The New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies were originally supposed to play last week, but postponements mean they’re set to play their fourth game against one another in the span of three days tonight.
The two teams split their doubleheader on Wednesday, with the Phillies taking Game 1 and the Yankees bouncing back in Game 2. Thursday’s series finale pits a pair of young arms against one another. Left-hander Jordan Montgomery will make his second start of the young season for the visitors, while Zach Eflin will make his 2020 debut for the Phillies.
The Yankees are predictably sizable favorites here. New York is at -150 on the moneyline with the Phillies as +140 home underdogs. The game also has an over/under of 9.5 runs.
Zach Eflin has been a middling pitcher in the Phillies’ rotation for quite a while. He was a decent prospect at one point, but the 26-year-old hasn’t really shown much improvement since making his big league debut back in 2016.
In 32 appearances last year, the right-hander posted a strikeout rate of just 18.3 percent with a 6.8 percent walk rate and a 4.13 ERA. Those aren’t necessarily terrible numbers, but he also allowed a career-high 28 home runs.
The last time Zach Eflin faced the Yankees — it went well:
7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 0.86 WHIP
That said, he has yet to pitch in 2020, and will face a buffed-up lineup that has evolved into one of the scariest in the Major Leagues.
The home runs are problematic, especially considering he’s going up against a Yankees lineup that is surely going to rank among the league leaders in that category again this season. Eflin does have much better career splits against right-handed hitters, though, and the fact that New York’s lineup is heavy on right-handed bats could play into his hands.
Eflin has yielded a career wOBA of .304 to right-handed bats, which means he’ll have the platoon advantage against Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez, and Gio Urshela. That’s no small factor. Those guys are all good enough hitters to do plenty of damage against any pitcher, but they’re far scarier when they’re facing a lefty.
Eflin hasn’t shown much ability against left-handed hitters, but the Yankees only have two of them in the lineup with Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. Neither is the most threatening bat, either.
Montgomery Finally Healthy
Jordan Montgomery was one of the better rookies in the league in 2017, but we’ve hardly seen him since then. He went 9-7 across 29 starts with a tidy 3.88 ERA that season, but injuries have limited him to just nine total games in the two-plus seasons since.
He returned to make his debut last week against the Red Sox, and it went pretty well. He held Boston to just a run on five hits in 5.2 solid innings of work.
Boston’s lineup isn’t what it once was without Mookie Betts, of course, and the test he’ll face in Philadelphia tonight looks a bit more daunting. While Montgomery does have decent numbers against right-handed hitters in a fairly limited sample, the Phillies’ lineup is still stacked with solid right-handed bats.
Rhys Hoskins, Andrew McCutchen, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Scott Kingery will all face Monty from the right side, while he’ll still have to deal with a pretty darn good lefty bat in Bryce Harper right in the middle. Citizens Bank Park has been among the most homer-friendly in baseball since it opened, and I’d be surprised if Montgomery didn’t give up at least one long ball in this one.
Home-field advantage doesn’t really exist much without fans in the stadium, but the Phillies still offer a good bit of value on the moneyline as +140 home ‘dogs. Montgomery may be the better pitcher than Eflin talent-wise, but the Yankees’ starter profiles worse against the Philly lineup than Eflin does against New York.
There is also merit to taking the over on 9.5 runs here considering we’ve got a couple of upper-echelon offenses going toe-to-toe against two average starting pitchers. I don’t love the value on the over at -125, though, which has me leaning toward taking a shot on Philadelphia here to win the game outright.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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