’s walked less than three batters per nine innings.
I’m well aware that Philadelphia is the more dominant of these two teams in terms of offense. However, I think this game will come down to which pitcher can handle the elements better at Coors Field.
The Rockies don’t just pursue any pitcher. They specifically target those who fit a profile necessary to pitch in Colorado. Marquez fits that mold, and the organization has taken that same approach with its relief corps.
I doubt that Philadelphia pursues the same type of pitchers simply because it’s not playing half of its games in Colorado.
Since 2013, the Rockies are 17-8 (68%) at home against the Phillies.
Colorado is also +13.31 units at home with Marquez on the mound. In his four starts against the Phillies, Colorado is 3-1 and 2-0 when the game was at Coors Field. As for Velasquez, Philadelphia has lost the last three games with him on the mound in Colorado.
To sum things up, I think Marquez is a bit undervalued in this spot, so I’ll look to back him as a short favorite.
Pick: Rockies ML -115