Phillies vs. Nationals Betting Odds & Pick: Gray Gets First Start for New-Look Nats
Justin Berl/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper.
- The Phillies look to keep their NL East hopes alive in Washington against the Nationals.
- Ranger Suarez will go from closer to starter for the Phillies, while newly acquired right-hander Josiah Gray will start for the Nationals.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down this divisional matchup and which side he sees value on.
Phillies vs. Nationals Odds
|Time||Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings|
The Philadelphia Phillies were able to avoid being swept by the lowly Pirates with a big win on Sunday in Kyle Gibson’s Philadelphia debut. The win kept the Phillies in second place in the NL East standings as they sit 3 1/2 games behind the Mets.
The Washington Nationals, meanwhile, are coming off a series win against the Chicago Cubs in the Trade Deadline Bowl, with both teams selling the majority of their top talent as rebuilds begin.
Washington will look much different than they did when the Phillies saw them just last week. The Nationals traded away Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Yan Gomes, Josh Harrison, Daniel Hudson, Jon Lester, Brad Hand and Kyle Schwarber.
These two teams split a four-game set last week and have played to an even 6-6 record in the season series to this point, but will things be different now with the depleted Nationals roster?
Phils Hope Suárez’s Success Continues as Starter
It is not often you see a player go from the closer to a start in the middle of season, but that is what the Phillies will do with Ranger Suárez on Monday. The left-hander will make his first start since 2018 as newly acquired Ian Kennedy will take over the closer role.
Throughout this season, the struggling Phillies bullpen has relied on Suárez to fill a variety of roles, most recently being used as the closer after Héctor Neris lost the job. Suárez has been one of the only relievers that Philadelphia has been able to rely on this year.
In 27 appearances this year, Suárez has been nails, allowing just five earned runs in 40 1/3 innings, good for a 1.12 ERA. His go-to pitch is a sinker that he throws 47.1% of the time and has allowed just a .129 batting average and .165 wOBA this year. Suárez is not a huge strikeout guy but has produced and incredible 64.6 ground-ball rate.
The Phillies finished July sixth in runs scored and eighth in wOBA. They kicked off August by putting up 15 runs and 20 hits against the Pirates yesterday. Every single starter scored a run, including the pitcher. Philadelphia tallied nine doubles in the game. JT Realmuto went 5-for-6 with two doubles and four RBIs and Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with three doubles.
Harper is batting .415 with a 1.269 OPS over the last two weeks and in 11 games against his former club this season, he is batting .417 with a 1.387 OPS and four home runs.
New-Look Nats Turn to Gray
Nationals’ fans will quickly get a look at the prized prospect they received from the Dodgers in the Max Scherzer and Trea Turner trade. Josiah Gray will make his Washington debut on Monday. He is currently ranked the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect and the No. 41 overall prospect in baseball.
Gray made his MLB debut for Los Angeles on July 20, throwing four innings of relief, and he made his first career start on July 25, also tossing four frames. In his two appearances, he has allowed six runs in eight innings. The good for Gray has been his 13 strikeouts, a 14.63 K/9 rate. The bad is in just two games, he has allowed five walks and four home runs.
The 23-year old had a 2.87 ERA in three Triple-A starts this year and a 12.64 K/9 rate. He has a terrific slider but has served up some fastballs in his limited big league action.
It doesn’t make sense to look at any of the Nationals’ offensive stats since most of that team is no longer on the roster. The one person that matters at this point is Juan Soto.
Since the All-Star break, Soto is batting .375 with a 1.324 OPS. He has hit seven home runs and totaled 16 RBIs in 16 games. It will be up to Soto and Josh Bell to give this offense life for the rest of this season.
It might be a little risky backing a guy who has not made a start in three years and has been used a the closer recently, but Suárez has been terrific this year and proven to be solid in any role he has been thrust into. And while he hasn’t started in three years, he still has three career starts compared to just one from Gray.
Suárez has made four relief appearances against Washington this year and is yet to allow a run in 6 1/3 innings against the Nationals. He has allowed just three hits and has picked up two wins, including last Thursday, which was his most recent appearance.
He is expected to pitch about three innings or 50 pitches in his first start in three years. The most pitches he has thrown in a game this season was actually against the Nationals on June 5. He threw 47 pitches in three innings of relief and didn’t allow a hit en route to earning the victory.
I don’t expect either starter to last too long and despite the issues with the Phillies bullpen at times, the Nationals has been worse. Washington’s bullpen ranks last in the league in ERA over the last month and just traded two of their best relievers in Hudson and Hand.
The Phillies are only -125 due to the uncertainty with Suárez moving to the rotation, but I still think there is value on Philadelphia, which is fighting for a playoff spot, against rebuilding Nationals team. I would back the Phils to -135.
Pick: Phillies (-125, play to -135)