Phillies vs. Cardinals MLB Odds & Picks: An Ideal Opportunity to Fade Carlos Martínez (Tuesday, April 27)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Martinez
- The Phillies and Cardinals meet on Tuesday night in St. Louis.
- It's a matchup of the struggling Carlos Martínez and the overperforming Zach Eflin.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Phillies vs. Cardinals Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-112 / -109)|
|Time||7:45 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday and via DraftKings.|
Another game, another pick ’em between the Phillies and Cardinals. After a razor-close 2-1 win for the visitors, Philadelphia will look to get back on a roll Tuesday against the declining Carlos Martínez. Philly counters with Zach Eflin, who has been enjoying some of the best numbers of his career in the early going but may be due for a bit of regression.
Is there any value in fading one or both of these pitchers, or are both of these offenses too scary to back? Let’s break down the matchup and see if we can find some value.
The Phillies are really struggling on offense, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve just cycled through two center fielders and landed on Odúbel Herrera, who hasn’t been relevant since fidget spinners were a thing. This team has had numerous opportunities to bust out of its slump, from three games at Coors to a meeting with Old Man Wainwright on Monday. Nothing’s seemed to work, but the opportunities will keep on coming with Martínez lurking on Tuesday.
Let’s see if we can find some positives here. First off, Martínez is a right-hander, which is the preferred split for the Phillies considering their 97 wRC+ which is pretty competitive with the rest of the league. Also, how about Bryce Harper? He might be destined for an MVP season, slashing .319/.449/.625 so far with six dingers. He’s been mashing, ranking third in barrels per plate appearance at 14.6%, and a stunning 52.7% of his batted balls have traveled over 95 mph off the bat. At the very least, the Phillies have been able to count on Harper night in and night out, and as long as they get something from their pitching staff, it can be enough.
That could be a bit of an issue on Tuesday, however. Eflin is indeed the proud owner of a 2.77 ERA, but his 4.28 expected ERA points to the fact that he’s been a bit fortunate to have that number. On the one hand, he’s been great at limiting walks, but on the other he’s allowed a whole host of hard contact across his four starts, and has given up almost a hit per inning.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are such a hard team to figure out. On paper, this lineup looks pretty lethal, but it’s scored just the 14th-most runs in baseball so far and ranks 22nd in wOBA. If you look at most numbers, they’re almost exactly average, ranking right in the middle of the league in walk rate, strikeout rate and contact rate.
There should be some good news on the way, though, with Harrison Bader ready to re-join the club in the coming days. He’s hardly the best hitter on the team, but sometimes your identity can be lost without your leadoff man, and Bader does objectively bring an unmatched level of energy to this team. Maybe that’s enough to lift something more out of a struggling outfield, which touts Justin Williams (.182 BA) and Tyler O’Neill (.158 BA) as starters, along with the impressive youngster Dylan Carlson.
For now, let’s focus on Tuesday’s game, though. Those disappointing bats will still be in the lineup, trying to back up Martínez. The right-hander has been awful just about any way you slice it. He’s introduced a cutter this season, which has actually been his worst pitch judging by the batting average against, and he’s done away with the changeup that generated a whiff rate of more than 32% last year.
His fastball has ticked up a bit in velocity, and he’s getting more swings and misses on his slider, but his repertoire has been underwhelming. As a result, he’s ranked in the bottom-7% of the league with a 14.3% strikeout rate, and that doesn’t really bode well when you’re giving up an average of 90.3 mph off the bat.
It’s hard to get any worse than Martínez this year, who has been fade material for me. As a result, I’m going back to the well and taking the Phillies, who I expect to bust out of their slump here. Philly is sixth in swinging strike rate this year, but against a guy who can’t generate any swings and misses right now, things might go a bit better for them.
The Cardinals clearly have a lot to figure out on offense, and while I’m generally bullish on them, I don’t like this spot at all. Martínez has been a walking nightmare for them all season long, and they should be playing from behind all night.
Pick: Phillies (-107)