Phillies vs. Dodgers Pick: Eflin Silencing Left Handed Bats

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:24 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017 3:24 PM UTC

Mark Lathrop is as surprised as anyone with the Phillies start. Here he suggests taking a stab at some plus odds with a pitcher on the mound that could pitch surprisingly well.

Philadelphia Phillies vs L.A. Dodgers  

After losing 91 games last year, the Philadelphia Phillies are off to a surprising April start with a winning record. Sports fans in Philly must be going nuts, first, the NFL Draft comes to town and now this. Either way, if you had told me the Phillies would have a better record than the Dodgers through the month of April I would have doubted your sanity. The bookmakers certainly don’t believe it, with the Phillies placed as steep +205 underdogs in this game. The public action just isn’t there yet for Philadelphia and they don’t really have a choice otherwise. The run line is still sitting at -120 to back the underdogs +1.5 runs.

Zach Eflin gets the start for Philadelphia and he has put up good results, yet hasn’t exactly been overpowering as his 7/3 K/BB rate suggests over his first two starts of the season. He’s only given up one home run though, a trend that continues his low HR/FB% over his career through the minor leagues. What I like about Eflin here is the splits he is putting up against left-handers this early in the season. Although it is just 28 batters faced, he’s only given up 2 hits to lefties on the season for a batting average against of .077. Eflin is also getting ahead early in the count, so even if he is not overpowering he’s not pitching from behind.

Looking at a potential Dodgers’ lineup is telling, as Los Angeles’s star power is on the left side of the plate. Their 18th ranked batting average will only be challenged against Eflin’s strength here from that split. Adrian Gonzalez, Corey Seager, Chase Utley, and Cody Bellinger all should struggle. This leaves only Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner to carry the day for the Dodgers on Saturday, well until the bullpens get involved that is. Eflin’s faced the Dodgers just once, last year, to horrible results. That was with a different lineup available to take the field, however.

Brandon McCarthy takes the mound for the Dodgers and he has been good this year, putting up a 2.25 ERA and 3.22 FIP. But just like Eflin he has a drastic lefty/righty split in batting average allowed. In his case, he has allowed lefties to hit .273 against him, and along with Howie Kendrick’s career .438 batting average against McCarthy, the Phillies should be able to put together a decent lineup to take advantage of this split.


Final Analysis

I’m not saying that Eflin is the better pitcher here at all, but with Philadelphia winning 7 of their last 10 having momentum, and his recent ability to shut down left-handers there is no way that they should be +205 dogs in this game. I’d usually take the run line for safety, but I need units to finish the month strong. I’m taking the Phillies straight up in this game for my MLB pick.


Free MLB Pick: Phillies +201Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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