After losing five straight games, the Phillies have responded by rattling off two consecutive wins. As they look to get some momentum going for the first time in a while, they will play host to the Tigers for an interleague series. We’ll preview game one of the three-game set before going over my best prop play for the action.
It was a rough start to the road trip for the Tigers as they started it by getting swept by a divisional foe in the Chicago White Sox. Detroit could only push three runs across all weekend, two of which came yesterday in their 6-2 loss. A Spencer Torkelson two-run home run was the only offense the Tigers had all game since they recorded just four hits and struck out 12 times. The lack of offense spoiled a phenomenal start by Matthew Boyd, who struck out nine over five innings with just one earned run allowed.
Getting the ball for Detroit tonight will be left-hander Joey Wentz, who is set to make his 12th start of the year. Wentz has struggled in his 47 innings of work, pitching to a 7.28 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 17 walks. The left-hander took a no-decision in his last outing, throwing 4 ⅓ innings with five strikeouts and one earned run allowed on seven hits.
Wentz will face a Phillies lineup that had a big day yesterday in their 11-3 win over the Nationals. Philadelphia recorded 14 hits, including six extra-base hits, all headlined by Kyle Schwarber. The Phillies left fielder has had a history of heating up in June, and it looks like that could be the case again this year, as he hit two home runs yesterday for a total of six RBIs.
Philadelphia will send Aaron Nola to the bump tonight, who has had a less-than-ideal start to his season. In 12 starts and 74.7 innings, the righty has a 4.70 ERA with 65 punchouts and 18 walks. Nola took his fourth loss of the year in his most recent outing, throwing six innings and allowing four earned runs on four hits to go along with five strikeouts and three walks.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Javier Báez to go under his hits total of (.5), which is priced at (+145). The Tigers infielder has been struggling this season, but especially lately, as he is hitting .170 over his past ten games. Not only has he been unable to consistently reach base as of late, but he faces a starter in Aaron Nola, whom he has not seen well in his career.
In 15 at-bats against Nola, Báez has recorded just three hits with a 23.5% strikeout percentage and 37.9% whiff percentage. The Phillies starter is a tough matchup for Báez, not only because he has not seen him well up to this point but because he has struggled against right-handed pitching on the road this season.
Báez is hitting .218 against righties on the road with a wRC+ of 53. Righties have given the veteran fits all season, but those struggles have only been amplified on the road, which is clear when you see he has a 21.7% hard-hit percentage. Between recent struggles and his history with Nola, I think this is an excellent spot to fade Báez at the dish.
Javier Baez Under .5 Hits (+145)