Unlike the earlier MLB game I previewed for today, the Washington Nationals at the Philadelphia Phillies is an encounter that should go the way of the favorite in the betting lines (7.05pm ET, today, Thursday, Sept 27).
In a series that has proved to be less critical than most originally thought, the Philadelphia Phillies took the opener Tuesday night in relative ease. Behind Cole Hamels and home runs from Carlos Ruiz, Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf, the Phils bested their division rivals 6-3.
The Washington Nationals struck back with a dominant 8-4 victory on Wednesday behind a few home runs of their own. With the rubber match left to be decided today, the Nationals are coming close to clinching the NL East title. The Phillies on the other hand are all but eliminated and at this point are just playing to keep the Nats from clinching the division at the Phillies’ home of Citizen’s Bank Park.
Pitching Probables: Gio Gonzalez (WAS) vs. Tyler Cloyd (PHI)
There is an interesting and intriguing pitching match-up set for Thursday as Phillies’ rookie Tyler Cloyd matches up against the first year National, Gio Gonzalez.
Before joining the Washington staff, the left-handed pitcher Gonzalez was starting for the Oakland Athletics. While with the Athletics, Gonzalez was good but never as good as he was this season. Gonzalez, the former Phillies’ top prospect, is in the process of a breakout season and has put up the numbers worthy of making him a legitimate Cy Young contender.
On the season Gonzalez has amassed solid numbers in all pitching categories. He has pitched to a 20-8 record with the Nationals winning all but three of his last ten starts. He is first in the NL with his 20 wins, sixth in ERA with 2.84 and fourth in strikeouts with just over 200 on the year.
Gonzalez has put together strong outings but his worst numbers come pitching on the road. Away from the Nationals ball park, Gonzalez has an ERA of 3.24. He is however holding opponents to a minimal .205 average and has given up just six home runs as well.
Considering that his worst numbers are still better than most pitchers, Gonzalez has a great chance to pitch a solid game against the Phillies. On top of coming off a win against the Milwaukee Brewers, Gonzalez has absolutely owned his former team this season. Against the Phillies in 2012, the 27-year-old is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.89. He has pitched 19 innings yielding just 12 hits and striking out 23 against this potent offense. He has given up just one home run to the team which came at the hitter friendly Citizen’s Bank.
For as good as Gonzalez has been, the Phillies really aren’t kicking themselves too much for trading him in the Joe Blanton to Philadelphia deal a few years ago. Not only did that deal help bring the team a World Series but since then the team has gotten incredibly talented in the pitching department. In addition to the three aces currently on staff, the Phils have depth in the minors including the 25-year-old rookie, Tyler Cloyd.
Cloyd has started just five games this season and so far it has been to mixed results. He made his first career start on September 3 and pitched seven strong innings as the Phillies went on to beat the Cincinnati Reds. In his second start against the Colorado Rockies, Cloyd didn’t fare as well giving up four earned runs in four innings. Cloyd also didn’t perform well against the Houston Astros as he pitched just three innings and gave up three runs.
With concern if Cloyd could adapt to major league pitching, the young Phillies righty put together his best career start in the team’s 16-1 victory over the NY Mets. He pitched eight innings and gave up just three hits and one run. He struck out six.
The jury is still out on Cloyd but going up against the Nationals and their talented offense should prove to be a good test. Although Gonzalez has an obvious advantage, things could go the Phillies way if Cloyd can find a way to handle the Nats.
What You Need to Know
- The Nationals are the fourth best team in the majors when it comes to reaching base safely. They average 9.1 hits and 2.96 walks a game.
- The Phillies will be putting their league best strikeout ratio of just 6.7 a game against Gonzalez and his fourth best league mark of 201 strikeouts.
- Against left handed pitchers, the Phillies are just 22-27. The Nationals on the other hand are 66-42 against righties.
Nationals v Phillies Betting Picks Prediction
Whether it be at home or on the road, the Nationals are a tough team to beat. Currently holding the league’s best record, the Nats have a chance to break 100 wins this year for the first time in franchise history.
Although the Phillies would love to play spoiler to this, don’t expect them to be able to do too much against the lefty Gonzalez. This leaves me to conclude for betting purposes:
- The Nationals are favored on the moneyline @ odds of -128 with BetOnline Sportsbook and this is the best bet to take. It is -135 with Bovada.
- Also, with the over/under set at a lofty 7.5, take the teams to meet the under on this one @ -115 with either BetOnline Sportsbook or Bovada.
Where to place your bets:
- All Americans: BetOnline Sportsbook.
- All Americans except from Utah, NY, Washington & Maryland states: Bovada.
- Non-Americans: Bet with Bet365.