Phillies vs. Nationals Game 1 MLB Pick – September 22, 2020

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I had four write-ups that went out yesterday but five total free MLB picks, three of which ended in the loss column.

It was an unfortunate result between the White Sox and Indians. The only way I could lose both picks was the Indians to win and go over the total, and that’s what happened. The Tribe jumped out to a 4-0 lead, so we needed either the White Sox to rally back to win or score no runs at all. They rallied to tie it at four, however allowed another three runs and lost 7-4. That one hurt.

Another loss came between the Rockies and Giants. Nothing about that one pointed to the Arenado-less Rockies who can’t hit righties, can’t hit on the road and own perhaps the worst bullpen in baseball. So naturally, they scored seven runs and stymied the Giants for a 7-2 win.

I did hit a pair of winners, beginning with the Angels on the run line over the Rangers. It didn’t look good early when the Rangers jumped out to 2-0 and 3-1 leads, however a grand slam from Jared Walsh helped them grab a lead and the Angels went on to win that one 8-5.

We also notched a winner with the Nationals +1.5 on the run line. They were also +136 dogs, and as I anticipated they gave Zack Wheeler early troubles with two first-inning runs on their way to a 5-1 win, easily hitting the run line pick.

All told, it was a 2-3 night and a 1.26-unit loss as we cling onto profit territory for the season.

Season Record: 22-19-1

Units: +0.92

Let’s get thing turned around beginning with this free MLB pick featuring the Phillies vs. Nationals in game one of today’s double-header!

Phillies vs. Nationals Betting Odds

  • Phillies (-194)
  • Nationals (+178)
  • Phillies -1.5 (-105)
  • Nationals +1.5 (-115)
  • Over 6.5 (-117)
  • Under 6.5 (-103)

Phillies vs. Nationals MLB Pick Breakdown

Starting Pitching

Phillies

The Phillies will kick off today’s twin bill with the Nats by sending their ace to the mound as right-hander Aaron Nola looks to keep a strong year going in this one.

Through the first 10 starts and 61.2 inning of the season, Nola has worked to a stout 2.92 ERA/3.33 FIP/2.65 xFIP while racking up punchouts at a big-time 12.26 K/9 clip. Add in the 3.04 SIERa and it’s blatantly clear that Nola has been among the best pitchers in all of baseball this season.

Not only are the strikeouts important, but he’s once again maintaining a quality ground-ball rate of 50.7% while allowing just 30.4% hard contact on the season.

Nola is coming off a tough outing in which he surrendered five earned runs across just 5.1 innings against a Mets team that hammers right-handed pitching, but that’s not the case in this one.

The last time he faced the Nationals was on September 1 when he dominated the Nats to the tune of eight scoreless innings to go along with nine strikeouts while allowing just two hits. That was his second consecutive start versus Washington after he tossed seven innings of two-run ball with eight punchouts in Washington on August 26.

In his career against the division rival Nationals, Nola owns a 3.86 ERA across 21 starts and 123.2 innings while he’s worked to a 3.56 ERA in 10 starts at Nationals Park in D.C.

Nationals

The Nationals will counter with right-hander Austin Voth who happens to be coming off his second-best outing of the season.

His last time out, Voth hurled five innings of one-run ball with six punchouts in a no decision against the Rays. Aside from five shutout innings in his second start of the season against the Orioles, that goes down as Voth’s best outing of the year.

That said, it’s been ugly between those two starts.

Voth came on strong last season with a 3.30 ERA/3.79 FIP, but has largely struggled this season as he enters this one sporting a 7.17 ERA/6.90 FIP with a 5.38 SIERA as well. He’s enduring both home run issues with a 2.63 HR/9 on the season, tied for the sixth-highest mark in baseball among pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched in 2020.

This afternoon’s contest marks his first ever appearance against the Phillies.

Offense

Phillies

The Phillies’ offense was quieted in last night’s 5-1 loss after a solid stretch in which they averaged 5.4 runs per game over their last five.

That said, they’ve mostly had their way with right-handed pitching this season. The Phillies enter this one ranked ninth with a .330 wOBA on the season versus righties while they’ve also enjoyed success on the road as they sit seventh with a .329 wOBA outside of Citizens Bank Park this season.

I anticipated the return of catcher J.T. Realmuto in last night’s contest – as the DH – but he once agains at out with a hip ailment, although it’s expected he will participate in at least one of today’s two games.

