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Nationals vs. Phillies MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Bet Tuesday’s Underdog in Philadelphia (July 5)

Nationals vs. Phillies MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Bet Tuesday’s Underdog in Philadelphia (July 5) article feature image

Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Bell.

  • The Washington Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies in an NL East matchup on Tuesday night.
  • The Nats sit in last place in the division, 14 games behind the third-place Phillies.
  • Charlie DiSturco breaks down Nationals-Phillies below and shares his top betting pick.

Nationals vs. Phillies Odds

Nationals Odds+140
Phillies Odds-165
Time7:05 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Philadelphia Phillies welcome division rival Washington Nationals for a three-game series on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies took two out of three from the Cardinals at home, while the Marlins recently swept the Nats in a four-game series.

Looking to bounce back, the Nationals send Paolo Espino to the mound. The Phillies counter with a spot start from left-hander Cristopher Sanchez.

Can the Nationals end their five-game skid against the Phillies, or will Sanchez and the Phillies’ bullpen lead them to victory?

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What to Expect From Paolo Espino

Serving as a reliever for the first couple of months of the season, Espino, a long-time journeyman, returned to the starting rotation in mid-June.

In four starts since, the 35-year-old has given up eight runs over 18 innings.

Not much has changed from year to year, though Espino has thrown his slider nearly 10% more often. He pitches to contact — which has been a relatively successful trend in 2022 — and rarely walks the opposition.

While Espino enters with a 2.80 ERA, his expected indicators sit in the low 4s — still a huge step forward from his previous three years in the majors.

Espino will rarely pitch past the fifth inning and still ranks around league average in most metrics despite them being career bests. He enters around the 50th percentile among qualified pitchers in hard-hit rate, xERA and barrel rate.

The Nationals’ splits against left-handed pitching are near-identical to right-handers, though they’re surprisingly more effective on the road. They slash .268/.337/.388 away from Nationals Park compared to a .238/.305/.370 slash line at home.

Over the last two weeks, the Nationals offense grades out similarly to the Phillies. They sit 21st in wRC+, 18th in wOBA and 25th in isolated power.

Bullpen to Play Big Role for Phillies

To replace the injured Ranger Suarez in the series opener, the Phillies called up Sanchez as a spot-start replacement.

Sanchez will serve as an opener on Tuesday night, pitching the first few innings before a bullpen day for Philadelphia. He has pitched over three innings just once in 2022.

The 25-year-old last pitched on June 11 and has thrown 15.2 innings across eight appearances. He has a 4.60 ERA and a near double-digit walk rate.

Sanchez relies on his sinker and owns a ground ball rate that ranges from the high 50s, low 60% across both the minors and majors.

He’s always had control issues — 5.92 BB/9 in Triple-A last season — which is where Sanchez’s struggles often originate. Opponents have just a .228 xBA and a hard-hit rate of 30% this season.

The Phillies’ bullpen will play a significant role in Tuesday night’s matchup, as Sanchez isn’t expected to pitch deep into the game. They’re 17th in ERA but give up the fourth-least home runs across MLB.

As for the offense, the Phillies have been around league average without Bryce Harper, who’s on the injured list with a broken thumb. Over the last 14 days, the Phillies are just 20th in wRC+ and wOBA and 19th in isolated power.

Nationals-Phillies Pick

Given the current line, I think the Nationals are undervalued on the road here.

While the Phillies have the offensive edge, I’m not so sure the pitching matchup is that lopsided. Sanchez is making his first appearance in nearly a month and has a proven track record with control issues.

He now draws a Nationals team that, while it struggles at the plate, has been disciplined with chasing pitches out of the zone. Over the last 14 days, the Nats have the fourth-best walk rate in the majors.

Espino is by no means a great pitcher, but he’s a veteran who gets the job done. He draws a Phillies offense that has been inconsistent in recent weeks without its best player.

Juan Soto is day-to-day with a calf injury, and his status should be monitored as game time nears. He pinch-hit yesterday, drawing a walk in the eventual loss.

Regardless, I think the Nationals are worth a look at their current price of +140. This is a game that I think should be closer to the +125-130 price.

Back Washington to end its five-game skid and take home the series opener against Sanchez and the Phillies on Tuesday night.

Pick: Nationals ML +140 (Play to +135)

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