The Phillies could not secure a sweep in their first home series as they dropped the final game to the Reds yesterday afternoon. Tonight they will begin their first series against a divisional opponent with the Miami Marlins coming to town, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing.
We are still in the early stages of the 2023 season, but with tonight’s game, the Marlins will already be playing their 8th game against the NL East. Despite their win yesterday, the Marlins lost their series against the Mets, which marks the second time they’ve lost a series to New York already this season. After struggling to find consistency at the plate to start the year, the Marlins turned in their best performance yesterday with seven runs on 11 hits.
Not only will Miami be coming into tonight off a win, but they will have their ace on the mound as Sandy Alcantara will toe the rubber tonight in Philadelphia. The right-hander is fresh off a complete game shutout over the Twins in his last start, where he allowed just three hits while striking out five. Alcantara has thrown 14.7 innings in two starts this season and has a 1.84 ERA in that stretch.
Alcantara will take on a Phillies lineup tonight that is 10th in the MLB in batting average but 26th in average runs per game. Philadelphia won their first series of the season against Cincinnati, but their bullpen struggles continued to be a problem yesterday as they blew a 4-2 lead late in the game. In the loss, Alec Bohm continued his solid start to the season by hitting his second homer while bringing his RBI total up to five.
Tonight Philadelphia will turn to reliever turned starter Matt Strahm to make his second start of the season. The lefty allowed one hit over four innings against the Yankees last week while picking up three strikeouts. Strahm is facing a Marlins lineup that is hitting .230 on the season but does have the ability to leave the yard, as they rank 11th in the league in homers.
The Marlins are currently priced at (-118) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. Miami has the advantage on the mound, and although their offense has been inconsistent, Alcantara does not require a lot of run support to get the job done. Through two starts this season, the right-hander is already in the top 9% of the league in WOBA and is in the 62nd percentile in whiff percentage.
Matt Strahm may have solid numbers for the Phillies through his first two appearances, but he has been giving up a lot of solid contact in those games. The lefty is in the bottom 9% of the league in average exit velocity allowed and in the bottom 12% in barrel percentage. Three of the Marlins' first four hitters in their lineup are all in the 58th percentile or better in barrel percentage, so I like the matchup for them.
Even if Philadelphia doesn’t let Strahm work deep into the game, the Phillies have the second-highest bullpen ERA in the league so far this season. The Phillies' bullpen has already racked up 26 walks and 35 hits, which gives Miami another advantage in this one.
Miami Marlins (-118)