In a possible playoff preview, the Philadelphia Phillies will host the Los Angeles Dodgers in a Wednesday matinee. The teams have split the first two games of the series after the Phillies won Tuesday night in 16 innings. The Los Angeles Dodgers are -131 over the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday.
Despite Tuesday’s loss, the Dodgers have stayed hot coming out of the all-star break, winning three of their first five games. Of course, they remain just half a game ahead of the Diamondbacks in the NL West with both the Rockies and Giants within 4.5 games, so they are not likely to relax at any point the rest of the way.
The Phillies, meanwhile, broke their tie with Atlanta last night to pull one game ahead of the Braves in the NL East. Philadelphia has won four of five since the all-star break and spend the weekend at last-place Cincinnati, so the Phils have a chance to build on their division lead if they can steal Wednesday’s game from the Dodgers.
Get A Do-Over
The Phillies will send veteran ace Jake Arrieta to the mound on Wednesday. Arrieta’s first start after the break was a bad one, as he gave up five runs (four earned) in just 3.1 innings. He’ll be hoping it was just a little rust after an extended break. Arrieta has been otherwise solid in his first season in Philadelphia, going 7-6 with a 3.47 ERA in 19 starts.
More importantly, Arrieta dominated the Dodgers over seven shutout innings when he faced them in late May. Outside of Corey Seager and Yasiel Puig, who are both unavailable, no one of the Dodgers’ roster has more than one career hit against Arrieta. However, the lineup he dominated in May did not include the newly-acquired Manny Machado or the hot-hitting tandem of Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson.
The Kid Is Back
The Dodgers bounced rookie Walker Buehler to the minors just before the all-star break, but he’s coming back to start Wednesday’s game against the Phillies. Buehler needed two stints on the DL to recover from a rib injury, but he looked fine in his last big league start against the Angels a couple weeks ago, giving up two runs over five innings against the Angels. HIs recent demotion to the minors has more to do with the Los Angeles rotation finally being healthy than his performance.
Buehler has impressed all season, posting a 3.45 ERA in 10 starts and one relief outing. On Wednesday, he’ll be facing a Phillies lineup that’s middle of the pack in runs scored. However, Odubel Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, Maikel Franco, and Nick Williams have all come out of the all-star break swinging a hot bat, so the Phillies have some guys who can hurt Buehler if he’s not on top of his game.
Wednesday’s game is an early start, especially after both teams played 16 innings and had to tax their bullpen on Tuesday. With that in mind, the edge goes to the Phillies. They have momentum after the dramatic walk-off at home. More importantly, a veteran like Arrieta is more likely to go deeper in the game to save his bullpen than the rookie Buehler. Take the Philadelphia Phillies +131 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.