Nationals vs Phillies Odds & Pick | Thursday MLB Betting Preview
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola (Phillies)
Nationals vs Phillies Odds
The Phillies have quieted an unseasonably hot Nationals team this week in Philly, taking two of three to begin this contentious divisional series. They can finish off Washington in a big way on Thursday by taking a third game behind Aaron Nola, but will the Phillies ace have what it takes?
Let's break it all down in our Nationals vs. Phillies preview and prediction.
The Nationals haven't exactly torn the cover off the ball lately, but they've still won five of their last seven. In the last week, Washington has posted a respectable 96 wRC+ with a solid 9.3% walk rate and very low 19.5% strikeout rate. Putting the ball in play is nothing new for the Nationals, who have struck out in just 18.9% of plate appearances this year, but the more patient approach and injection of power (.200 ISO) certainly are.
The future for this team is very bright, and with Lane Thomas leading the way with a 1.225 OPS over the last week and CJ Abrams hitting .269 over the same period of time, it's certainly understandable to get excited about the Nats right now. This is a team with a lot of young talent which is starting to come together down the stretch.
I've really done a great job of avoiding Patrick Corbin talk here, but we are going to need to touch on him briefly. The left-hander has once again thrown a lot of strikes, as evidenced by his 6.3% walk rate, but he's posted a ridiculously bad .313 xBA which is a career-worst and a number that 99% of pitchers in baseball have been able to top.
Corbin's sinker has been able to lead him to a somewhat decent 46.3% ground-ball rate, but with a 45% hard-hit rate and an expected batting average like that, there's certainly nothing suggesting things will improve for the southpaw.
The Phillies are coming off of a magical night which saw Michael Lorenzen throw a no-hitter, and it's very unlikely that Aaron Nola will be able to follow that up with the same sort of magic.
One of the most confusing pitchers in baseball, Nola has seamlessly alternated between brilliance and incompetence. He's put up double-digit strikeout numbers and worked deep into games against some of the league's best teams, and as we've seen lately he's also been knocked around by some of the worst.
Nola has now allowed 10 earned runs on 17 hits and three walks over 10 innings in his past two starts, which have come against the Pirates and Royals. His expected batting average in four of his last five starts has been at .270 or higher, and his ground ball rate continues to crater. Once at 50.6% in the month of June, Nola's ground ball rate dropped below the league average in July and was at 13% in his last start.
Nationals vs. Phillies Betting Pick
Despite the fact that the line has drifted away from the Nationals here, we've tracked some sharp action and big money on Washington to win this game and lock up a series split against the Phillies. I'd say the chances of a no-hit hangover are high here, and the numbers would seem to indicate that Nola is trending in the wrong direction.
At the very least, Washington has been a competent offense over the last week which makes me confident that it can get to Nola here with the way he's been throwing.
On the flip side, while Corbin hasn't been amazing by any means the Phillies' rather meek .164 ISO over the last two weeks has me somewhat excited on the lefty's behalf. He's been effective enough at rolling up ground balls that he should be able to look average, at worst, against a team which hasn't been hitting the ball all that hard.
I like the Nationals to steal this one.