With the trade window over and playoff races heating up, let’s dig into a matchup between two divisional foes who are both fighting hard to secure the same Wild Card spot. Let’s look at the odds for this NL East clash between the Phillies and Marlins, where my prediction is for a Phillies win and the over for a total of 8.5 runs.
Phillies vs. Marlins Prediction
This matchup between divisional foes, who are usually familiar with each other by this time of year, will feature two starting pitchers who don’t have much of a track record with their current clubs. For Miami, that’s 37-year old Johnny Cueto, who in his 16th MLB campaign, has had a bit of a bizarre start to the year after spending a good amount of time on the shelf with multiple injuries. He’s only appeared in 4 games and thrown 16 innings, so take this with a grain of salt, but he has a stellar WHIP of 0.88, paired with a rough ERA at 5.06.
Unsurprisingly, this is due to an issue with home runs, as he’s already given up 4 in that short period of time. That being said, with most of the damage having been done with just a few swings, it’s reasonable to believe that Cueto could have some better performances ahead.
Opposing Cueto for the Phillies will be Michael Lorenzen, making his team debut after coming over from the Tigers at the trade deadline. Lorenzen is having a breakthrough year at age 31, having made his first ever All Star team as Detroit’s representative this season. He’s done a great job limiting baserunners with a WHIP just below 1.100, and is coming off of a fantastic July in which he tossed an ERA of 1.14.
While the Marlins did steal game 3 of this set in dramatic fashion and will look to split the series on Thursday, the Miami Magic might be running out. After a surprisingly great start to the season, the Marlins have cooled down considerably, posting a win percentage of .375 in a really tough July. As things stand currently, they’re just a bit outside of the playoff picture, behind none other than Philly, who are barely hanging on to a Wild Card spot right now.
The Phils are the hotter team, trending up rather than down like Miami, and they actually have a positive run differential, unlike the Fish, whose negative total implies that they’ve been more lucky than good. Suffice it to say, I’m taking Philly on the moneyline, and with two pitchers in potentially uncomfortable situations, I’m backing the over as well.
Phillies vs. Marlins Prediction: Phillies ML (-125), o8.5 (-115)
Phillies vs. Marlins Odds
The Phillies are road favorites with -125 odds, compared to +105 for the host Marlins. For a run total of 8.5, the over is -115, while the under is -105.
Phillies vs. Marlins Key Matchups
Johnny Cueto vs. Power Bats
As we’ve discussed, a key to getting after Cueto could definitely be hitting the ball out of the park. The Phillies are a below-average power team, but there are definitely some bats that could help get the job done. Most notably is Kyle Schwarber, the powerful lefty who has become a serious true-outcome hitter of late. He leads the NL in strikeouts and hits well below .200, but walks enough to keep his OBP in the .320s and is tied for sixth in the majors with 27 homers.
Nick Castellanos is just about the only other Phillie who has put the ball in the stands with any level of consistency this year, with 15 long balls, including one in the series opener against Miami. J.T. Realmuto also has 12 homers in 11 fewer games played than Castellanos, as he continues to be a plus-bat as a catcher.
Lastly, Bryce Harper is experiencing a highly uncharacteristic power outage, with just 5 homers in 79 games as he makes an incredibly quick comeback from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t done it this year, but we know that the Phils’ lefty is one of the best in the business, and can snap into action at any time. He, along with these other bats, is one of the main reasons I believe in the Phillies to hit the -125 moneyline in my Phillies vs. Marlins prediction.
Michael Lorenzen vs. Contact Bats
It’s worth noting that as Lorenzen makes his first start for a new team, a potential contender at that, his biggest enemies might be jitters and uncomfortability as he settles into a new home and role. As far as quantafiable metrics, Lorenzen has given up a pretty high average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, but has limited barrels pretty well. From these trends, we can surmise that line-drive, base-hit batters will be the ones who can get after him.
The problem for Lorenzen is that Miami is actually the third-best team in the Majors by batting average, and it should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who leads the team in that figure. That would be Luis Arráez, who is currently about 50 points ahead of Freddie Freeman in second place in the “race” for the NL (and MLB) hitting title. You don’t often see an average close to .380, but here we are; even though his hunt for .400 is probably defunct, this is a remarkable campaign for Arráez
Of course, Arráez doesn’t have the Marlins in third for this category all by himself. Jon Berti also has an average north of .290 with a significant sample size, and Bryan De La Cruz has been strong in year 3 with an average hovering around the .270 mark. But in terms of high-end contact hitting, Arráez is the absolute best of the best, and will be a tough at bat for Lorenzen to navigate.
Phillies vs. Marlins Starting Lineups
Phillies Starting Lineup
DH K. Schwarber L
3B A. Bohm R
1B B. Harper L
RF N. Castellanos R
2B B. Stott L
SS T. Turner R
LF B. Marsh L
C G. Stubbs L
CF J. Rojas R
Marlins Starting Lineup
2B L. Arraez L
DH J. Soler R
LF B. De La Cruz R
RF A. García R
CF J. Sánchez L
3B J. Berti R
1B Y. Gurriel R
SS J. Wendle L
C J. Stallings R