We got greedy yesterday. I should have gone with the Phillies money line as I thought they would win, but we went with their team total. They won 2-0 without covering that total and, therefore, a losing pick.
We are back today with another game pick, and I have two props plus a series price bet on the podcast.
2022 MLB Regular Season Record: 226-186 (55%) +41.09 Units
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Diego Padres: 4:35 pm EST
Aaron Nola (RHP, Phillies) [11-13, 3.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 235 K]
Blake Snell (LHP, Padres) [8-10, 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 171 K]
Game two at Petco Park should be another great one. The Phillies won in a close 2-0 game after Zack Wheeler gave them a dominant seven-inning shutout performance. It’s challenging to look better than Wheeler, and now Aaron Nola will try to do the same. The opposing Nola will be Blake Snell, who will try to help his team rebound from getting blanked in game one.
We saw this line open in the -120/-125 range, which has since settled at a -110 price. I would assume we have some sharper action on the Phillies, as bettors may have grabbed them as underdogs before driving the price to a middle ground. It’s unclear at this point, and sharp action in the playoffs I don’t take quite as seriously; anything can happen. I go with who I think is going to win.
These two teams are about as evenly matched from a talent and personnel level. They seem to have similar strengths and weaknesses. Both teams have high-powered offenses with fantastic starting pitching. The bullpens are both above average, but what makes them is the back end of the bullpen.
We saw that on full display by the Phillies last night. Home runs from Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper, an excellent outing from Wheeler, Dominguez, and Alvarado shutting the door. We did see the first Phillies miscue, an error late in the game, which could come back to bite them later but ended up being fine yesterday.
The Padres’ offense could never get anything going against Wheeler, and they’ll have another arduous task with Nola. Nola threw once against them at the beginning of the year, tossing seven innings of one-run ball on seven hits. He matches up well against the Padres because of their patient approach at the plate. The Padres see a lot of pitches that can drive out pitchers with command issues early. Nola doesn’t have command issues; he’s incredible.
The Padres will have to grind out at-bats and rely on Blake Snell to give them a vintage playoff start. Snell has proved to be one of the better post-season pitchers still left after tossing another excellent start against the Dodgers. Snell has thrown 43.2 innings in the playoffs and is rocking a 2.89 ERA with 55 strikeouts.
Snell has also been better by some of the advanced stats against the Phillies than Nola has been against the Padres. Nola hasn’t faced this new and improved Padres lineup, especially one that features Juan Soto, who is 9-33 (.495 xwOBA) with three home runs against him. Nola should pitch well, but the Padres will give him everything they have.
Snell is rocking a .301 xwOBA, .161 xBA, and a .331 xSLG through 78 PA against the Phillies’ current roster. Through 128 PA against the Padres current roster, Nola is sporting a .361 xwOBA, .263 xBA, and a .480 xSLG. The contact quality is better for the Padres, which you may not expect when you look at the results this season.
The Phillies mashed lefties in the regular season, but they’ve struggled against Snell outside of a few blow-up innings. He has a 6.75 ERA against them in 9.1 innings over two starts, but he’s also looked completely different in the second half, and the Phillies got to him early on in the season.
There is also a motivation factor at play. This is as must-win for the Padres as you can get outside of an elimination game. The playoff format in the NLCS is 2-3-2, which means if the Padres lose this game, they are down 2-0 going into Citizens Bank Park. With how the playoffs have shaped out so far, that’s a death sentence.
The Padres will have a rested Hader and Suarez to follow Snell, while the Phillies did use Dominguez and Alvarado yesterday. This game should be tight, but I’m willing to ride with the team that will do everything they can to win while the Phillies know they have three straight home games and don’t need to go all out. I find it fascinating that the Padres are favored in this spot with Snell’s perceived command issues and Nola’s dominance.