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  • Writer's pictureMason Dalley

Best Bet 7/16/2023

Philadelphia Phillies Run Line -1.5 against the San Diego Padres

DK +135

FD +134

BSB +135

Season Record 2-0

Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY

My Best Bet for Sunday 7/16/2023 is The Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 against the San Diego Padres. The reason is simple. The Phillies have 2021 Cy Young Winner Zack Wheeler on the bump.

Whole Lotta Red

Unsurprisingly Wheeler has been exceptional yet again in 2023. The only thing holding back his traditional stats from reflecting his advanced metrics is that the Philadelphia Phillies are not exactly defensive specialists. Defensive Runs Above Average isn't perfect, but I greatly prefer it to raw fielding percentage and errors committed/not committed because those don't tell the whole story. Nick Castellanos rarely commits errors, but he also never fields balls he should be able to get to as a professional outfielder. Luckily for us there is a "Should've had That" stat called UZR that details how that can hinder a team's success. The Phillies have 5 position players who are like this. They have a team Defense Runs Above Average of -23.9. Losing about 24 runs purely on defense is not a good ingredient for consistent winning.

This defensive prelude leads to why I like Zack Wheeler so much today. All they have to do is not perform a Keystone Cops sketch in the field and Wheeler will all but assuredly dominate. ERA is team stat. The 4.05 is not reflective of his actual prowess on the bump. Wheeler sports a pitching line of 104.1 IP/119 SO/1.19 WHIP/2.83 FIP/3.37 xERA/ 5% BB Rate. The dude is nails.

The San Diego Padres are a perfect opportunity for him to thrive as well. They are a 2 man band. Only Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr have OPS over .800. And even worse is that Soto is the only player with at least 100 plate appearances that has an On Base Percentage of .350 or better. I love Ha-Seong Kim as an all around player, but for the Padres to be a good offense, he cannot be your 2nd best on base guy and 4th Best Slugger. They just have no consistency in that aspect of the game. Sure, you get sporadic bursts of offense from Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado, and even Gary Sanchez, but the rest of the roster just does not get on base.

A team that struggles to get on base against the guy with lowest walk rate in all of MLB is a perfect recipe for a winner. Barring any comedy from Philadelphia's defense or one of San Diego's 100 million dollar men finally arriving to the 2023 season.

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