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Phillies vs. Marlins, 6:40 ET
As far as divisions go, I’d have to say the NL East is somehow the least surprising and one of the most surprising in all of baseball. It is least surprising in that the Braves have run away with the division already. It is most surprising that the Mets and all that money spent went essentially nowhere. Then you have these two teams jockeying for the second spot in the division, the Phillies and the Marlins.
The Phillies were expected to be in this position. I mean, they were the World Series runner-up last season, so let’s be realistic. They have talent and aren’t going to fool or surprise anyone. They did start the season slowly, but even that wasn’t a huge deal. The team seems to have rounded into form. The lineup is well-balanced, and their pitching staff has three legitimate starters this season that can at least propel them to win a game or remain relevant in most games. Where do they go from here? Well, I do think they will make the playoffs, but the Marlins don’t seem to be dropping off and there are quite a few contenders scattered throughout the rest of the divisions. Today they send out Ranger Suarez to the mound for them. Suarez owns a 4.22 ERA but has been significantly better on the road. He did just face the Marlins in Miami in early July and allowed three earned runs over 5.2 innings. He issued four walks which is a bit concerning, but it doesn’t seem to be a theme as that is the most he has allowed all season. He hasn’t pitched great, but he has a strong enough history against the Marlins holding them to a .224 average against him.
The Marlins are coming into this game looking to put some ground between them and the Phillies. If you told me they would be in playoff contention in August, I probably would’ve dropped a ton of money on the “No” for that one. I didn’t have faith in them this season, but somehow they are playing well enough to get it done. The unique thing about the Marlins is they are doing it in spite of tonight’s starter, their Ace and reigning Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara. The Marlins righty is 4-9 with a 4.46 ERA. He is coming off one of his best starts of the season, and easily the best month of the year. Can he keep it going? This will be the third time he faces the Phillies and the Marlins are 0-2 in his starts. He allowed nine runs in the first game and just one in the second, but he did allow eight hits.
I think the over is the best play for this one. I’d lean toward the Phillies winning the game if I had to, but the way both pitchers are throwing it makes more sense to me to play the over. I don’t have that much faith in the bullpen of either squad and think that we will end up seeing a lot of runs.
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