The Phillies and Guardians kick off a weekend series Friday night in Cleveland. The Phillies are road favorites with -135 moneyline odds, while the Guardians are at +115. The over/under sits at 8 runs with -115 odds on the over and -105 odds on the under. The prediction here is that the Phillies win and the total goes over 8 runs.
Phillies vs. Guardians Prediction
Starting pitchers LHP Ranger Suárez (2-4, 3.84 ERA) vs. RHP Gavin Williams (1-2, 3.94 ERA)
Ranger Suárez was one of the best pitchers in baseball in June, when he posted a 1.08 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over five starts, including matchups with powerful lineups like the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Braves. He lowered his ERA from 7.13 at the end of May to 3.18 a month later.
However, he has been struggling again in July with a 5.82 ERA over three starts. Could today’s matchup with Cleveland be just what the Phillies’ lefty needs to get back on track?
Cleveland has struggled at the plate this season, posting a 92* wRC+ (23rd in the league), though they have been better recently with a 108 mark since June 1 (8th). However, they have struggled against left-handed pitchers all season, with just an 88 wRC+ against lefties this season (27th) and a slightly better mark of 99 in July (19th).
That matchup favors the Phillies, as does the matchup of the Phillies’ lineup against Guardians right-hander Gavin Williams. The 23-year-old rookie has posted solid marks through his first five starts, but those numbers are skewed by one excellent outing.
Williams threw 7 scoreless innings and allowed just two baserunners against the Royals. In his other four starts, he has a 5.16 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Now he faces a Phillies lineup that has been crushing right-handed pitchers of late (yesterday’s dominant performance by Corbin Burnes notwithstanding). Philadelphia has posted a 115 wRC+ against righties in July, good for 8th in the league.
The Phillies have turned around their season after a slow start and have climbed into a wildcard spot. They are 20-10 over their last 30 games, tied for the 2nd best mark in the majors.
With the hotter bats and an advantage on the mound, the -135 moneyline odds on a Phillies win are a solid play in this game. And given the inconsistency we’ve seen from Suárez recently, and a rookie on the other side of the pitching matchup, I am also playing the over at 8 runs.
Phillies vs. Guardians Prediction: Phillies moneyline (-135), over 8 runs (-115)
*all statistics taken before Thursday’s games
Phillies vs. Guardians Odds
The Phillies opened as road favorites with -140 moneyline odds, which dropped slightly to -135 as of this writing. As home underdogs, the Guardians are at +115 on the moneyline.
On the run line, the Phillies are laying -1.5 runs with +125 odds, while the Guardians are getting +1.5 with -145 odds.
The over/under total opened at 8.5 runs and dropped to 8 runs. The odds on the over are at -115 while the under is at -105.
Phillies vs. Guardians Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Phillies vs. Guardians.
Gavin Williams vs. Phillies power
The fastest way for a young pitcher like Williams to get rattled is to give up a few long balls. That’s exactly what happened in his start against the Braves, when he allowed 3 home runs and 4 earned runs in his first career loss.
Most of the Phillies’ power bats have been quieter than they would like this season, especially Bryce Harper, but they have started heating up of late. They are 5th in slugging and 9th in home runs since July 1.
Philadelphia’s two biggest power bats – Harper and Kyle Schwarber – both hit from the left side and should benefit from the matchup with a right-hander. That is part of the reason for my pick that the Phillies will win and the over will hit in my Phillies vs. Guardians prediction.
For the over to hit, there likely needs to be some runs scored early in the game, as both of these teams can roll out some excellent relief pitchers.
The Guardians’ bullpen has the second-best ERA in baseball at 3.43 while the Phillies are not far behind at 3.82 (11th). The Phillies have the edge in the advanced metrics, as their relief staff is 9th in FIP and xFIP as a unit.
Guardians closer Emmanuel Clase is 5th in the majors with 25 saves, though he also has a league-high 7 blown saves. The rest of the Guardians’ pen features three relievers with at least 35 appearances and a sub-3.00 ERA – Enyel De Los Santos (2.72), Nick Sandlin (2.70) and Eli Morgan (2.29).
Cleveland not only gets the edge here because of their numbers, but also because of health. Two of the Phillies’ top bullpen arms – Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado – are currently on the IL.
For a Phillies bet to pay off, they need to score some runs early against Williams and build a lead before the bullpens take over.
Phillies vs. Guardians Starting Lineups (Projected)
Phillies Starting Lineup
LF Kyle Schwarber (L)
SS Trea Turner (R)
RF Nick Castellanos (R)
DH Bryce Harper (L)
C J.T. Realmuto (R)
2B Bryson Stott (L)
3B Alec Bohm (R)
1B Darick Hall (L)
CF Brandon Marsh (L)
Guardians Starting Lineup
LF Steven Kwan (L)
SS Amed Rosario (R)
DH Jose Ramirez (S)
1B Josh Bell (S)
2B Andres Gimenez (L)
3B Tyler Freeman (R)
RF David Fry (R)
CF Myles Straw (R)
C Cam Gallagher (R)