Phillies vs. Dodgers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Bryce Harper and Philadelphia on the Road (May 15)

Phillies vs. Dodgers Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Bryce Harper and Philadelphia on the Road (May 15) article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Castellanos (left) and Bryce Harper (right).

Phillies vs. Dodgers Odds

Phillies Odds+120
Dodgers Odds-145
Time4:10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Injuries to their rotation mean the Dodgers have had to pitch their starters on regular rest more than they'd like. On Saturday, Eric Stephen of True Blue LA reported that in the Dodgers' first 31 games, their starters only pitched on four days' rest nine times.

This is a deliberate strategy by the Dodgers to keep their starters healthy throughout the season. It's also produced impressive results as their starters have a 1.61 ERA pitching on extra rest and a 4.20 ERA with four days between starts.

This recent series against the Phillies has undoubtedly tested the Dodgers. With Clayton Kershaw joining Andrew Heaney on the IL, Los Angeles now has to juggle the rotation, which means it no longer has the depth that was considered a strength of the team. As a result, the Dodgers are currently stretched in their rotation and the bullpen.

The Dodgers are running out of options, so they'll dip into their minor league system and call up Michael Grove from Double-A for his major league debut. Philadelphia will counter with Aaron Nola, who's still searching for his first win since Opening Day.

While you might be banking on the Dodgers to bounce back and avoid getting swept, one could argue that Nola is just as due for a win. I'll expand on that and explain why the Dodgers could face a tough challenge in snapping their four-game losing streak.

Can Nola Finally Get a Win for the Phillies?

Nola will hope the Phillies offense hasn't exhausted all their runs after averaging 9.6 runs through three games against the Dodgers. Despite pitching reasonably well this season, the Phillies ace is just 1-4 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. However, his advanced numbers suggest he's been better, given his 2.47 xERA and a 2.64 xFIP.

If there's one thing that's probably hurt Nola most, it's the long ball. His 1.35 HR/9 ratio is currently the highest of his career. Most of the damage against Nola occurs when he throws his changeup. Per Baseball Savant, opponents have a .355 batting average against the pitch. However, their xBA is almost 100 points lower at .259. That supports the notion that Nola's pitched in some tough luck this season.

In his last start, Nola threw his changeup just 10% of the time. It was his lowest pitch usage in any of his seven starts. He might've opted to feature the pitch less often, given its mixed results. If so, that wouldn't be a bad thing heading into this start against Los Angeles. According to FanGraphs, the Dodgers are a league-high 14.7 Runs Above Average when facing a changeup.

Dodgers Looking to Snap Their Losing Streak

Grove probably wouldn't be making his major league debut if not for a midseason arm slot adjustment last year.

Taking a look back at some of the progress Michael Grove made, going from 92-94 in the first 3 months to 95-97 in the last 2 is no accident. This is June 16th vs July 31st, pause is at foot strike, note the significant change in spine angle and how much longer he stays closed:

— Josh Thomas (@jokeylocomotive) October 11, 2021

The adjustment helped reduce his Walk Rate from 5.32 BB/9 in 2021 to 2.76 BB/9 this season. Grove has a plus fastball that can touch 99 mph, and Mark Polishuk of MLBTradeRumors writes that his slider received a 60-rating on the 20-80 scouting scale from MLB Pipeline.

Occasionally, Grove will feature a 12-6 curveball that he'll throw early in the count to get ahead of hitters. He also has a changeup predominantly reserved for left-handed hitters. While his 12.12 K/9 ratio is promising, it came against minor league hitters. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge the phrase that stuff plays in baseball. So far, be it from me to suggest that Grove can't compete at this level.

My only question is how many innings can the Dodgers expect from Grove? In his five minor league starts, he's only racked up 16 1/3 innings. Thus, the Dodgers' relievers will likely play a considerable part on Sunday.

This season, the Dodgers bullpen ranks seventh with a 3.29 ERA. However, over the past seven days, that number's ballooned to 6.38 — 27th in the league. As a result, I'm not sure I can trust the Dodgers if their bullpen is forced to play more of a leading role instead of just a cameo appearance in Sunday's finale.

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Phillies-Dodgers Pick

We shouldn't overlook the impact that Bryce Harper is having on the Phillies. The reigning MVP has a .305/.361/.634 line with nine home runs and 27 RBIs. Overall, the Phillies rank second with a .332 wOBA, a .256 batting average, and a .179 ISO. Furthermore, Philadelphia leads the majors in slugging at .435.

It's one thing to put up good numbers, but it's another thing when you're still able to do it against the mighty Dodgers. This Phillies lineup is as good as any team in baseball, and I'm sure the Dodgers' pitchers can't wait until they leave town.

As for their pitching, Nola is more than capable of having a good outing against Los Angeles. After all, the Dodgers lineup has just a .108/.140/.143 line against him in 148 at-bats. And although the Phillies are just 89-89 in Nola's starts, they're 4-1 (+3.76 units) when the opponent is the Dodgers.

With the Dodgers' pitching in disarray, I like the value with the Phillies as underdogs. After shopping around, I found that WynnBet has the best price at +126. I'll risk a half-unit on Philadelphia completing the sweep on the road.

Pick: Half-Unit on Phillies Moneyline (+126)

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