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It’s been a rough start for the Philadelphia Phillies (5-9) in defense of their 2022 NL Pennant. They stopped a 3-game slide with a 8-3 victory at the Cincinnati Reds (5-8) Friday in the 2nd of their 4-game series.
The Reds aren’t much better at this point but they were expected to finish in the basement of the NL Central. They beat the Phillies 6-2 in the series opener Thursday but Cincy lost two of three in Philly last weekend.
LHP Matt Strahm (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound for Philadelphia. Strahm is a converted starter who made 50 bullpen appearances for the Red Sox in 2022. He threw 5-scoreless with a 6/1 K/BB rate in a 15-3 beatdown of the Marlins Monday.
Cincinnati gives RHP Graham Ashcraft (1-0, 2.08 ERA) the nod Saturday. Ashcraft picked up a no-decision in Cincy’s 5-4 loss at the Braves Monday. He gave up just 2 ER over 6 IP with a 7/3 K/BB rate in that start.
Phillies vs. Reds Odds
- Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
So the Reds’ lineup is terrible vs. left-handed pitching and Strahm is a lefty. Philadelphia’s lineup is much more productive against righties and Ashcraft is a righty.
If look at just these facts, the Phillies feel like the play, right? Wrong. You have to dig a little deeper. To be honest I didn’t think about digging deeper until I noticed the quirky line movement.
Philly opened as -145 ML favorites and are down to -115. But, this is in spite of roughly 75% of the money at DraftKings being on the Phillies at the time of writing. That’s a red-flag in sports betting.
The suspicious line movement is due to Ashcraft’s “reverse splits”, Strahm probably having a short leash and Philadelphia’s bullpen being garbage.
Aside from Phillies right-handed batters 3B Alec Brohm and IF Trea Turner, their most productive hitters are lefties (IF Bryson Stott, DH Kyle Schwarber, and CF Brandon Marsh).
Well, RHP Ashcraft is tougher on lefties. Ashcraft’s opposing batting average vs. lefties is .213 (.327 BA vs. righties) and his opposing OPS is .255 (.520 OPS vs. righties). His cutter is nasty and jams left-handed batters.
Again, Strahm didn’t make a start in 2022 and started one game in 2021. Strahm did go 4 and 5 IP in his 1st two starts this season but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s an “opener” for Philly’s “bullpen day”.
Per FanGraphs, Philadelphia’s bullpen ranks 27th in both WAR and FIP (“fielding independent pitching”) and 29th in K-BB%.
The most important aspect of handicapping regular-season MLB is relief pitching. I’ll continue to fade the Phillies as long as their bullpen continues to be this bad.
BET: Cincinnati (-105) moneyline at DraftKings, up to -120
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One CommentLeave a Reply
Woof, called that! 13-0!