After a 4-1 victory in Game 1, the Philadelphia Phillies can win their NL Wild Card series over their NL East rival the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night (10/4/23). Aaron Nola gets the start for the Phillies against Marlins lefty Braxton Garrett.
The Phillies are once again the betting favorites at -150 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 8 runs. This article provides Marlins vs. Phillies analysis, predictions, and best bets including a recommendation to pick the Phillies moneyline.
Marlins vs. Phillies Prediction
Starting pitchers: LHP Braxton Garrett (9-7, 3.66 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46 ERA)
It all comes down to Aaron Nola.
After taking Game 1 behind a dazzling performance by ace pitcher Zack Wheeler, the Phillies are hoping they can get another gem like that from Nola to help them close out the NL Wild Card series tonight. The problem is that they can’t exactly count on that from Nola the way he has pitched this season, but bettors can’t rule it out either.
The Phillies knew they would need some big starts from their enigmatic would-be ace in the postseason, and tonight is Nola’s first opportunity to prove that he can be the reliable top-of-the-rotation arm the Phillies need him to be if they want to make another run to the World Series. So which version of Aaron Nola will we get tonight?
Will it be the one who finished 4th in NL Cy Young voting last year and pitched two scoreless outings in the NLWC and NLDS? Or will it be the one who allowed 14 runs in 13 innings over his final three postseason starts last year and then had an inconsistent and mostly bad year this year? The answer to that likely determines whether the Marlins’ surprising season ends tonight or continues for at least 1 more game.
Nola was 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in three starts (16 innings) against the Marlins this season. His .333 average and 1.000 OPS allowed were the second-worst marks he had against any team all season. He also allowed more home runs (5) against the Marlins than he did against any other team.
The long ball has been an issue for Nola in his career, and this year was no exception. His 32 home runs allowed were the 7th most in the big leagues this season (though his 1.5 HR/9 was more middle-of-the pack). There were zero home runs in last night’s game, but it’s unlikely that happens again tonight.
Opposing Nola for the Marlins is another lefty in Braxton Garrett, the former 7th overall pick in 2016 who had arguably the best season of his career this year. He finished with the 7th-best walk rate (4.5%), the 8th best K/BB ratio (5.3) and the 11th best xFIP (3.39) in the majors this season (minimum 80 innings).
Garrett was the Marlins’ most consistent pitcher this year, allowing one earned run or fewer in 16 of his 30 starts and helping the Marlins go 21-9 in those games. Only NL Cy Young favorite Blake Snell (17) had more such starts. Garrett made two starts against the Phillies this season and had nearly identical stat lines, allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits over 5.0 innings. The Marlins won both games.
If Nola pitches the way he is capable of pitching, then the Phillies will have the edge on the mound to start the game and that should be enough for a win the way they’ve been hitting. But if Nola struggles, then the Phillies will need to be even better offensively than they were last night, when every single starter got a hit but that only translated to 4 runs. They can do that against Garrett, but it’s certainly no guarantee.
The Phillies have the best home field advantage in the postseason of all time (minimum 30 games) with a 23-11 record (.676). They are now 7-0 at home against NL opponents in the postseason going back to last year. Barring a catastrophic outing from Nola, we like their chances to make it 8-0, but not enough to lay -1.5 on the run line, so our best bet recommendation is the Phillies moneyline at -160.
Marlins vs. Phillies Prediction: Phillies moneyline (-160)
Marlins vs. Phillies Odds
MIA @ PHI
Oct. 04, 7:08 PM
Odds updated October 4th, 2023, at 9:39 pm
The Phillies are the betting favorites with -150 moneyline odds, while the Marlins’ best moneyline odds are at +130.
The Phillies are laying -1.5 runs on the spread with the best odds as of this writing being +142 at DraftKings. The Marlins are getting +1.5 runs with the best odds being -160 at BetMGM.
The over/under in this game is set at 8 runs with -110 odds on the over and -110 odds on the under.
Marlins vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Marlins vs. Phillies.
Aaron Nola vs. home run hitters
As noted above, Nola is the better pitcher in this matchup if he pitches the way he is capable of pitching. His ceiling combined with the Phillies’ superior lineup was the main reason we picked the Phillies in our Marlins vs. Phillies prediction.
If Nola struggles, his downfall is likely to be the long ball, and after neither team went yard last night, it feels like we’re due for a bit more power tonight. Four players on the Marlins’ playoff roster – Bryan De La Cruz, Jesus Sanchez, Garrett Hampson, and Jon Berti – went yard against Nola this season. Hampson has 2 career home runs against Nola in 10 at-bats, so it will be interesting to see if Marlins manager Skip Shumacher gets him into the lineup tonight.
De La Cruz and Berti both have very good career numbers against Nola, as both are 4-for-13 lifetime (.308) against him with a .923 and .973 OPS, respectively. Marlins home run leader Jorge Soler (36 dingers) has never taken Nola yard, but he does have a .313 career average (5-for-1) and .764 OPS against him. Another power bat, Josh Bell, has 1 career home run against Nola but is hitting just .160 lifetime (4-for-25).
If Nola can keep those hitters in the yard, he stands a much better chance of turning in a solid outing and putting the Phillies in excellent position to win the game.
The pressure will be on the Phillies’ bullpen if Nola exits with a lead, as Miami has been the king of the comeback this season.
“THE MOST BY ANY MLB TEAM IN A SINGLE SEASON IN THE MODERN ERA”
The Marlins are quite literally the best late-inning comeback team in MLB history. Insane. https://t.co/qhcDXHHXG1
— jeremy taché (@jeremytache) September 30, 2023
The Phillies’ bullpen shut them down last night, throwing 2-1/3 scoreless innings and stranding 2 runners in scoring position in the 7th inning. The Marlins used more relievers last night (4 pitchers combined threw 1 inning each), though that should not affect their availability tonight. Lefty Steven Okert yielded a key insurance run in the 8th inning.
While both of these bullpens have some excellent arms, the Phillies have the edge in this category. Their 3.56 bullpen ERA this season ranked 6th and their 3.88 FIP ranked 5th, while the Marlins were at 4.37 (21st) and 4.07 (14th) in those categories.
The Phillies were even better over the last month with a 2.74 ERA and 3.75 FIP, while the Marlins declined over that timeframe with a 5.16 ERA and 4.43 FIP.
Philadelphia may have the edge on the mound late in this game, but the Marlins have proven they can never be counted out.
Marlins vs. Phillies Starting Lineups (Projected)
Marlins Starting Lineup
2B Luis Arraez (L)
DH Jorge Soler (R)
1B Josh Bell (S)
CF Jazz Chisholm (L)
3B Jake Burger (R)
LF Bryan De La Cruz (R)
RF Jesus Sanchez (L)
SS Jon Berti (R)
C Jacob Stallings (R)
Phillies Starting Lineup
DH Kyle Schwarber (L)
SS Trea Turner (R)
3B Alec Bohm (R)
1B Bryce Harper (L)
C J.T. Realmuto (R)
RF Nick Castellanos (R)
2B Bryson Stott (L)
LF Cristian Pache (R)
CF Johan Rojas (R)