MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Phillies vs. Giants: Phillies Have Pitching Advantage With Eflin (Sunday, June 20)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Phillies vs. Giants: Phillies Have Pitching Advantage With Eflin (Sunday, June 20) article feature image
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Michael reaves/getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin.

  • San Francisco welcomes Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon for one final times in the series' rubber match.
  • The Phillies have the pitching edge with Zach Eflin facing Sammy Long in his MLB debut.
  • Kenny Ducey explains below why he just can't trust Long enough yet to back the Giants.

Phillies vs. Giants Odds

Phillies Odds +112
Giants Odds -134
Over/Under 8 (-112 / -109)
Time 4:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Sunday morning via DraftKings.

After taking the second game of their weekend series against the San Francisco Giants in commanding fashion Saturday, the Philadelphia Phillies will look to stay hot with a win in Sunday’s rubber match.

Zach Eflin will look to continue his string of effective starts against left-hander Sammy Long, a 25-year-old making his first big-league start.

Is it time to sell high on the Phillies against one of the beasts of the National League or is there some value left? Let’s have a look at the matchup below.

Philadelphia Hitters Starting to Find Groove

The one word to describe the Phillies in this spot would be “improvement.” Everything seems to be looking up for these bats, who have collectively posted a 110 wRC+ over the past two weeks to show a pulse after what’s been an awfully disappointing season.

Alec Bohm had looked completely lost, but he’s now gone 13 for 39 (.359 BA) over the past two weeks. Rhys Hoskins was mired in a giant slump as well, but appeared to snap out of it with a two-homer game Saturday.

Ronald Torreyes has provided offense at the bottom of the lineup and at the shortstop position, which has pretty much been a lost cause ever since Didi Gregorius went down with an injury. Speaking of positions the Phillies were hurting at, Odubel Herrera has surprised us and backed up his fast start in the bigs with some consistency, seemingly solving the club’s center-field problem.

That might just read like a list of players who will feature in Sunday’s game, but it’s important to realize that this lineup isn’t just Bryce Harper, Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto anymore. Some of Philly’s uber-talented bats have finally started to turn it around and, collectively, this team has ranked third in contact rate over the past two weeks, a feat that simply was unimaginable last month.

Improvement is also the name of the game with Eflin, who has started to figure it out at the big-league level ever so slowly. His ERA had improved in each of the last three years entering 2021, and while it’s two points higher this season, his 3.50 xERA would indicate he could stand to see it lower for a fourth consecutive year.

His walk rate has been exceptional at just 3.1%, but if there’s one bone to pick here it’s that he’s allowing much more quality contact which doesn’t jive with his poor strikeout numbers.

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Despite Recent Loss, San Francisco Has Been in Fine Form

It’s hard to argue that the Phillies are in that much better shape than the Giants when you consider that San Francisco had won five in a row before Saturday’s loss. And even though a home sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks is nothing to write home about these days, the numbers have been there for San Francisco.

The Giants sit fourth in wRC+ over the past two weeks, just narrowly worse in the contact department than the Phillies, and hitting the ball on 79.7% of swings to rank fifth within the split.

The offense has been the bigger of the two question marks all year, who have gotten tremendous efforts out of their starters so far, but lately it’s been the pitching that’s been the more suspect. Long has made two appearances at the big-league level, allowing five runs in six total innings. Though four of them came in the same appearance, that games came against the Diamondbacks, so judge away.

What Long has done at this level, though, is strike out nearly 30% of hitters and pitch to a 1.73 xERA. That would seem to line up with what we’ve seen from the lefty at the minor-league level, considering he struck out 15 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings across two Triple-A outings, and sat down 22 hitters over 15 innings Double-A games.

It’s unknown how deep the Giants really expect him to go here, but judging by the amount of innings the bullpen has given them over the past couple of games, it’s fair to assume he’s not going to be just an opener here.

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Phillies-Giants Pick

I am caught between a rock and a hard place here, because I don’t want to shortchange Long. He has the potential to be a pretty neat pitcher and his strikeout stuff is real.

That said, Philadelphia’s high-contact ways over the past two weeks and its low 20% strikeout rate have me wondering just how effective the lefty can be.

Speaking of, the Phillies have been above-average against southpaws all year, which makes them an even tastier bet. I think the core members of this team will continue to stay hot and progress, and the Phillies will get to Long and what’s left of the Giants’ bullpen.

It doesn’t hurt that Eflin, who’s been one of their more dependable arms, will get the ball against a dangerous offense either.

Pick: Phillies ML (+112)

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