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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Yankees vs. Phillies: New York’s Bullpen Should Improve (Saturday, June 12)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Yankees vs. Phillies: New York’s Bullpen Should Improve (Saturday, June 12) article feature image

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon.

  • The Philadelphia Phillies host the New York Yankees in a Saturday MLB matinee.
  • The Yankees have lost six of their last 10 games and now face the Phillies, who are in the thick of things in the NL East race.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the game below and details why he's backing New York to grab the road victory.

Yankees vs. Phillies Odds

Yankees Odds-129
Phillies Odds+112
Time4:05 p.m. ET
TVMLB Network
Odds as of Friday night via DraftKings.

After taking a series from the Minnesota Twins, the New York Yankees are hoping to get back on track this weekend in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Phillies have won their last two series — both at home — against National League East opponents.

These two offenses are questionable, but both starting pitchers have massive red flags as well. Hence, that’s why the total is currently sitting at 9.5 runs.

So, which questionable pitcher/lineup combination will get the job done in Saturday’s series opener? Let’s dive into where the value lies.

Things Not Looking Good For Stumbling Yankees

What is going on in the Bronx?

The Yankees, who have dropped six of their last 10 games, have recently gotten swept by the Boston Red Sox and the dreadful Detroit Tigers. The Yankees now find themselves six games out of the AL East, holding a run differential of just +1 as well.

While it’s looked mostly pathetic, the Yankees’ offense has been just mediocre during this recent stretch. The Yankee lineup ranks 15th in the league in OPS (.726), wOBA (.316) and wRC+ (102) over the past two weeks.

Giancarlo Stanton has looked downright awful of late, most recently going through a 2-for-24 stretch where he recorded 12 strikeouts to just four walks. However, he went 6 for 15 with three home runs in the Twins series, and his Statcast numbers suggest he should start performing just fine.

Starting pitcher — Jameson Taillon (RHP)

Taillon has had his fair share of poor luck. He sports a 5.09 ERA and a 4.43 FIP, but also holds a 3.71 xERA and a 4.35 xFIP this season. Additionally, his xwOBA is more than 20 points lower than his wOBA, and he’s on pace to post the highest strikeout rate of his career.

Taillon is due for some positive regression. But the question is: How much?

Taillon has still posted a measly 34.9% ground-ball rate, combined with an absurdly high 20.7 degree average launch angle. He also ranks in the bottom quarter of qualified pitchers in both average exit velocity (90.3 mph) and hard-hit percentage (42.3%). So, he’s allowing a lot of hard-hit fly balls, which is a bad combination.

Either way, his most recent stretch has been brutal. He’s posted a 5.18 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP while pitching just 24 1/3 innings over his past five starts. The Yankees lost three of those games.

Recent Stretch of Solid Efforts Have Phillies in Mix

The Phillies are in the middle of a long home stand, so naturally they’ve been winning games.

Over their last six contests, the Phillies took two of three from the Washington Nationals and then two of three from the Atlanta Braves. That upped Philadelphia’s home record to 19-12 and kept it alive in the division race.

The offense has been lackluster all-around for Philadelphia, but the pitching has made the difference at Citizens Bank. The Phillies’ staff ranks 10th in home FIP (3.74), but 22nd in away FIP (4.47), although their road xFIP is a bit lower (4.22) this season.

Odubel Herrera has been getting it done for the Phillies recently, as he’s batting .333 with a .975 OPS over his last 10 games.

Starting pitcher — Vince Velasquez (RHP)

Velasquez has been very frustrating.

All season, his advanced statistics have suggested a lot of negative regression. He ranks among the bottom 10% of qualified pitchers in things like barrel percentage (11.8%), hard-hit percentage (46.8%), walk rate (13.8%) and average exit velocity (91.8 mph).

Yet, he had a five-game stretch in May when he allowed just three runs in 24 1/3 innings (1.11 ERA), while striking out 27 batters. Additionally, he posted a WHIP under 1.00 and an OPS under .550 during that stretch.

However, it looks like the regression train has finally pulled into the Velasquez station. In his last two starts against the Cincinnati Reds and the Nationals, Velasquez allowed nine runs on nine hits through seven innings. He struck out seven in the process, but also walked four hitters.

Needless to say, I’m ready for more of these outings from Velasquez.

Yankees-Phillies Pick

These are two heavy fastball pitchers, as both Taillon and Velasquez throw their four-seamers around half the time. Both have had success and failure with their fastballs this season.

However, this matchup favors Taillon.

As mentioned, Taillon is due for some positive regression and that rings true for his fastball as well. He’s posted a .326 wOBA, but a .291 xwOBA on the pitch so far this season. This is a great spot for some fastball regression, as the Phillies rank 27th in MLB in weighted fastball runs created (-10.1) overall.

The Yankees aren’t much better against the fastball, as their 3.3 weighted fastball runs created ranks just 17th in baseball. However, Velasquez cannot continue to get away with his absurdly poor advanced metrics and I fully believe he’s due for more poor starts.

Both the bullpens have been poor lately, but New York still has the most talented relief staff in baseball. If the game is decided in the later innings, I’d rather bet on Aroldis Chapman than Hector Neris (no offense to Neris).

Therefore, I’m looking to play the Yankees as medium-to-short road favorites. I bet New York at -125 at William Hill on Friday, but I’d take them  to -140 odds.

Pick: Yankees ML (-129 — play to -140)

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