Padres vs. Phillies National League Championship Series Game 4 Pick and Prediction

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Mike Clevinger #52 of the San Diego Padres pitches during the first inning in game one of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/AFP

The top sportsbooks have released their betting odds for today’s MLB NLCS Game 4 action between San Diego and Philadelphia.

After taking a 2-1 series lead last night, the Phillies will try to win a second consecutive game at home.

For reasons that I will explain, you should play the total for this game at your preferred online sports betting site.

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San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Saturday, October 22, 2022 – 07:45 PM EDT at Citizens Bank Park

The Odds

The posted total for this game is unusually high for a playoff contest.

As of this morning, it sits at 8.5. For comparison's sake, the over/under for last night's game between these teams sat at 7.5.

Last night's game also featured objectively more successful and more formidable starting pitchers: Joe Musgrove for San Diego and Ranger Suarez for Philadelphia.

On one level, it absolutely makes sense to raise the posted total to 8.5 for tonight's game given the apparent decline in tonight's starting pitcher quality, as this decline is measured by stats like ERA.

However, for reasons that I will explain, we need to consider that this is a playoff game, not a regular season one. This circumstance will dictate practices to which both managers will conform in order to limit scoring.


Philadelphia's Gameplan

The fact that Bailey Falter is starting for Philadelphia does much to explain why the posted total is as high as it is. Indeed, his 3.86 regular season ERA is unattractive, but let's break this number down.

When Falter faces the opposing lineup for the first time in a given game, his ERA is 2.00. When he faces the same batters a second time in a given game, his ERA skyrockets to 6.0.

This distinction is decisive because Philadelphia's reported game plan is to have Falter face Padre batters tonight a single time. So, we will only get the Falter who yields a 2.00 ERA, which is obviously a great ERA and one that does not justify such a high posted total.

In other words, the posted total is so high because Falter is pitching and because Falter is a relatively unsuccessful pitcher, but the circumstance that makes Falter unsuccessful will not come into play today because of Philadelphia's gameplan, because Philadelphia is treating tonight's game like a playoff game instead of a regular season game.

Therefore, the Phillies' game plan creates strong value for the "under" because oddsmakers are wrong to disrespect Falter tonight.

Life After Falter

One might insist, however, that Philadelphia's cohort of relievers is rather bad, in terms of ERA, beyond its two best ones, Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez.

But even if there were merit to this concern, why would this be justified in a playoff game where managers are not afraid to employ stronger starting pitcher candidates as relievers?

Team ace Zack Wheeler last pitched on Tuesday, so he just needs one more day of rest –which he'll get tonight– before he pitches. Then, if necessary, Aaron Nola would start the following game.

This ability to redeploy Wheeler and then Nola leaves Philadelphia with more effective options for tonight's game.

After Falter, the Phillies could send in Noah Syndergaard or Kyle Gibson. Both pitchers, Syndergaard and Gibson, have been effective playoff options, as combined, so far this postseason, they've allowed one run in 5.1 innings.


Who Starts for San Diego?

Mike Clevinger starts for the Padres. One of the best starts of his season took place in Philadelphia, where he allowed one hit and zero runs in five innings.

A right-handed pitcher, he has done very well against the sort of lineups that are strongest against left-handed pitching.

Hence, he thrived against White Sox and Cardinal lineups that strongly prefer facing left-handed to right-handed pitchers.

Philadelphia is likewise this kind of team.

Clevinger's Variety

The Phillies will not have benefitted from already seeing Clevinger, because that start took place back in May.

Plus, Clevinger remains unpredictable by giving opposing batters a lot of different things to handle. He throws five different pitches over 9% of the time and doesn't throw a single pitch with as much as 37% frequency.

Clevinger distributes well the location of his favorite pitch, his high-spin fastball, as well as that of his sinker, cutter, and changeup.

Meanwhile, he concentrates his slider in the lower, borderline parts of the plate.

It'll be hard for anyone to guess how much of any of these pitches Philly batters will see, but they will see a pitcher who evidently can limit their scoring output.


The Verdict

With Clevinger comfortable in Philadelphia and the Padres bullpen having allowed one run so far this series, San Diego will limit Philadelphia's scoring.

The Phillies will come with a greatly reasonable game plan, though, to help keep this game well under the posted total.

For this game MLB pick, invest in the "under" for the above reasons.

Score Prediction: Padres 2 – Phillies 3

MLB Pick: Under 8.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Under 8.5 (-110)
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*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.