The top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for today’s NLCS Game 5 action between the Padres and the Phillies. Last night, Philadelphia triumphed in what was, from the first inning onwards, an atypically high-scoring affair.
After last night’s win, Philadelphia leads the series 3-1 and will now look to clinch a spot in the World Series in front of the Philly faithful. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the moneyline and total for tonight’s matchup.
San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Sunday, October 23, 2022 – 02:37 PM EDT at Citizens Bank Park
Who Starts for Philadelphia?
Ace Zack Wheeler starts for the Phillies today. Pertinently to my best bet for this game, Wheeler is a strong "under" pitcher, especially at home, where it's happened 63.6 percent of the time. His improved ability to limit opposing scoring in home games obviously contributes to his trend.
Whereas his ERA is 3.34 on the road, it is 1.82 at home. Wheeler's home ERA is consistent with his ERA in his last seven starts. At the moment, his excellent form makes him a uniquely reliable pitcher. To be exact, his ERA is 1.82 during that timeframe.
The Padres, Again
Today's start will be the third one that Wheeler has made this season against San Diego. He first faced them on May 18 in Philadelphia. In that start, he allowed zero runs in seven innings. Most recently, Wheeler faced the Padres in Game 1 of this series.
Similarly, he allowed zero runs in seven innings. Whereas he surrendered four hits in the start in May, he allowed one hit in this most recent start.
Overall, he has allowed zero earned runs in 14 innings pitched against the Padres.
Primarily, Wheeler features his fastball and slider.
Both pitches combine to make up close to 70 percent of his arsenal. The quality of his fastball allows him to be more aggressive with its location.
It ranks in the 83rd percentile in velocity and 76th in spin. He can, as heat maps show he does, frequently feature this pitch in the middle parts of the strike zone. Opponents slug .359 against it.
As for his slider, he often locates it along the borders of the strike zone. This, too, is a high-velocity pitch that he'll effectively play off his fastball by keeping it low in the zone, which changes the batter's eye level after an elevated fastball.
Wheeler's slider yields a similarly solid .352 slugging rate.
Wheeler has shown that he can thrive against the same lineup in consecutive starts. For example, on July 3 and July 8 he faced the Cardinals.
In both starts, he allowed zero runs in seven innings. Before Wheeler shut this same team down in the Wild Card round, St. Louis mustered four hits off him on July 3 and five on July 8.
Strategy-wise, Wheeler strongly altered his fastball and slider usage from the July 3 start to the July 8th start. His ability to succeed while mixing up his pitch usage frequency offers a lens into his game plan for today's game.
One thing that will probably stay the same, though, is his strategy against the at least supposedly dangerous Juan Soto.
In Game 1, he kept Soto from doing him harm, by pitching him on the edges of the strike zone.
Who Starts for San Diego?
Yu Darvish pitches for the Padres today. Even more so than Wheeler, Darvish is a great "under" pitcher.
In his daytime starts, for example, the "under" hits 70 percent of the time.
Darvish limited Philadelphia to two runs in seven innings in Game 1. He has the capacity to thrive consecutive times against the same lineup because of his unique ability to mix up his pitch selection, which emanates from the strong variety in his arsenal.
To be exact, he throws six different pitches and not a single one over 35.2 percent of the time.
Darvish vs. Hoskins
Albeit not because of most recent at-bats, the only Philly batter with a solid track record against Darvish is Rhys Hoskins. Hoskins might seem like a candidate to flourish today after his excellent performance last night.
But Hoskins is notoriously inconsistent. He'll typically follow a great outing with a lackluster one. He has gotten a hit in consecutive outings once in his last seven tries.
Philadelphia has its top relievers, Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez, rested for this game. Darvish will do well, but he has a horrible tendency to allow home runs even if they are typically solo shots.
He has allowed five home runs in his past two games, and the Phillies have a lot of power with which to exploit this negative tendency.
Also problematic, the Padre bullpen has seen a lot of usage especially since its starter failed to record an out yesterday.
For the above reasons, expect a Philly win in a low-scoring game for your MLB picks.
Score Prediction: Phillies 4 - Padres 1
MLB Pick: Phillies ML (-137) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.