The Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon in the finale of their four-game weekend series. The first two games have been back and forth affairs, especially after how Thursday and Friday's games set the tone for the series. With Sunday's finale approaching, two teams look for some confidence and momentum as they head out into their mid-week series. The Dodgers remain a World Series contender but the Phillies continue to impress at times, with a win on Sunday giving them a chance to increase their credibility going forward.
Phillies Impressing Of LateEven though it has only been a month of action, the Phillies have already gone through the same number of highs and lows that many opponents face all season. After starting the season hot, the Phillies struggled as April turned to May, but this weekend's series has shown their ability to compete at the highest level. A win in the series opener on Thursday set the tone and being able to compete in the middle two games has put the rest of the league on alert that they might be turning things around. They sat in second place in the NL East standings coming into the weekend and while winning the division could be a challenge, finding wins could put them in a prime position to be in the Wild Card race. A .500 road record isn't ideal but this team will certainly fight on Sunday's finale.
Injuries haven't helped but the Phillies finally seem to be adjusting to life with their makeshift lineup. From a positional player standpoint, Bruce Harper (elbow) remains the key potential absence, though he's probable for Sunday. Adding in Didi Gregorius (knee) definitely being out and the offense is likely to take some step back. From a pitching standpoint, the lack of bullpen arms remains a concern, especially with all the innings being played over the last week.
Have yourself a night, MV3 pic.twitter.com/fNpDH1vJ0F— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) May 14, 2022
Aaron Nola will get the ball in this one as the Phillis look at one of their best arms to close out the weekend with a bang. The righty has taken a slight step back this season and comes into the weekend with a 1-4 record and 3.83 ERA, struggling more and more of late. In his last start, he went only 5.1 innings, allowing four earned runs, while he's allowed eight combined runs in his last 18.1 innings of work. The more pressing concern is the state of the bullpen, as the Phillies rank near the bottom of baseball in a number of statistics and against a Los Angeles squad with some potential, could struggle.
Philadelphia's offense has led the way this season and their ability to score in bunches will continue to give them a chance on a nightly basis, including against the Dodgers. They rank third in the league in runs scored per nine innings and are second in batting average and first in OPS. With a low strikeout rate as well, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they've continued to find success on that end of things. Alec Bohm (.311 average) has been a pleasant surprise, while Harper (9 HRs, 27 RBIs) continues to be one of the most productive batters in baseball. The Phillies have an incredibly balanced and deep lineup and the Dodgers could get everything they can handle in this one.
Dodgers Look To End Weekend StrongFor years now, the Dodgers have remained one of the most dangerous teams in all of baseball and on a nightly basis, remain more and more difficult to beat. Sitting in first place in the NL West, it appears that it'll continue to be one of the most competitive divisions in baseball again this season. With how the standings look like they might end, with the Padres and Giants looking like they'll combine with the Dodgers to make it a three-way race, a game like Sunday's finale is the type of win the Dodgers have to ensure they come away with if they want to avoid the Wild Card Game and losing out on home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a home record well over .500, along with their record over the last ten games, this team is ready to grab a win before they head off into the mid-week series.
Despite being in first place, the injuries remain a major concern for the Dodgers going forward. In regards to position players, Will Smith (pectoral) has been ruled out for the weekend but is at least the only player in the lineup who remains out. The more pressing concern is that there are six starters out and another four bullpen arms out.
JUSTIN TIME. pic.twitter.com/YSEj1hiTr1— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) May 14, 2022
The injuries for the rotation mean that Sunday's starter remains to be determined in this one, though it appears that Julio Urias will be the starter. He comes into Sunday with a 2-2 record and a 2.10 ERA across 30 innings of work, ensuring that he's going to at least give the Dodgers some quality innings. He's only allowed more than a single earned run once in his last five starts, and that was only two runs. As he continues to improve and eat up innings for this group, the Dodgers will continue to find success.
For as good as the pitching has been, the offense has been equally as successful in keeping them in contention on a nightly basis this season. They rank first in runs per nine innings and are top ten in both batting average and OPS. Freddie Freeman (.303 average, .393 OBP) has established himself as one of the best off-season acquisitions. Adding in Mookie Betts (6 HRs) and Trea Turner (23 RBI), as well as an All-Star or near All-Star at nearly every other position, and they'll like their chances to lead the way and come away with the win.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Dodgers have limped their way through the start of the series but with Sunday's finale setting the tone for the mid-week and closing out the weekend, they won't have any issues coming away with the win. Urias has been one of their most consistent pitchers on the season and while the offense hasn't had any issues getting going in this series, the pitching has let them down. Urias will serve as a strong backbone for them to turn to on Sunday and his ability to navigate Philadelphia's offense will be key. For the Phillies, Nola is likely to struggle against the Dodgers' depth on offense and with some inconsistencies themselves on the offensive end, they won't have enough to come away with the win in this one.
Full-Game Total Pick
This has been one of the highest-scoring series in baseball over the course of the weekend and that'll continue into Sunday's finale. Urias is strong on the mound but the Phillies have too much power spread throughout the offense to not have at least some successful at bats. For the Dodgers, they continue to have one of the deepest lineups in baseball and with how they've been swinging to open the series, as well as being at home, they won't let the bats go quiet on Sunday. These two of the best offenses in baseball and that'll be on full display for the fans in this one.