Major League Baseball has a full slate of action on tap for you today as we near the midway point of the season. A quick glance of the standings shows us a couple of things we expected this year, the Yankees, Twins, Dodgers, and Braves are all in first place. And a couple of things that we didn’t see coming, as the Marlins, Rockies, and Orioles have winning records, and the Padres, Angels, Red Sox, and Phillies don’t.
It has been a topsy-turvy kind of year, and you have to wonder that if by the end of the year, we are going to see things get back to normal in baseball, when it seems nothing in the world is normal right now.
Are we going to see an Orioles vs. Rockies World Series? Maybe! But I wouldn’t bet on it… One thing that I would bet on, though, is today’s free daily betting pick, where we break down the action between the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Philadelphia Phillies (8-9) at Boston Red Sox (6-17)
The Boston Red Sox are slogging through the season as the American League’s worst team and host the Philadelphia Phillies tonight in game one of a quick two-game set. Boston is looking to snap an eight-game losing streak tonight at home and are hoping their dreadfully bad pitching staff finds a way to get things turned around, in what has been a very disappointing season for the Sox.
The Phillies find themselves underachieving as well, as they too, haven’t had a lot of success on the field in 2020. But at this point, the Phillies are happy to be even playing, as they missed a week of action when they were exposed to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Phillies are trying to play catchup and are coming off of a three-game sweep over the New York Mets in their last series.
Starting tonight for the Phillies is Zach Eflin (0-1 3.60 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Zack Godley (0-2 8.16 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eleven runs. The Phillies are -120 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST from Fenway Park in Boston.
The Philadelphia Phillies came into this season looking to compete at the top of the National League East Division with the likes of the Braves, Nationals, and Mets. And despite their slow start, that saw them lose nine out of their first fourteen games, they are actually ahead of the Nats and the Mets and are just a game and a half behind a suddenly slumping Marlins team.
The playoffs are structured a lot differently this season, with sixteen teams making the postseason. The top two teams from each division will qualify, and then the next two best records in each league will make the cut.
That means that all the Phillies have to do, is finish ahead of a bad Marlins team, a Mets team that has seen nearly all of their talent get hurt or quit, and a Nationals team that currently has a winning percentage of .400, and they are in the playoffs.
And trust me, nobody is going to want to have to play this Philly team in the playoffs, as they have enough pop to beat anybody, and their starting rotation is sneaky good. One of those sneaky good starters is on the mound tonight, as Zach Eflin gets the nod in game one.
Zach Eflin (0-1 3.60 ERA)
We all know about Aaron Nola, Jake Arietta, and Zack Wheeler. Those guys are all studs and give the Phillies a very respectable big three in their starting rotation. But the most intriguing guy in this rotation, in my opinion, is Zach Eflin. Eflin made his MLB debut at just 22-years old and has seen his ERA drop, and his strikeouts go up, in each of the last three seasons.
Eflin is looking even better this season in two starts as he has been blowing the doors off opposing batters. After starting his season, a bit late, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Eflin has made two starts and has racked up fifteen strikeouts in only ten innings of work. This kid has elite swing and miss stuff, and he is a candidate to have a breakout season as he starts to hit his physical prime in his mid-twenties.
Boston Red Sox
This was never going to be a good season for the Boston Red Sox on the mound. They lost their top two starters, David Price to a trade, and Chris Sale, to Tommy John surgery, before the season even started. Eduardo Rodriguez was expected to lead what was left of the staff, but he caught the Corona Virus, and it caused some issues with his heart, and he was shut down for the year as well.
That didn’t leave a lot left for Boston. The Red Sox are using a hodgepodged together rotation with four regular starts and a bullpen day. Of those four regulars, none of them are having much success, and Martin Perez has been the best of the group at a 2-3 record and 4.07 ERA. Ryan Weber is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA, Nathan Eovaldi is 1-2 with a 5.93 ERA, and that leaves us with tonight’s starter, Zack Godley, who has been the worst of the bunch at 0-2 with a 8.16 ERA.
Zack Godley (0-2 8.16 ERA)
The Red Sox didn’t think that Zack Godley was going to be a replacement for Chris Sale when they brought him in during the offseason, they knew he wasn’t great. But they also didn’t expect him to be awful, and unfortunately for Boston fans, that is just what he has been. Godley actually started the year working out of the bullpen for Boston, but when Rodriguez got shut down, he was quickly thrown into the rotation and has made three starts.
In those three starts, he has pitched a combined 10.1 innings and has gotten hammered for 13 runs on 6 walks, 19 hits, 5 of which were home runs, and the Red Sox lost all three games. In his last start, against the Tampa Bay Rays, Godley got blasted for eight, count ‘em eight, runs, all earned, in only three innings of work. In that one, he allowed ten hits, three of which were home runs. Ouch.
Who Do I Like?
Let me get this straight. I can fade the worst team in the American League, not a bad team, the worst team. And I can do it, with their worst starter on the mound. And I only have to lay -120? And oh, I get to back a Phillies team with a young budding superstar in the making on the mound? On a team that is finally starting to figure things out and is on a season-high three-game winning streak? This seems like outrageously high value.
I have spent a lot of this season fading the Boston Red Sox. Despite being really bad, they have a run differential of -45 that is worse than every team in baseball not named the Seattle Mariners, they are generally priced aggressively. I guess the public just hasn’t caught on yet that this Red Sox team has very little talent and quit on their manager a week into the season.
In most games, the Red Sox aren’t even all that competitive, and I would expect that trend to continue tonight at home. If you are hoping that playing in Fenway will help the Red Sox stay competitive, don’t count on it, as they are 3-9 in Boston this year.
I think that Godley is going to get lit up in this one. The Phillies are one of the hardest hitting teams in the game right now, as they are top four in MLB in batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging. During this three-game winning streak, they have scored 18 runs on 34 hits. I expect more of the same out of them tonight, as they are finally hitting their stride, at the dish.
In a couple of years, we might all look back on Zach Eflin’s career and see 2020 as the turning point when he matured into an All-Star, and I think he will mow through this weak-hitting Red Sox lineup. You can pencil him in him six or seven innings of quality work, potentially with double-digit strikeouts. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies laying -120 tonight on the road in Boston!