Two first-place teams match up in Arizona today as the Philadelphia Phillies head to Arizona for game one of a three-game series with the Diamondbacks. The DBacks are coming off a four-game series split with the San Francisco Giants in their last series and are currently tied for first place with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West. The Phillies come in hot as they have won five straight games, including a four-game sweep over the Miami Marlins in their last series and they hold a game and a half lead over the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East.
Starting for the Phillies tonight in game one is Jake Arrieta (9-6 3.32 ERA), and for the DBacks it is Zack Godley (12-6 4.46 ERA). The DBacks are -135 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM PST from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona.
Jake Arrieta was brought in to be the ace of this Phillies team that had some big playoff aspirations coming into this season. Arrieta was quickly supplanted as the ace of the staff by young pitching sensation, Aaron Nola, but he has been a great number two this season for Philly and has them right in the mix for the playoffs. He has very inconsistent at times, but with an ERA in the low three-run range, he is still producing at an elite level most of the time.
Arrieta seems to be dialing it in as the Phillies close in on the division title. In July, Arrieta really shined as he made six starts, the Phillies won every game, and he went 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA. Arrieta has been there done that when it comes to making a push for a World Series title with his time playing for the Chicago Cubs, and he is carrying this team through the dog days of summer right now.
When you look at Arrieta’s season, he had one really bad month, June, where he went 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA. But besides that, he has been elite all season long. I am not sure what was in the water in Philly in June, but he was great before then, and has been great since then. Arrieta also loves pitching under the lights at night as his night game ERA is 2.80 in thirteen starts, compared to his daytime ERA of 4.17. That should come in handy tonight with a 6:40 PM PST start time.
Zack Godley really exploded onto the scene with the DBacks last season in his first full season as part of the Arizona rotation. He had a 3.37 ERA in twenty-five starts, and there was a lot of optimism about him coming into this year. But unfortunately for the DBacks, he has disappointed much of the year.
Godley’s ERA has been hovering above four runs all season long, and it currently sits at 4.46, not great for a National League pitcher, and over a full run worse than he performed last season. The strikeout numbers have been there for Godley, he has 130 Ks in 123 innings pitched this season. But he is walking far too many hitters. His walk rate jumped up from a career 3.1 per nine innings rate all the way up to 4.3 this season.
When you are giving out free passes all game long it is really hard to keep teams from scoring a bunch of runs. But, despite the fact that Godley hasn’t pitched that well this season, he is starting to really rack up the wins, as his twelve wins on the year are tied with Zack Greinke for the team lead. Godley has won seven out of his last eight decisions.
To me, this is a very close game. Both of these teams are very good and should end up playing in the postseason. I think Arrieta is clearly the better of the two starters. He is better overall, and he is pitching his best at the moment. Godley seems to win a lot, but this DBacks team is very inconsistent at the plate, so unless Godley starts pitching better, I expect this recent stretch of wins for him to stop.
Arrieta has one start against Arizona this season, and he pitched seven innings and allowed just one earned run, and he picked up the win for his effort. I expect a similar performance tonight out of the former Cy Young Award winner, and see the Phillies finding a way to win the game. It is just very rare that you get to back a team as good as this Phillies team is, with a starter as good as Arrieta is, and get this much dog money.
That is just too much value for me to pass up on tonight. The Phillies have had their struggles on the road this year, they are certainly a much better team at home. But when you look at Arizona’s splits, they aren’t all that good at home this season. The Diamondbacks actually have a significantly better road record than they do at home this year. So, it should be as big of a disadvantage for Philly as it usually is. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as big road underdogs tonight in what should be a lower scoring tight contest at +125!