Phillies at Rays MLB Pick April 13
Friday brings us a matchup between a couple of rebuilding teams in different stages of the rebuilding phase. The Philadelphia Phillies (6-5) appear to be on the verge of contention after several lean years. New manager Gabe Kapler has drawn the ire of some Phillies’ fans already, but he’s generally done a solid job in his first 11 games in charge. Catching the Nationals in the division this season will be a challenge, but there’s reason to believe Philly could at least wind up in the Wild Card hunt by season’s end.
The Tampa Bay Rays (3-9), on the other hand, have entered the first season of their teardown. The Rays had accrued a solid major league roster over the last few years, but management apparently thought shipping most of those guys out and building a new core of young talent would be a preferred route. So Lucas Duda, Evan Longoria, Steven Souza, Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, Corey Dickerson, Steve Cishek, Dan Jennings and Logan Morrison are all gone from last year’s team.
Tonight, the two clubs will tangle to begin a weekend interleague series in Tampa. The Phils will throw fire-balling right-hander Vince Velasquez to the hill, while the Rays will counter with a youngster of their own in Jake Faria.
Velasquez, entering his third season with the Phillies, has gotten off to a rocky start. His first start of the season was miserable. He lasted just 2.2 innings and surrendered 7 runs on 9 hits in a 15-2 loss at the hands of the Atlanta Braves back on March 31. Last time out, though, things were drastically different. He shut down the Marlins’ bats to the tune of a run on 4 hits in 6 innings with 6 strikeouts in a 20-1 beatdown for Philadelphia.
So, his 5.19 ERA and unsightly 1.85 WHIP are somewhat skewed by his blowup outing in his season debut. The Phils are generally optimistic that this will be a breakout campaign for the 25-year-old. We saw flashes of his potential in his first season with the club, but his 2017 was largely derailed by injuries. Velasquez was healthy for just 15 starts last season and went 2-7 with a 5.13 ERA.
Velasquez has been quite hittable to begin his career, and he struggles greatly against left-handed bats. The Rays don’t have nearly as much thunder in the lineup as we saw last season, but Denard Span, Kevin Kiermaier and Mallex Smith are pesky hitters that swing it from the south side of the plate.
The Rays don’t have a lot going for them in terms of talent, but Jake Faria is a name to watch moving forward. The 24-year-old was very solid after coming up from the minors for the first time last season. In 16 big league appearances, including 14 starts, Faria went 5-4 with a tidy 3.43 ERA.
He did allow 11 homers in 86.2 innings, but he also showed good strikeout ability, racking up 84 punchouts along with 31 walks.
We don’t have a massive sample size with which to work, but Faria showed some pretty drastic reverse splits in his first major league stint. He held lefty hitters to a .275 wOBA along with 2 homers, while righties had a .327 wOBA with 10 long balls.
Faria has gotten off to a rough start this season, but both outings came against a tough Red Sox offense. He lasted just 4 innings in his debut before being blasted for 8 earned runs with 5 walks in only 1.2 innings in his last start. 2018 has been rough so far, but Faria is a more talented pitcher than he’s showed so far.
The Phils have plenty of pop in their lineup. If the reverse splits are real, then Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Altherr, and Maikel Franco are the bats to fear. It’ll be interesting to see how Kapler compiles his lineup tonight considering he can pile up a bunch of left-handed bats if he so chooses. The Phils have no shortage of those.
While it’s the Phillies who are closer to contending, I think we get a rebound effort from Faria tonight. This is a Philadelphia lineup that will swing and miss, and Faria is a guy capable of missing bats. He had a hefty 34.7 percent K-rate at Triple-A before posting a 23.5 percent mark in the majors last season.
Velasquez is prone to getting blown up. It’s tough to see how the Rays put a ton of runs on the board here, but I think they make for a solid betting value here at -110 on the moneyline. If you’re risk tolerant, take Tampa Bay to win in their home yard.
$100 stake could win...