Phillies vs. Cubs Odds & Preview: Can You Trust Either Starter? (July 6)

Phillies vs. Cubs Odds & Preview: Can You Trust Either Starter? (July 6) article feature image
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Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola.

Phillies vs. Cubs Odds

Phillies Odds -129
Cubs Odds +110
Over/Under 9.5
Time 8:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Tuesday morning and via DraftKings.

The Philadelphia Phillies took the first game of their three-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Monday night, 13-3.

The Phillies offense was led by big performances from Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm and Odubel Herrera. Hoskins and Bohm each contributed two-hit games, while all added home runs that accounted for six of the team’s 13 runs.

The Cubs, meanwhile, saw strong outings at the plate from Javier Baez and Jake Marisnick, each of whom homered in the loss.

Both starting pitchers tonight have been inconsistent, to say the least, so far in 2021. Are there simply too many moving parts in this one to warrant a wager, or can we count on the Cubs to even the series tonight at home?

Aaron Nola Has Been Surprisingly Inconsistent for Phillies

Despite what has been an overall solid season thus far for tonight’s starter Aaron Nola, we’ve seen extremely inconsistent play from the Phillies ace in the last month. Over his past five starts, Nola has pitched to a 4.16 FIP and struck out opposing batters at an impressive 14.4 K/9 clip. During that same time, however, he’s also allowed an uncharacteristically high 2.2 HR/9.

In fact, during that same five-game span, he has two starts where he’s allowed 13 earned runs over just 7 innings, and two others where he’s allowed zero earned runs over 13 innings.

While his season numbers overall are still strong (3.47 FIP, 11.14 K/9), it’s been difficult to decide which Nola we can expect to see. That said, the matchup in this one is not overly imposing. The Cubs have not fared all that well against righties so far this season, hitting to just a .300 wOBA thus far (20th in MLB).

Even if Nola can put together one of his better performances, the Phillies bullpen has been difficult to trust. Over 271 2/3 innings so far, they’ve pitched to a 4.59 FIP, the sixth highest mark amongst all teams. Even Jose Alvarado, who has been reliable all year, has fallen apart since being named the closer in late June.

Arrieta Struggling Mightily for Cubs

Jake Arrieta has not experienced much success so far throughout the 2021 season. Over 72 2/3 innings this year, Arrieta has pitched to a 5.84 FIP, allowed 4.2 BB/9 and 1.98 HR/9 to opposing batters. He’s also allowed a ton of hard contact, with 47% of batted balls against him being returned at high speeds.

In his last start against the Brewers, he allowed six runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks over just 1 2/3 innings. While some poor defensive plays also contributed to things getting out of control quickly in that one, poor outings are not something new for Arrieta. In fact, he hasn’t thrown a quality start since May 14 against the Detroit Tigers. He’s also currently pitching to the worst ERA, BB/9 and HR/9 of his entire career.

Tonight, however, he’ll have a relatively favorable matchup against a Phillies team that has struggled against right-handed pitching this season, collectively hitting to just a .296 wOBA (fifth-worst in MLB) so far. While they did break out a bit last night with nine runs combined in the eighth and ninth inning, the Phillies have struggled to score runs of-late, averaging just 3.8 runs over their previous five games.

If Arrieta’s struggles continue, Cubs manager David Ross will feel comfortable turning the ball over to a bullpen that has been one of the better units in all of baseball this season. Over 321 innings pitched, they’ve compiled a 3.76 FIP, the fifth-best mark amongst all teams.

Phillies vs. Cubs Pick

There are just too many question marks to feel confident about a wager in this one. While Nola’s season numbers and history should give the Phillies a distinct advantage in the starting pitching department, his recent inconsistencies make it impossible to peg which version of the starter we’ll see tonight.

On the other side, Arrieta has been a disaster for the Cubs, but he’ll have the benefit of taking on a Phillies team that hasn’t found much success at all against righties so far this season.

While there are strong arguments that can be made for taking either side of the money line or total, there are too many counter points on each to feel comfortable with any specific angle. As such, I’m staying away on this one.

Pick: No Bet

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