Who are the Philadelphia Phillies?
The week that may define this team continues tonight in Game 2 of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Citizens Bank Park.
Wade LeBlanc is scheduled to pitch for Baltimore, while Zach Eflin is tabbed to take the bump for the Phillies. The Phillies, however, blew a ninth-inning lead and fell to the Orioles 10-9 in extra innings on Tuesday.
Given the recent efforts of both pitchers — LeBlanc being roughed up by the Miami Marlins for six runs in three-plus innings and Eflin holding the New York Yankees scoreless through four frames — the early-hunch edge goes to the Phillies.
The question for bettors will be what line is a fair price at New Jersey online sportsbooks.
It may be steep. FanDuel Sportsbook placed the Phillies at -180 and Baltimore at +156. The over-under of 10 runs at FanDuel will be a target, as the Phillies bullpen continues to falter.
Orioles vs. Phillies Game 2 odds
The odds below are as of 12 p.m. EST Aug. 12.
|Game 2: Orioles (8-7) vs. Phillies (5-7)||DraftKings||FanDuel||Fox Bet||PointsBet|
A note for in-game bettors: The Phillies bullpen has yielded 40 runs in 35 innings for an ERA of 10.28.
They gave up 13 runs in the last two games, which only spanned five innings. That’s a scary ERA of more than 23.
This will be a consideration for either Baltimore or bets on the total runs as soon as the starter gets his pitch count up. And that may not be too long for Eflin.
Where the Phillies stand
Eflin comes in off an effective performance last week against the Yankees.
He allowed no runs on four hits in a four-inning stint, throwing a career-high number of sinkers. Eflin was limited to 77 pitches. He will probably be allowed to extend into the 90-100 pitch range here and be given the chance to complete five or six innings.
LeBlanc, meanwhile, simply looks to rebound from a rough outing.
A few intangibles to consider: Will the Phillies be dejected from the game that got away from them Tuesday night or make a statement in this game?
A Tuesday victory would have put them at .500, with the prospect of five more home games this week. Instead, they are 5-7 and are not taking advantage of a hefty home schedule.
The Phillies have played fewer road games than any team in the league and will have a heavy-weighted road schedule after this week. This is the week they need to do well.
They face an important gut-check period. The Tuesday loss was a backbreaker for Philadelphia, which had gained hard-earned, four-game series splits with the Yankees and Atlanta Braves before looking at visits from the Orioles and New York Mets this week.
Familiar problems crop up
The Phillies are beginning to resemble their 2019 form, in which they finished .500, rather than the improved team they were expected to be with free-agent acquisitions Didi Gregorious, Zack Wheeler and championship manager Joe Girardi.
They often hit well but are paying the price for ignoring their most pressing concern — the lack of a closer — in the off-season.
It raises the concern that they can’t hold a late lead or capture a close game. Indeed, they have only had a single one-run victory the entire season.
The Phillies have not won a game in which they scored fewer than five runs. They needed double-digit run production three times and lost Tuesday with nine.
On the offensive side, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Gregorious are hitting well. But can they produce double-digit runs every game?
Baltimore is exceeding expectations
The Orioles have played good ball at the start of the young season.
Baltimore swept Friday and Saturday games from the defending champion Washington Nationals and led the suspended Sunday game 5-2. It was halted because of the weather after five frames.
Tuesday’s come-from-behind win made them 8-7 on the season with a three-game win streak.
They are also 10-5 against the spread, which counts a team as a 1.5-run underdog or 1 .5-run favorite.
Is there such a thing as a must-win this early in the 60-game season for the Phillies? Probably. If the Phillies capture this game, they can still eye a series victory.
A loss would be hard to take.