It would be a big boost if he could return for game one as the Phillies are currently without the power bat of Rhys Hoskins who may be lost for the season due to potential Tommy John surgery. Bryce Harper was also dealing with a stiff back, but played last night and should be good to go for this one.

Nationals

I correctly anticipated the Nats giving Zack Wheeler some issues last night given their low-strikeout ways combined with Wheeler’s minuscule K-rate this season. That’s not the case here as they go up against Nola.

The Nationals have felt the loss of all-world third baseman Anthony Rendon on offense as they have slipped to 18th with a .315 wOBA on the season versus right-handed pitching. They also check in at 20th with a 94 wRC+ versus righties this season.

Furthermore, they’ve struggled to generate offense at home this season, sitting 26th with a .301 wOBA at Nationals Park in 2020 while also sitting 26th with an 83 wRC+ at home, suggesting they’ve been 17% below league-average at home this season.

After scoring just seven runs over their previous three games, the Nats exploded for a 15-0 pounding of the Marlins in game two of Sunday’s double-header before tacking on another five in last night’s win.

Nonetheless, they are sure to have their hands full with Nola in this one as current Nationals hitters have combined to hit just .228 with a .295 OBP in their careers against the star right-hander.

Bullpen

Phillies

As has been the case all season long, the Phillies bullpen stinks.

They’ll enter this one ranked dead last by a notable margin with a 7.11 ERA on the season while their 5.64 FIP ranks 29th. They’ve managed to rack up strikeouts at a quality 9.71 K/9 clip, but also own a poor 4.30 BB/9 while allowing home runs at an MLB-worst 2.07 HR/9 rate.

Additionally, they’re allowing 43.7% hard contact as per Statcast this season, also good for the worst number in baseball.

None of their three trade-deadline additions have worked out this far, especially the deal with the Red Sox for Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree, both of whom have struggled mightily since the trade.

Add in their ugly 6.65 ERA over the last week and their’s not much to look forward to from this group.

The good news for the Phillies is that Nola is more than capable of throwing a complete-game in this one as double-headers are just seven innings long this season.

Nationals

There’s been some improvement from last year’s disastrous results, but the Nationals have simply been a middle-of-the-pack bullpen this season.

They enter this one ranked 17th with a 4.43 ERA and 4.59 FIP on the season and sit 21st with a 4.78 xFIP.

They too have a quality strikeout rate of 9.75 K/9, but have also struggled with walks in the form of a 4.57 BB/9 rate. That said, Statcast has them allowing a 35.6% hard hit rate on the season, good for 12th league wide.

The unfortunate part is the performances from Daniel Hudson and Sean Doolittle – the team’s most important relievers from last season. Doolittle struggled before hitting the IL in early September while Hudson sports a brutal 6.75 ERA/6.35 FIP and 2.89 HR/9 in his 18.2 innings of work this season. The volatility of relief pitching is insane.

I have a feeling we’ll see a good chunk of this bullpen despite the shortened game length in this one.

Phillies vs. Nationals MLB Pick

I think the Phillies return the run line favor in this one.

I just don’t see the Nationals having much success against Nola here as he’s already spun two gems against them this season and has produced in this venue throughout his career.

He’s not due for any regression whatsoever in his elite season as his 2.65 xFIP is the third-best numbers in baseball behind the likes of only Shane Bieber and Jacob deGrom – perhaps the two best pitchers on the planet right now.

I also believe the Phillies just rake off Voth. His peripherals numbers confirm his brutal season to this point as last year’s excellent results look more like the exception to the rule at this point. Hopefully Realmuto plays in this one to add some extra thump to this Phillies offense.

Add it up and I’m comfortable taking the Phillies on the run line here at -105.

The Bet
PHILLIES -1.5
-105
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Brenton Kemp / Author

Brenton is a lifelong sports fan who resides in Ontario, Canada. Brenton is a fan of most all sports but specializes in hockey, baseball, football, basketball, and golf. He’s a fierce researcher with a strong appetite to deliver accurate and relevant facts that in turn have led to past success with picks and DFS advice across the board. Brenton’s biggest goal is to deliver readers with the picks and advice that can build their bankroll. He takes great pride in his success and loves nothing more than to share that success for the benefit of everyone involved.