Philadelphia will try to bounce back from a three-game losing streak when it travels to San Diego for a four-game series that begins on Thursday night. The Phillies had a five-game winning streak snapped in a loss to Washington on Sunday, and they added a pair of losses to Texas earlier this week. San Diego is trending in the opposite direction after sweeping Arizona.
Phillies in disappointing skid following hot streakPhiladelphia has been one of the most fascinating teams to follow this season. The Phillies went through a brutal stretch in May, losing 12 out of 16 games that resulted in the departure of manager Joe Girardi. They responded by being one of the hottest teams in baseball in the first half of June, putting together 15 wins in a 17-game stretch. Philadelphia is now in a surprising rut after losing to Washington and twice against Texas. The Phillies are in third place in the National League East, trailing New York by 8.5 games. They are only 3.5 games back of Atlanta for the final NL Wild Card spot, though.
The Phillies have been a solid offensive team, ranked No. 11 in batting average (.247). Designated hitter Bryce Harper leads the way with 75 hits, including 15 home runs. Right fielder Nick Castellanos has 65 hits, driving in 36 runs. They will be facing a San Diego pitching staff that is fifth in the majors with an ERA of 3.42. Left-handed pitcher Ranger Suarez is going to start for Philadelphia on Thursday. He allowed three runs on six hits across 5.2 innings against Washington his last time out—Suarez allowed a two-run homer in the sixth inning. He comes into this appearance with a 4.43 ERA overall this season.
Padres sitting atop NL WestSan Diego has not been nearly as streaky as Philadelphia this season, consistently winning games for most of the year. The Padres had one of their most disappointing series of the campaign over the weekend, getting swept by Colorado on the road. They bounced back in style though, sweeping Arizona earlier this week. San Diego wrapped up the series with a 10-4 blowout on Wednesday. The Padres are sitting atop the NL West, leading the Dodgers by a half-game in the standings. They are also four games ahead of third-place San Francisco, so the winner of the division will need to maintain strong form in the second half of the season.
The Padres have been decent at the plate, ranked No. 14 with a batting average of .245. Star third baseman Manny Machado leads the team with 83 hits and a .328 average. He has been out for three days with an ankle injury, but he is listed as probable for this game. Second baseman Jake Cronenworth has 68 hits, while first baseman Eric Hosmer has 66 base knocks. They will be facing a Philadelphia staff that is No. 16 with an ERA of 3.93. Veteran pitcher Joe Musgrove will be on the mound for San Diego in this game. He had his start pushed back one day due to a brief stint on the COVID-19 list. Musgrove cleared the protocols on Tuesday. He has been brilliant this year, producing a quality start in each of his 12 outings, posting a 1.59 ERA and 0.92 WHIP along the way.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I am willing to back Musgrove at -140 in just about any given matchup, but this one in particular looks like a slam dunk. The Padres have been the better overall team this year, and Philadelphia has struggled to bounce back once it has gotten itself in a rut this season. The Phillies are coming off three bad games in a row and now have to face possibly the best starting pitcher in baseball, so I do not have high hopes for them. Meanwhile, San Diego should have its star third baseman back in the lineup on Thursday. The Phillies have advantages in just about every department, making -140 a great bargain.
Full-Game Total Pick
This is the lowest total of the day, but I still like the under in this game. I generally try to avoid backing the under in a game where I like the favorite, but I think I can get away with both on Thursday. Philadelphia’s lineup has struggled over the past few days and is now facing one of the top starters in the majors. Musgrove has thrown quality starts in all 12 of his outings, making him extremely reliable. Suarez just needs a decent start to keep this one under the number.