Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Rockies vs. Phillies: Underrated Pitching Could Be Difference in Philadelphia (Sept. 9)

Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Rockies vs. Phillies: Underrated Pitching Could Be Difference in Philadelphia (Sept. 9) article feature image
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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Ranger Suarez

  • The Rockies and Phillies open a series on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
  • Antonio Senzatela takes the mound for Colorado against Ranger Suarez.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down the matchup below and makes his betting pick.

Rockies vs. Phillies Odds

Rockies Odds +150
Phillies Odds -185
Over/Under 8 (-115 / -105)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

After a 5-4 road trip, the Phillies return home to take on the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. Philadelphia actually began the trip with three wins, but went 2-4 in the remaining six games.

As for Colorado, it’s coming off a 2-5 homestand and is currently mired in a four-game losing streak. It’ll look to bounce back with Antonio Senzatela on the mound in the series opener. Ranger Suárez will oppose Senzatela for Philadelphia.

This season, we’ve seen that the Rockies are a completely different team at home vs. on the road.

They have the second-most home wins (45) and the second-most road losses (50). Given their current losing streak at home, combined with now having to go out on the road where they’ve struggled, the Rockies face a stiff challenge on Thursday night.

However, Senzatela’s recent form should warrant some consideration in this matchup. Let’s take a look at where the value might lie.

Some Positives For Colorado’s Senzatela

Senzatela comes into this game at 4-9 with a 4.16 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. At first glance, he’s probably been a bit unlucky given his win-loss record and an ERA slightly above four. A closer look suggests his advanced numbers would support that claim, as evidenced by his 3.61 FIP. Furthermore, if we look at his recent form, he’s actually experiencing some positive regression at the moment.

The Venezuelan native has registered a quality start in each of his last five outings. He allowed nine runs in those games and pitched to a 2.45 ERA and a 2.95 FIP. Two things stand out to me during this recent run:

  • His 1.36 BB/9 ratio is a big improvement compared to his season production of 1.84 BB/9.
  • His 0.27 HR/9 ratio has also been better during this run than the season (1.36 BB/9).

Senzatela has done a good job keeping the ball down with his four-seam fastball and a slider that carries a 27.5% whiff rate. It’s as if he’s almost conditioned to pitch down in the zone, given that he plays the majority of his games at Coors Field.

One might think that he’d be even better on the road — away from the high altitude — but that hasn’t necessarily been the case. He’s 1-6 on the highway with a 4.56 ERA vs. 3-3 with a 3.89 ERA at home. However, he’s allowed just four runs in his last 19 innings on the road.

Although he had to wait until August to pick up his first away victory, he did it in grand style by pitching seven shutout innings of two-hit ball against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He’ll now face a Phillies lineup with a .218/.317/.291 line against him in 55 at-bats.

I don’t think there’s any question that Senzatela is in a groove at the moment. The only question is whether his Colorado teammates will oblige him to come along for the ride on Thursday.

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Suárez Has Been A Revelation For Philly

Poor performances and injuries to the backend of the Phillies’ rotation paved the way for Suárez to be used as a starter. He began the season in the bullpen but has started in his last seven appearances. Overall, he’s 6-4 with a 1.38 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He’s been able to increase his workload in his last three starts as he’s completed at least five innings of work in each instance.

If we turn to his advanced numbers, he could be due for some regression, given his 3.08 FIP. That regression would likely stem from his 3.63 BB/9 ratio. Suárez has been able to work around his walks by stranding 85.4% of the runners that reach base. He also benefits from striking out nine batters per nine innings. To his credit, he’s done well to keep the ball in the park. His 0.38 HR/9 ratio is elite, but perhaps that’s not a surprise when you have a 2.78 GB/FB ratio.

Suárez has a devastating sinker which he features 46.1% of the time. In fact, he’s thrown it 518 times this season, and he’s yet to be tagged for a home run.

There are some similarities between Suárez and Senzatela, beyond the fact that they’re both Venezuelan. Both have demonstrated an ability to pitch down in the zone, perhaps out of necessity, given that their home parks favor hitters.

Moreover, I think the Phillies are on to something here with this left-hander. He’s done a nice job mixing in his changeup (24.8%), a four-seamer (22.7%), and a slider (6.4%) with his sinker. FanGraphs Pitch Values rates all four of his pitches as above average.

He’s also benefited from an additional 2 mph of velocity over the last two seasons. This is the fourth season he’s made an appearance in the majors since his first call-up in 2018. Sometimes it takes pitchers a bit longer to figure things out — particularly left-handers. And based on his advanced metrics, I don’t think there’s anything fluky about his performances.

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Rockies-Phillies Pick

This is a tough game to call because I think the Rockies are being penalized for their poor road form. That’s the only explanation I can give as to why the Phillies opened as a -190 favorite. The market didn’t take long to weigh in as the Phillies have been bet down to as low as -174. However, I can’t bring myself to back a Rockies team that’s -22.5 units on the road this season.

My model makes Philadelphia no more than a -135 favorite on the moneyline. Given Senzatela’s form, I’d prefer to take a shot with the Rockies on the first five run line. The Colorado right-hander is actually 50-41-2 for 6.09 units in this spot.

BetMGM is offering Colorado at +0.5 at +100. I like that price, and I’ve also talked myself into playing the under 0.5 runs in the first inning.

Both starters are ground ball pitchers who limit home runs. Senzatela also has good numbers against this Phillies lineup, and the Rockies only have three at-bats against Suárez.

I think the under offers some reasonable value at -110 odds.

Pick: Rockies F5 RL +0.5 (+100)

Bonus: First inning under 0.5 runs (-110)

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