Padres Will Take NLCS Lead With Game 3 Win Vs. Phillies Friday

The National League Championship Series heads to Citizens Bank Park Friday for Game 3 with the 6-seed Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) hosting the 5-seed San Diego Padres (1-1).

San Diego rallied back from a 4-run deficit to even the NLCS with an 8-5 victory Wednesday. Padres 3B Manny Machado and 1B Brandon Drury went a combined 5-for-9 with 2 HRs, a double, and 5 RBI.

The Game 3 starters are Padres All-Star RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA) and Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (10-7, 3.65 ERA). This is San Diego’s edge over Philly in this coin-flip matchup.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: PADRES (-110), Phillies (-110)
  • Run Line: Padres -1.5 (+155), Phillies +1.5 (-180)
  • Total (O/U) — 7.5 — O: -105, U: -115

Padres’ Joe Musgrove is dealin’

Musgrove has nastier stuff and both of his playoff outings have been quality starts: 12 IP, 2 ER, 13/4 K/BB rate, and 0 HR. He’s FanGraphs’ 19th-ranked starter and Statcast grades Musgrove in the 88th percentile or better in hard-hit rate, exit velocity, BB%, and fastball spin.

San Diego Padres' Joe Musgrove dealing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS at Petco Park.
San Diego Padres’ Joe Musgrove dealing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS at Petco Park. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Suarez looked a little shakey in his NLWCS start vs. the Braves: 3 1/3 IP, 1 ER, 5/5 K/BB rate, and 1 HR. FanGraphs power ranks Suarez as the 80th-best starter. Suarez grades in the 33rd percentile or worse in fastball velocity, fastball spin, K%, whiff rate, and chase rate, per Statcast.

These two starters actually met earlier this season (June 23) and the Phillies beat the Padres 6-2. Suarez’s stats were better than Musgrove’s however that’s misleading.

Musgrove actually pitched four no-hit innings before giving up an earned run in the 5th on two seeing-eye singles and a wild pitch. Then, in the 6th inning, the mashers of Philly’s lineup got to Musgrove, lighting him up for 5 ER.

Philadelphia Phillies' Ranger Suarez fires one in against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.
Philadelphia Phillies’ Ranger Suarez fires one in against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Suarez on the other hand pitched a quality start vs. the Padres with 7 1/3 IP, 2 ER, 3/2 K/BB rate, and 1 HR. But, this was before San Diego acquired All-Star sluggers OF Juan Soto and DH Josh Bell at the trade deadline. The Padres were missing Machado, Drury, and 2B Jake Cronenworth as well.

All five of these San Diego hitters have a plus-run value (RV) against sinkers, which is Suarez’s most thrown pitch. Machado has a +12 RV vs. sinkers and Cronenworth has a +11 RV, according to Statcast.

Suarez has a weak fastball with a +8 RV, a .346 batting average, and a .570 slugging percentage allowed, per Statcast. The Padres are at full strength for this meeting and will rake Suarez.

Furthermore …

San Diego is the ‘sharp’ side

Padres-Phillies is a Pros vs Joe’s game because more than 60% of the money at DraftKings is on San Diego. But, nearly 60% of the bets placed are on Philly, per VSIN.

It’s wise to follow the money when it’s counter to the public because sharps place much larger bets than “Barney at the bar”.

Also, Pinnacle Sportsbook (Pinny) lists San Diego’s ML at -114 and Philly’s at +106. Pinny is a market-making shop whose lines other sportsbooks copy.

Finally, the Padres were my preseason title pick and I power ranked San Diego ahead of Philly entering the postseason.

So even though Musgrove is the main factor in my handicap, I’m going with the Padres for the full game instead of the first 5 innings since they are the better team.

BET: Padres (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, up to -130

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday at 2:35 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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