We’ve entered arguably the best part of the MLB regular season with the playoff push in full effect. Two teams in the midst of that push for their respective leagues are the Mariners and Reds, and tonight will feature game two of their three-game series. With the Reds taking game one, we’ll preview game two and go over how to bet on the game with Reds number four prospect Connor Phillips making his Major League debut on the mound.
The Cincinnati Reds are so close to the last NL Wild Card spot they can likely taste it, and they helped themselves out with a 6-3 win over the Mariners in the opening game of their series. Cincinnati wasted no time finding the run column yesterday, scoring five runs in the first two innings. A Spencer Steer three-run home run in the second inning capped the early scoring outburst.
Now, with a chance to win the series, the Reds will have one of their top pitching prospects and the league’s 71st overall prospect, Connor Phillips, on the mound. Phillips got the call due to a COVID outbreak on the team, but based on his Triple-A numbers, he seems more than ready for the opportunity. In 105 innings in the minors this season, Phillps has pitched to a 3.86 ERA with 154 strikeouts, and in his most recent start, he spun six scoreless innings.
The young right-hander will certainly be challenged in his first big league game as he takes on a dangerous Mariners lineup amid a heated AL West divisional race. Seattle sits tied for first place, but they have lost three of their last four games, so tonight will be vital for them to come out swinging. In last night’s loss, Seattle did record nine hits, with Julio Rodriguez and Mike Ford leaving the yard, so their offense remains in a good spot for their playoff push.
Seattle will also have a young arm on the bump tonight, with Bryce Miller set to make his 21st start. The right-hander allowed three earned runs in each of his last two starts but took a no-decision in each. In his most recent outing, the flame thrower allowed three earned runs in six innings of work against Oakland while also picking up five strikeouts.
I’ve got two plays for this game, the first being the Seattle Mariners F5 run-line of (-.5), which is priced at (-105). Seattle has hit right-handers exceptionally well on the road recently, and they have a slight advantage facing a pitcher trying to get his footing at the Major League level.
Dating back to August 5th, the Mariners have 513 plate appearances against right-handed pitching on the road, and they are hitting .263 and rank 5th in wRC+, wOBA, and OPS. The results of some starting pitcher's Major League debuts recently have been mixed, but since August, six pitchers making their debuts allowed at least two earned runs. Others have found some success, but Phillips is facing arguably the most motivated lineup with Seattle, so I think they’ll find the run column early.
It’s not all bad for Phillips, though, as he has big strikeout capabilities and faces a Mariners team that has struck out a lot recently, which is why my second play is for Phillips to go over 4.5 strikeouts, which is priced at (+115). Seattle has the 4th highest strikeout percentage against right-handed pitching on the road over the past month, and Phillips had a 24.4% strikeout percentage in Triple-A, with two off-speed pitches with immense swing-and-miss potential.
Seattle Mariners F5 (-.5)(-105)
Connor Phillips Over 4.5 K’s (+115)