MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Staff’s Best Bets for Nationals vs. Phillies & Diamondbacks vs. Rockies (Sunday, September 11)
Kelsey Grant/Getty Images. Pictured: Zac Gallen
- There's a full slate of action on the MLB docket Sunday, and our experts have found value in a pair of games.
- We're targeting both a total and a side and have our eyes on Nationals-Phillies and Diamondbacks-Rockies.
- Continue reading for our best bets and analysis.
Yes, it's the first Sunday of the NFL season, but that doesn't mean there isn't baseball to watch.
There's a full slate of Sunday baseball on the schedule are our experts have found value in a pair of games. They start out east with a play on Nationals vs. Phillies, then move west for Diamondbacks vs. Rockies.
Continue reading for their analysis and best bets.
MLB Odds & Picks
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Tony Sartori: Philadelphia opened as a massive favorite with right-handed ace Aaron Nola slated to take the mound against Anibal Sanchez. However, we're not worried about a side and are targeting the total in this one.
Taking the mound for the Washington Nationals is right-hander Anibal Sanchez. Through 10 starts this season, Sanchez is 2-5 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. However, those numbers are deceiving as Sanchez's first start of the season was in the middle of July and also happened to be his first time on an MLB mound since 2020.
Obviously, those first few outings were rusty and led to some poor numbers. That being said, Sanchez has settled in and has been much stronger from the bump. Over his past four starts, he is 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA and a 0.81 WHIP.
Following Sanchez is an underrated bullpen. Since August 1, Washington's relief pitching ranks in the top half of the league in ERA, WHIP and BA.
On the other side of this matchup, we have Nola, who has dominated the Nationals throughout his career. Through 104 plate appearances against Nola, this current Washington roster possesses a mere .194 BA, .286 SLG and a .339 wOBA.
Through 27 starts this season, Nola is 9-11 with a 3.35 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP. This season, he's 1-1 with a 1.66 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in three starts against Washington.
We are getting good value on this total for two reasons. First, Philadelphia usually hits well against right-handed pitching, but I am not as worried about their lineup because Sanchez is in great form of late. The other reason for this generous total is the Phillies' poor bullpen. While that would normally be a big concern for me, Nola typically goes deep into games and should limit the damage they may pose. He has gone six or more innings in all three of his starts against the Nationals this season.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Colorado Rockies
William Boor: Coors Field is obviously not a pitcher's park, but that's not going to scare me away from backing Zac Gallen as the Diamondbacks' ace hasn't given up a run since August 2. Yes, you read that correctly.
Gallen is working on a scoreless streak of 41 1/3 innings, a span of seven starts, and is clearly the better pitcher in this matchup. The streak has certainly improved Gallen's numbers and he's lowered his ERA to 2.42. Gallen's 3.35 xERA suggests he's been a tad lucky overall, but this streak isn't a fluke. He's a really good pitcher and has been all year.
Gallen has already faced the Rockies four times this season and has posted a 2.52 ERA (seven earned runs over 25 innings) in those games, during which the D-backs are 2-2. Oh, he also threw seven scoreless frames at Coors in August, so we know he can succeed in the hitter-friendly environment.
The Diamondbacks caught fire in late August and although they've cooled a bit, they are still getting solid production from the offense, which has had its fair share of struggles this season. Arizona has scored at least five runs in six of nine games this month and should be able to continue that success against Rockies' starter Ryan Feltner.
While Gallen has been lights out of late, Feltner has struggled. The 26-year-old right-hander has surrendered three or more runs in six of his past seven starts and has pitched to a 5.85 ERA with a 5.50 xERA through 15 appearances (72 1/3 innings) this season. Feltner ranks in the fifth percentile in chase rate and in the 20th percentile in Whiff%. In short, he doesn't miss many bats.
While that's troubling for any pitcher, it's especially troubling when playing in a park as massive as Coors Field. Arizona will put the ball in play against Feltner and when a team consistently makes contact — especially hard contact because Feltner ranks in just the seventh percentile in Hard-Hit% — good things tend to happen. The Diamondbacks should be able to score plenty and provide Gallen with some run support … just in case he finally gives up a run.
The Diamondbacks clearly have the starting pitching edge in this game, but what happens once the starters depart? Well, neither of these clubs have strong bullpens. However, Gallen has completed at least six innings in 10 of his past 15 starts, so we're hoping the Arizona bullpen won't have to cover more than two or three innings.