Philadelphia Phillies at Colorado Rockies – MLB April 23

8:40 p.m. ET – Phillies at Rockies (-120) O/U: 10.5

The 9-9 Phillies travel to Coors Field to take on the 6-12 Rockies on Friday night to open their three-game series. Philadelphia avoided a sweep at the hands of the Giants on Wednesday with an Andrew Knapp walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth to secure a 6-5 victory.

Colorado picked up two wins in a two-game interleague series against the Astros, including a 6-3 win on Wednesday led by left-handed starting pitcher Austin Gomber, who went six innings and allowed only two runs while picking up six strikeouts.

About the Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies LogoThe Phillies rank 10th in Major League Baseball in team batting average at .241, but are 20th in runs scored per game at 3.9. That’s largely because the team has struggled to hit the home run ball early on this year. With only 18 home runs to their credit thus far, the Phils rank 21st in the majors.

Philadelphia’s lineup is loaded with firepower and it starts with Bryce Harper, the former National League MVP and $330-million man Harper is batting .357 with four home runs this year and has an insane .493 on-base percentage. Catcher JT Realmuto was re-signed in the offseason and it has paid dividends so far this season as he is batting .288 with nine RBI, all while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense behind the plate.

If the Phillies want to make a playoff push this year, they are going to need more production from Rhys Hoskins, Alec Bohm and Andrew McCutchen who are all batting below their career averages. A bright spot for Philadelphia so far has been the pitching staff, who has allowed only 4.2 runs per game, ninth-fewest in the MLB.

About the Rockies

Colorado Rockies LogoThe Rockies are glad to be staying at Coors Field where they have started the year 5-5. The road has not been kind to Colorado this year, as the Rockies have gone 1-11 away from home. That ranks by far as the worst road record among MLB teams in the early going. It could be worse, though.

The Rockies were expected by many to look completely lost after the departure of their star third baseman, Nolan Arenado, to the Cardinals this offseason, which signaled the front office’s intentions of a full-blown rebuild. Helping soften the loss of Arenado has been second baseman Ryan McMaho,  who is batting .275 with six home runs and 10 RBI through 18 games. Shortstop Trevor Story is now considered the anchor of the lineup in the wake of Arenado’s departure — and while he is batting .273, he has yet to hit a home run as we count down the days remaining in the month of April. Another veteran leader on the Rockies who has struggled mightily is right fielder Charlie Blackmon. He’s batting .176 with one home run in his first 51 at bats of the season.

Colorado cannot use Coors Field as an excuse for why this pitching staff is struggling so badly, because they are getting pummeled everywhere. Rockies pitchers strike out 7.7 batters per nine innings, which is by far the fewest among any pitching staff in the league. The rebuild is clearly under way in Colorado, so fans of the team might as well prepare for a bumpy ride all season long.

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
Philadelphia Phillies +1½ (-170) +100 O 10½ (-115)
Colorado Rockies -1½ (+140) -120 U 10½ (-105)

The Pitching Matchup

The Phillies are turning to right-hander Vince Velasquez for the series opener on Friday. It will be Velasquez’s first start of the season after coming out of the bullpen three times for a total of four innings pitched. In those four innings, he had an impressive nine strikeouts, but he walked eight batters and has an ERA of 9.00.

Right-hander German Marquez will be toeing the rubber for the Rockies as they try to extend their modest winning streak to three games. The ace of the Colorado staff has been the best of the bad bunch and is off to a decent start to 2021, with a 1-1 record and a 3.57 ERA in four starts and 22.2 innings of work. Marquez went seven innings in his last outing against the Mets and gave up only two runs.

What’s the Bet?
This is a difficult matchup to find much betting value with a small sample size of Vince Velasquez and the Colorado lineup being seemingly incapable of scoring many runs even when playing in the friendly confines of Coors Field. The best bet for this game is taking the underdog Phillies on the road in a game in whgich they should be slight favorites.

Marquez is off to a great start this season, but Philadelphia’s lineup is loaded with lefty hitters and they are starting to gain momentum and confidence at the plate. The Phillies have struggled to hit the home run ball this season, which makes Coors Field a welcome sight.

Vince Velasquez needs to throw five innings and allow three or less runs and Philadelphia’s hitters should be able to handle the rest and pull off the short upset.
The Bet
Phillies ML

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.

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