Jake Arrieta was strong but Chicago’s offense accomplished nothing at home in another loss. We turn our attention to Angel Stadium for Thursday night’s MLB pick, where the Halos will try to dispatch the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.
Los Angeles isn’t always an easy team to get behind, but they look to be in a solid spot at home, where they’ve gone 29-23 on the year. Mike Trout and co. will be battling the Phillies, who have been one of the worst teams in baseball on the year, going just 39-66. Philly has actually been solid over their last 10 games (6-4), but comes in dropping two straight and owns a terrible 16-38 road record.
Should we continue backing the Angels here, or is there enough evidence to support a Phillies upset pick? Let’s dive into tonight’s matchup to find out:
Philadelphia Phillies (+133) @ Los Angeles Angels (-153) Total: 8.5
Jerad Eickhoff (2-7, 4.56 ERA) vs. Parker Bridwell (5-1, 2.83 ERA)
The Halos will be looking for their third win in a row in this series and if they get one tonight they will pull off the sweep. That seems fairly likely judging by how this series has gone so far, with L.A. winning easily, 7-0 and 7-1. Last night saw the Halos especially work their magic, as Mike Trout went yard and the Angels collected three home runs, in all.
This looks like a great spot to get behind the Angels in general, but does a closer look stabilize this bet even more?
It certainly looks that way, as Eickhoff looks to slow down an Angels team that is 6-4 over their last 10 games and is heating up offensively. Eickhoff has some talent, but he has not been that stable on the year and has especially had difficulty (5.36 ERA) on the road. The 27-year old righty does see a positive park shift at the pitcher-friendly Angel Stadium, but he’ll be taking on a lineup that is in a groove and surprisingly tends to thrive at their home park.
To make matters worse, Eickhoff does not boast an elite K rate and takes on an Angels squad that offers up one of the league’s lowest strikeout rates. Given the Halos’ discipline at the plate, it’s tough to be too hopeful for a gem out of Eickhoff in this spot. We did see the Phillies star deal two solid outings (3 total runs allowed) in his last two starts, but he got slammed for 5 runs three outings ago. It wouldn’t be a shock to see that form pop back up here.
While it’s not easy to trust Eickhoff, it’s easier to not trust the Phillies bats. Philadelphia does bring some power to the table, but Aaron Altherr (.251 ISO) is the only hitter that really crushes right-handed pitching and they are taking on a red hot hurler in Parker Bridwell. Many are seemingly constantly expecting the 26-year old’s stellar run to come to a crashing halt, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest it will.
Bridwell doesn’t have an elite K rate and he gets away with a good amount of contact, but he also has shown an uncanny ability to manage games. Bridwell has displayed solid control and worked his way to the 7th inning in each of his last starts, while severely limiting offenses during an elite four-game run where he’s allowed 5 total runs.
Aiding Bridwell is his home park, which should limit the effectiveness of the long ball, as well as Philly’s 22% strikeout rate.
You could argue that the pitching is a bit of a toss-up here, but I prefer siding with Bridwell, who still owns a respectable 3.72 home ERA and has been in better overall form over a longer period of time. Eickhoff has proven to be a bit more erratic and when you add in his road troubles and lethargic offense, he’s not really in a position to succeed.
The Angels look like a fine straight up bet at home tonight, but given how they’ve been blowing the Phillies out of the water lately, we can aim higher and attack their -1.5 Run Line (+120).