MLB Picks: Young Pitchers Prompt Over Bet In D'backs vs. Phillies

Sunday, June 19, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

Diamondbacks and Phillies both have losing records, but Sunday's game is interesting as one of each team's pitching prospects is on the mound. Let's take a look at their MLB odds.

What You Need To Know
So are both these teams sellers ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline? And, yes, it's Aug. 1 this year because July 31, the usual date, falls on a Sunday. I would say that the Phillies certainly are going to trade some guys for prospects. They were playing over their heads early in the season, at one point reaching 24-17 and first place in the NL East. But order has been restored as the offensively-challenged Phillies have fallen off a cliff since then and are fourth in the NL East -- which is where I believe they stay. Pitching carried the team early, but the team ERA is the worst in baseball since May 23.

One guy the team could trade and get decent value for is starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (4-5, 4.46), who is scheduled to start Monday's series finale with Arizona (yes, a rare Monday series finale). Hellickson was acquired this offseason from the Diamondbacks, who got low-level pitching prospect Sam McWilliams in return. Hellickson was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2011 with Tampa Bay and is pitching as well as he has -- even if it's not that great -- since 2012. The Phillies are building to the future with young pitching, but one promising arm you won't see with the big club this year is Alec Asher. He was suspended 80 games this week following a positive test for a banned performance-enhancing substance. Asher was 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA in eight starts at Double-A and Triple-A in 2016. He was a key piece coming back from Texas last season in the Cole Hamels trade. Asher was called up late last season and was 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA but still is one of the team's top prospects.

As for Arizona, it's not ready to sell yet as the team made so many big moves this offseason to renew the fans' interest. Zack Greinke is starting to pitch worthy of his $200 million free-agent contract, but the big trade with Atlanta for Shelby Miller (1-6, 7.09) has been a giant bust. He's currently on the DL with a finger injury and was a candidate to come off it and start Sunday's game but instead is penciled in for Monday. I doubt the Diamondbacks can get into playoff contention by the deadline so they might trade some lesser pieces. GM Dave Stewart has been getting calls on relievers Ben Ziegler and Daniel Hudson.

Probable Pitchers
The Phillies go with 22-year-old Zach Eflin. He was recently called up from Triple-A, where he was 5-2 with a 2.90 ERA this season, due to an injury to pitcher Vince Velasquez. Eflin, a former first-round pick of the Padres, was acquired in a trade with the Dodgers via the Padres in December 2014, with the Phillies sending Jimmy Rollins to L.A.

Eflin's MLB debut Tuesday in Toronto didn't go well as he was raked for eight earned runs and nine hits in just 2.2 innings, walking three and striking out two. Toronto's Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and Josh Donaldson all went yard off him, with Donaldson's a grand slam. The eight earned runs allowed by Eflin were the most allowed by a Phillies pitcher in his major-league debut since Russ Miller in 1927. Eflin was the first pitcher of any team to allow at least eight earned runs in fewer than three innings of his MLB debut since Padres' Cesar Carrillo in 2009. The Phillies have lost six straight on MLB Odds in Game 3 of a series.

"I suppose he was a little nervous, he just made a lot of bad pitches. He normally locates a lot better than he did," Phils manager Pete Mackanin told the local media afterward.

The Diamondbacks go with their top pitching prospect, 23-year-old Archie Bradley (2-3, 5.66). He has lost three straight starts. Last time out, Bradley gave up five runs and four hits over 5.2 innings against the Dodgers -- three of those hits were homers. He retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced and had yet to allow a hit with one out in the fifth but then things fell apart. Bradley has great stuff as evidenced by his 39 strikeouts in 35 innings. The Diamondbacks are 5-2 on MLB Picks in Bradley's past seven vs. teams with a losing record.

Bradley's first career MLB loss was May 16, 2015, in Philadelphia when he allowed four runs and five hits in two innings. Jeff Francouer, now with Atlanta, hit a three-run homer off him. The Phillies' Freddy Galvis doesn't have an official at-bat off Bradley but two walks. Carlos Ruiz is 1-for-1. Odubel Herrera is 0-for-2.

Diamondbacks and 'over.' Bradley is more experienced and Arizona's lineup is better. The Phillies are just 3-7 in their past 10 against a right-handed pitcher. The Diamondbacks have won four straight on Sunday. The 'over' is a rather amazing 11-1-1 in Bradley's past 13 starts.

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Free MLB Pick: Diamondbacks -141 & Over 9 -101
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