Phillies at Marlins Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/12/2013
I think everyone expected that the Miami Marlins were going to be pretty darn bad this year after the offseason fire sale sent the likes of Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Heath Bell packing for prospects. The Fish were the story of the previous offseason as owner Jeffrey Loria spent big with the team moving into the sparkling Marlins Park. But the team stunk and the fans still stayed away, so Miami opened this season with a $31.6 million payroll compared to $100 million in 2012. About the only recognizable name left is Giancarlo Stanton, and he'll be gone sooner rather than later.
I still believed the Marlins would be better than the Houston Astros this season, the only team with a lower payroll and more non-descript roster. However, entering Miami's game Friday against Philadelphia, the Astros look like the 1927 Yankees compared to the Marlins. Miami has the worst record in baseball at 1-8, is on a five-game losing streak and has by far the worst run differential in the majors at minus-24. The fans hate Loria, so they are staying away in droves other than on Opening Day. The Marlins drew a little over 13,000 for Wednesday's game, and that was clearly inflated if you saw the stands. With the Heat likely to be playing deep into June, the Marlins will continue to be ignored.
Phillies at Marlins Betting Story Lines
Miami has scored more than three runs once all season, and that happened to be the team's lone win: 7-5 at the Mets last Friday. In the just-completed sweep by the Braves, the Marlins totaled two runs. The Marlins, who have been shut out four times, have scored 16 runs total -- by far the worst in baseball and the fewest in team history through nine games -- and are off to their worst start since the 1998 team began 1-11.
Pitchers are giving Stanton nothing to hit, but he's swinging and missing anyway, batting .167 with nary an RBI and 12 strikeouts. The Marlins are tied with Pittsburgh with the fewest homers in the majors with two, and the only Miami regulars above .300 are 37-year-old Placido Polanco (he'll be traded if he continues to have value) and someone named Donovan Solano. The team has used nine different lineups so far, partially because starting first baseman Casey Kotchman was lost to the disabled list after two games. The team is so desperate it put rookie Chris Valaika at first base on Wednesday. He claimed to have never played the position in his life, including as a kid. So, of course, he made an error on his first chance.
The Phillies (4-5) haven't looked too bad this season if you throw out the starts by Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels -- which is rather shocking to write. Philadelphia has won two straight since Halladay was rocked for the second straight game. The Phils outscored the Mets 15-6 over the final two games to win their first series of the year. Philly had a combined six homers in those two games after four in the first seven. Chase Utley looks finally healthy again, hitting .333 with two homers and nine RBI, and Michael Young (.375, 1 HR, 3 RBI) is looking like a smart offseason pickup. Ryan Howard hasn't looked good yet, though, batting .200 with 12 strikeouts.
The pitching matchup for this one is Phils left-hander John Lannan against Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco. Lannan was signed as a free agent from Washington this offseason and allowed three runs over seven innings in a no-decision against the Royals in his first start. Stanton is hitting .455 with a homer off him. Nolasco makes about $11.5 million this year, which is a little more than a third of the Marlins payroll. He will be dealt before the deadline barring injury and does have good value. He's 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA in two starts, and opponents are hitting just .231 off him. Howard has three homers and six RBI in 30 at-bats in his career against Nolasco. Utley is hitting .314 with a homer and six RBI. Nolasco was 2-1 with a 5.21 ERA last season against the Phillies.
The Phillies won the 2012 season series 10-8 but went 4-5 at Marlins Park.
Phillies at Marlins MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Phillies opened at -115 and the Marlins +105 with the total at 7.5. Philadelphia is 7-2 “over/under” (2-1 on road) and 3-6 on the runline. Miami is 3-5-1 O/U (1-2 at home) and 3-6 on the runline. The Fish have been a solid dog in every game.
The Phillies are 6-2 in their past eight road games vs. a right-handed starter. The Phils are 1-4 in their past five in the opener of a series. Philadelphia is also 1-4 in its past five when its opponent scores two runs or less in its previous game. The Marlins are 2-7 in their past nine home games vs. a lefty starter and 2-7 in their past nine against teams with a losing record. The Fish are 0-4 in their past four after an off day. Miami is 1-5 in its past six after scoring two runs or fewer in its previous game. It is 0-5 in Nolasco's past five starts. The over is 4-0 in the Phillies' past four. The under has hit in eight of the past 10 Marlins game following a loss. It is 6-2 in Miami's past eight against a lefty starter. The under is 7-1 in Nolasco's past eight home starts vs. a team with a losing record. The Phillies are 5-1 in the past six meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in Miami. The Marlins are 2-5 in Nolasco's past seven home starts vs. the Phillies.
Phillies at Marlins Picks and Betting Predictions
One big reason the Marlins needed a new ballpark was because of the unpredictable weather in South Florida during the summer -- storms are frequent, severe and almost daily. At least we know Friday's game won't be rained out with the retractable roof. The Marlins can't lose them all, and whenever Nolasco takes the mound it's pretty good value to get the Fish as a dog (especially at home) because he can miss bats. Lannan can't. Thus, I would lean Miami here -- Stanton goes yard -- and the under.
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