Odds, Preview, Prediction Phillies vs. Nationals: Back Philadelphia and Zack Wheeler Against Washington (Tuesday, August 3)

Odds, Preview, Prediction Phillies vs. Nationals: Back Philadelphia and Zack Wheeler Against Washington (Tuesday, August 3) article feature image

Rob Tringali/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.

  • Phillies ace Zack Wheeler is looking for a second straight quality start against the Phillies on Tuesday night.
  • Patrick Corbin is looking to bounce back after a shaky outing against the Phillies last week.
  • Mike Vitanza breaks down where he sees betting value in this matchup below.

Phillies vs. Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds-165
Nationals Odds+135
Time7:05 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday morning via BetMGM.

The Philadelphia Phillies took the first game of this series against the Washington Nationals on Monday, earning a 7-5 road victory.

The Phillies mounted a ninth inning rally where they tallied five runs en route to the victory. Odubel Herrera, Alec Bohm, JT Realmuto and Jean Segura all drove in runs to lead them offensively. Herrera also added a solo home run in the fifth inning.

The Nationals, meanwhile, almost mounted a comeback of their own with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but they fell just short. They had six hits overall, including home runs by Carter Kieboom and Andrew Stevenson.

With Zack Wheeler on the mound, the Phillies will expect to take game two of this series here. Can they pull it off on the road for the second night in a row?

Philadelphia Phillies

Wheeler will take hill for the Phillies in what will amount to his second consecutive start against the Nationals. When he last faced this same offense on July 29, he pitched seven solid innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits while striking out five batters, in a game they eventually lost.

Overall, Wheeler has been spectacular. In 139 2/3 innings, he’s compiled a 2.41 FIP, allowed just 0.58 HR/9 to opponents and has retired batters at a 10.63 K/9 clip. The last number is particularly impressive considering he averaged just 6.72 K/9 in 2020.

The biggest difference between this season and last has been his pitch mix. Wheeler has featured his slider nearly 27% of the time this year versus just 16% in 2020, resulting in more strikeouts and a lower Hard Hit rate (he’s allowing just 29.5% this season versus 34% in 2020, per Stat Cast).

He’s also been consistent in giving his team distance in games where he’s handed the ball. In fact, Wheeler has pitched at least six innings in five of his last six starts. In the one where he didn’t reach that milestone, he pitched 5 2/3 innings.

Even if Wheeler doesn’t happen to keep that streak alive, manager Joe Girardi will feel relatively comfortable turning the ball over to a Phillies bullpen that has been solid for him, collectively pitching to a 4.18 FIP thus far (12th best in MLB). While Washington’s season numbers overall this year are solid against righties (.316 team wOBA), the current version of their starting lineup is just a semblance of what it was earlier in the season due to both injuries and trade.

Washington Nationals

Patrick Corbin gets the nod for the Nationals at home in the second game of this division series on Tuesday night. Corbin has struggled quite mightily this season in all aspects of his game.

Over 109 innings, he’s pitched to a 5.38 FIP, allowed a 39.9% Hard Hit rate (per Stat Cast) and seem himself fall victim to the long ball at a high 1.8 HR/9 clip. He’s also seen his strikeout rate drop from an average of 8.2 K/9 last season to just a 6.8 K/9 average this year.

Like Wheeler, this will also be his second consecutive start against the same opponent. Last time out, the Phillies tagged him for four earned runs – including three home runs – in just four innings pitched. Unfortunately, outings like that have become the norm for Corbin in 2021.

The Nationals bullpen hasn’t been much better. In 360 innings pitched this year, they’ve combined for a 4.43 xFIP, the 10th highest in all of baseball.

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Phillies-Nationals Pick

While there’s something to say for home field advantage, it will be tough for the Nationals to capitalize on it tonight with Corbin on the mound and a depleted roster to help defend him.

Between a season ravaged by injury and recent trades that included top stars Max Scherzer and Trea Turner, there just isn’t enough firepower here to back them.

The Nationals are outmatched in terms of both pitching and hitting in this one, so even at -165, this is a solid bet on the Phillies. I don’t typically like taking a money line this high, but all signs point to the Phillies taking care of business again.

Grab it before it jumps any higher, however, as this one could jump up quickly as the day progresses.

Pick: Phillies (-165)

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