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Phillies vs. Padres, 4:10 ET
Another 1-1 day for me on the diamond with a very minimal loss. The winning game was a slaughter. The day before, I was on the wrong side of a blowout and it was nice to be on the correct side and have no sweat whatsoever. The Astros destroyed the Rangers as Nathan Eovaldi came back to the mound for Texas. Now we switch to another fun matchup as the Phillies take on the Padres.
I’ve been a big Phillies fan since the year started. Unfortunately, the year didn’t start off that strong, and, if I’m being honest, I shied away from them a bit. They kind of stumbled out of the gate and by the end of April, it was basically looking like they’d need to grab a Wild Card spot in order to make the playoffs. It is true, that part ended up true, but unless they go on a bad losing streak, they should get the Wild Card, and most likely the top one. Trea Turner has started to hit. Kyle Schwarber has been the most mind-boggling productive of any player I’ve ever seen (he’s hitting under .200 but has a great OPS and 40 home runs… it’s wild). Today, as the Phillies and Padres wrap up a three-game set, the Phillies send out Zack Wheeler to the hill. I suppose Wheeler is the Ace of the staff, though some might argue it is Aaron Nola. No matter who you like, they are both solid pitchers. Wheeler has a 3.62 ERA on the season and ranks in the top 10 for strikeouts and WHIP in the Majors. The Phillies righty has no real drastic split, and has been very consistent since the All-Star Break. In his last 10 starts (one prior to the break) he has turned in at least six innings in all and only allowed more than three earned once. The Phillies aren’t quite capitalizing on these successful starts as he they’ve gone just 5-5 in those 10 games.
The Padres are another team I was high on coming into the season, but it turned out to be a disaster. The Phillies and Padres are built similarly in many ways. They both have big stars on the squad, multiple big stars, they both made free agent signings this offseason, they both have solid pitching staffs, but it appears the biggest way they are different is leadership. The Phillies appear to have a leader and the Padres don’t. There really isn’t much of an explanation for the struggles of the Padres, but here we are, in September, facing the reality that a team with multiple superstars won’t make the postseason. It certainly can’t be pinned on the arm of Michael Wacha, today’s starter. He’s produced the best season of his career and is coming in with an 11-2 record and a 2.85 ERA. I’ve brought this up before, but it bears repeating: since May, Wacha has allowed 15 earned runs over his last 81 innings. That’s outstanding work from the starter and he has actually been better at home than on the road, so that bodes well for the Padres.
Wacha has made me a bit of money this season, and frankly I’m not willing to shy away from him now. Both pitchers are good, and the truth is this game probably comes down to the bullpen, but I’ll back the Padres through five innings. My hope is that both Wacha and Wheeler continue their performances we’ve seen. Wacha should go five and allow maybe a run. Wheeler will likely go seven and allow two runs. I’m going to take the Padres at +105 after five.
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