Philadelphia Phillies (52-45) at Cleveland Guardians (48-49)
Game Info: Saturday, July 22nd, 2023 at 7:10 p.m. EST (Progressive Field)
Betting Odds: Guardians ML (+105) - Over/Under (8.5)
Pick: Guardians ML (+105)
Saturday evening takes us to Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio for the second game of a three-game weekend series between last year’s National League pennant winners, the Philadelphia Phillies, and last year’s American League Central division champions, the Cleveland Guardians. In the opening game of the series, Cleveland squeaked by with a 6-5 win as their bullpen tried to collapse on them late in the game.
Before the season started, a lot of people had high hopes for the Philadelphia Phillies, and perennial MVP candidate Trea Turner after his breakout performance at the World Baseball Classic. However, fast forward to this point of the season, and the Phillies are holding their head above water, but not exactly a threat to repeat as National League champions. Meanwhile, Trea Turner had a very sluggish start to the season, which almost immediately took him out of any National League MVP consideration. It didn’t help matters that Philadelphia was unable to get the job done in the opening game of the series against a struggling Cleveland team that was coming off of another bullpen collapse in the finale of their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
It is worth noting that if Philadelphia played in the American League Central division, they would be running away with the division at the moment. As it has been the worst division in baseball this season. However, unfortunately, they play in the National League East and they have to share the spotlight with one of the best teams in baseball this season, the Atlanta Braves. Alongside Atlanta, Miami has been a surprise in the East as well for Philadelphia to contend with. Philadelphia comes into this game seven games above .500 with a record of 52-45 on the year and they are in second place, 12 and a half games out of first in the division. They will be looking to pick up a victory to not only even up this series with Cleveland but also snap their current three-game losing streak as well.
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After a miraculous run that saw them come one game short of making the American League Championship Series last season, Cleveland has regressed throughout this season. They are treading water around the .500 Mark and they find themselves a couple of games behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central division. They picked up a huge victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the opening game of the series but their bullpen nearly collapsed on them once again, and there is a problem that has happened way too often this season. If Cleveland’s bullpen was able to hold leads this year then the Guardians would have one of the best records in baseball, but all too often, they have failed to hold on to crucial leads late in games.
Cleveland comes into this game with a record of 48-49 through their first 97 games of the 2023 Major League Baseball season. They have won five out of their last ten on the year and three out of their last four this week. They are currently two games out of first place behind the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central division race. The pitching matchup for this one should be a good one as Zack Wheeler takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies and Tanner Bibee takes the mound for the Cleveland Guardians. Both of them are having solid seasons up until this point, and both of them are very capable of going deep into this ballgame and heavily impacting the outcome of it as well. As both pitchers have a combined record of 12-6 on the season.
Betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Cleveland is 10-4 as a home underdog this season
- Philadelphia is 19-25 following a loss this season
- Philadelphia is 32-41 outside of the NL East
This is going to be a close and competitive game throughout all nine innings on Saturday night. However, in the end, I have to give the edge to the Cleveland Guardians as I think Bibee will outperform Wheeler and the Cleveland lineup will do just enough to grab them a second consecutive victory in this series. I expect Cleveland to get a solid victory to officially clinch the series and set up the opportunity to sweep Philadelphia on Sunday in the finale.
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