Friday MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays (Sept. 25)
Mike Carlson/Getty Images.Pictured: Charlie Morton
- The Philadelphia Phillies are a half-game outside of the playoff picture as they go into the final weekend of the MLB regular season.
- Are the Phils and Vince Velasquez a good bet to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night?
- Brad Cunningham breaks down the game, including how he plans to bet tonight's matchup.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays Odds
|Phillies Odds||+110 [Bet Now]|
|Rays Odds||-139 [Bet Now]|
|Over/Under||8.5 [Bet Now]|
|First Pitch||6:40 p.m. ET|
After losing to the Nationals on Thursday, the Phillies are now a half-game behind San Francisco for the final playoff spot in the National League. They’ll turn to Vince Velasquez to keep their October hopes alive.
The Rays have clinched the American League East crown and have a 3.5-game lead in the race for the No. 1 seed in the AL. Tampa is just two wins away from getting that done and is a big favorite over the Phillies behind Charlie Morton on Friday night.
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.
The Phillies’ offense has been on fire over the past two weeks, accumulating a .343 wOBA and 114 wRC+. Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper have set the pace over that span, as they both boast a wOBA above .400.
However, most of the Philadelphia’s success has come against left-handed pitchers. Philadelphia has a .371 wOBA against lefties, compared to only a .331 wOBA against righties.
J.T. Realmuto is back from the injured list and should provide a big boost to Philadelphia’s lineup. The veteran catcher has 11 homers and 32 RBIs to his name this season.
Phillies Probable Starter
Vince Velasquez, RHP
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Vince Velasquez has a very similar profile to Lance Lynn of the Texas Rangers. Velasquez almost exclusively uses his fastball, using location and movement to keep hitters off balance. Velasquez has above-average velocity but he also is prone to giving up home runs with his heater.
Velasquez’s fastball yielded a .380 wOBA to opponents in 2020, so it’s no wonder his ERA is over 5. The 28-year-old doesn’t have any secondary pitches to fall back on as he’s collectively allowed a .275 batting average on non-fastballs this season.
The Rays have had a lot of success against right-handed pitching this season so they stand a good chance to put up some runs against Velasquez on Friday night.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays offense has been above average all season long, ranking 10th in the MLB with a .325 wOBA and 109 wRC+. Brandon Lowe has been the clear leader this season, hitting 13 homers and driving in 36 runs.
What is interesting about the Rays is that they rank 24th against fastballs, but crush off-speed pitches so it’ll be on Velasquez to use his heater to navigate his way through this lineup.
Rays Probable Starter
Charlie Morton, RHP
Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)
Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Charlie Morton has been a bit of a disappointment for the Rays this season, accumulating a 4.41 xFIP through 33 innings. Morton has missed a chunk of the season due to injury and hasn’t looked sharp in his limited appearances. His main three pitches have been getting shelled by opponents, as they have collectively allowed a .271 average to opponents.
The biggest difference between 2020 and 2019 for Charlie Morton is his curveball. Last season, Morton allowed only a .185 wOBA and generated a 38.1 whiff rate with his breaking ball. In 2020, that pitch has yielded a .307 wOBA and his whiff rate has gone down by almost 10%.
If Morton can’t get his curve working he could be in a world of hurt because the Phillies are seventh-best team against breaking balls this season.
Projections and Pick
With two struggling starting pitchers facing two good offenses, this game has the perfect recipe for an over. However, both bullpens have been lights out lately, so I am going to back Over 4.5 runs on the first-5-inning line at -125 and would play it up to -127.
Pick: F5 Over 4.5 runs (-125)