Nationals vs. Phillies Odds & Pick: Bet Philadelphia on the Run Line (July 28)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler.
- The Philadelphia Phillies host the Washington Nationals in Wednesday's MLB showdown.
- The Phillies, who will send ace Zack Wheeler to the mound, are sitting just 3.5 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East standings.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the game below and explains why he likes Philadelphia to cruise to the victory.
Editor's Note: Wednesday's game between the Nationals and Phillies has been postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Washington organization.
Nationals vs. Phillies Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||7:05 p.m. ET|
The Philadelphia Phillies are having their best month of the season, going gone 13-9 during July so far. And because of that run, Philadelphia has climbed into second place in the NL East and sit 3.5 games behind the New York Mets.
After a fantastic June, the Washington Nationals have hit a wall and slid to 6-16 this month, falling to fourth in the division. Washington did snap a five-game losing streak Tuesday in their 6-4 victory over the Phillies.
These teams are now 5-5 against each other this season and the first two games of this series have been terrific. We got a walk-off home run by the Phillies on Monday, and the Nationals holding off their foes with the tying run at the plate in Tuesday's showdown.
Will we see another exciting contest Wednesday and who has the advantage? Let's take a look at what might be in store in this latest meeting.
Corbin Struggling on Mound for Nationals
A two-time All-Star with Arizona, Patrick Corbin was terrific during his first season in Washington, but has since seen his production decline rapidly.
In 2019, Corbin went 14-7 with a 3.25 ERA to help the Nationals win the World Series, but wound up just 2-7 in 2020 with a mediocre 4.66 ERA. Through 19 starts this year, Corbin is 6-9 with a 5.71 ERA and 5.12 FIP. His K/9 rate is just 6.92, down from 10.60 during his 2019 campaign.
Over his last four starts, Corbin has a 7.17 ERA. He has allowed 17 earned runs and totaled just 12 strikeouts. His most used pitch is his slider at 36.3% and that has actually been pretty good this year. However, his sinker, fastball and changeup have been crushed.
The good news for Washington is Juan Soto is on fire. Any notion the Home Run Derby screws up your swing is now dead thanks to Soto. Since the All-Star break, Soto is batting a blistering .375 with a .510 on-base percentage and 1.460 OPS. He has seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 11 games, both of which lead the league. In Tuesday's win, Soto went 2 for 4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.
The Nationals' offense was dealt a huge blow, though, with Trea Turner testing positive for COVID-19 and being pulled during Tuesday's game. Turner is having an excellent season, batting .322 and leading the team in hits, runs and stolen bases.
Wheeler Maintaining Dominant Form for Phillies
Is it an overreaction to say Zack Wheeler (RHP) is now the ace of this Phillies staff? Aaron Nola has struggled and Wheeler has an ERA two full runs lower at 2.37 this season. His ERA, as well as his 2.29 FIP, are the best marks of his career and helped him earn his first All-Star selection.
Wheeler has a great pitching mix, throwing a fastball averaging more than 97 miles per hour. Plus, he possesses a fantastic slider and sinker, as well as the occasional curveball. The most obvious improvement for Wheeler has been his strikeout numbers. Despite a good season last year, his K/9 rate was just 6.72. This year, he has boosted that number to 10.85 K/9. Wheeler has the second most strikeouts in the league this year behind only Gerrit Cole.
The best part about Wheeler is he has kept the struggling Phillies' relief pitchers in the bullpen as long as possible. He's averaging 6.6 innings per start this year, plus he has lasted at least six innings in 16 of his 20 starts and gone at least seven innings in 12 of them. Wheeler has allowed just eight home runs all season, the fourth-lowest among qualified starters.
Offensively, only two teams have scored more runs than Philadelphia in July. The Phillies have the sixth-best wOBA in the league this month. Bryce Harper, who is batting .378 since the break with a 1.142 OPS, is having a great season, along with Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura.
Another guy having a strong campaign is one of the game's best personalities in Andrew McCutchen. After tearing his ACL in 2019 and having a down 2020, the former league MVP already has 19 home runs, which is the third most in his career prior to August. McCutchen has an .852 OPS this year, his best mark since 2015. He has homered in back-to-back games, including an opposite field three-run walk off blast in Monday's contest.
The Phillies have a huge pitching advantage in this game. Wheeler has pitched like Philadelphia's ace and looked like one of the best pitchers in baseball this year. He ranks in the top 4% of the league in xERA, xwOBA and HardHit percentage. Wheeler also leads all pitchers in WAR this season.
For Washington, Corbin is in the bottom 11% of the league in xwOBA and xERA, plus the club has lost four of his last five starts.
As hot as Soto has been, losing Turner is a devastating loss, as he has been the Nationals' do-it-all man all season. The Phillies' lineup is much deeper than Washington’s group and has been better at home.
Philadelphia's biggest weakness is its bullpen, which is kind of negated by Washington. The Nationals have the worst reliever ERA in the league over the last 30 days, sitting at more than a full run more than the Phillies' bullpen.
Philadelphia opened at -200 odds, which is a price I am never going to play for a baseball game. However, I am comfortable backing the Phillies on the run line here at +110 and would play it at anything +100 or better.
Pick: Phillies -1.5 (+110)