Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#925 Philadelphia Phillies 12 vs.
#926 Boston Red Sox -160
Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

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The Philadelphia Phillies will head on the road to Fenway Park on Wednesday evening for the second game of their interleague series versus the Boston Red Sox.

This matchup will feature two teams battling for a spot in the postseason in their respective leagues. After winning five straight games, Boston enters the week six games back in the chase for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. Meanwhile, the Phillies have dropped two straight to fall two games back of the Chicago Cubs for the National Leagues’ final postseason spot. Can the Red Sox keep up their momentum at home versus the Phillies on Wednesday night?

Smyly starting to stumble in Phillies rotation

Philadelphia will turn to reclamation project Drew Smyly for the final game of their series at Fenway Park on Wednesday night. After beginning his career with the Phillies with back-to-back quality starts, Smyly has stumbled in each of his last three outings. He allowed five runs on seven hits in five innings of work during his last trip to the mound, but escaped with a no-decision in a 7-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs. It marked the third straight start in which Smyly had surrendered at least five runs, but there were still positives to takeaway for the 30-year-old lefty. 

Prior to being acquired by Philadelphia, Smyly had made 13 appearances (9 starts), but only completed five innings or more three times as a member of the Texas Rangers. Since dawning a Phillies’ uniform, Smyly has completed five innings or more in all five of his starts, while posting a respectable 1-1 record and a 4.71 ERA. He comes in with a 7.09 ERA and a 2-6 overall record in 18 appearances (14 starts) so far this year. 

Smyly has faced the Red Sox 10 times in his career (eight starts), going 3-1 with a stellar 2.18 ERA in those outings. According to Baseball Savant, current Red Sox are batting only .212 in 71 plate appearances off the Phillies’ left-hander heading into Wednesday’s matchup. 

Sale out for the remainder of 2019

Boston’s dwindling playoff hopes took another big hit on Monday when it was announced that left-handed ace Chris Sale would miss the rest of the season due to inflammation in his pitching elbow. While he doesn’t need the famed Tommy John Surgery, Sale underwent a plasma injection and will be re-evaluated in six weeks by Dr. James Andrews. The 30-year-old ace struck out 12 batters in his last start, becoming the fastest pitcher in MLB history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts, but was placed on the injured list four days later.

The Red Sox will try to keep the postseason chances alive on Wednesday by sending right-hander Rick Porcello to the hill for their series finale versus Philadelphia. Porcello will try to build momentum after tossing his second quality start in three outings last time out versus the Baltimore Orioles. The 30-year-old surrendered just one run on four hits in six innings of work to earn his sixth win in his last eight starts. When Procello has been good, he’s been a valuable innings-eater for the Red Sox, but he’s mixed in too many poor outings this season. Despite his recent success, the right-hander has given up five earned runs or more in six of his last 10 starts. He comes in with an 11-9 overall record to go along with a 5.49 ERA in 25 starts.

In four career outings versus the Phillis, Porcello is 2-1 with a 4.32 ERA. According to Baseball Savant, current Phillies’ hitters are batting .264 in 170 plate appearances off the Red Sox right-hander heading into Wednesday’s matchup. 

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Smyly and Porcello were rotation mates during their days with the Detroit Tigers, but their careers have taken very different turns since then. Porcello won an AL Cy Young with the Red Sox, while Smyly emerged as a viable starter with the Rays before his career was derailed by injuries. Philadelphia has struggled in this series, winning just three of the last 12 meetings and five of their last 21 games on the road at Fenway Park. Neither of these pitchers has been very good this season, but Smyly has clearly not regained the form that made him an emerging starter earlier in his career. The Phillies’ left-hander has surrendered a whopping 25 home runs in 80 combined innings this season (2.81 HR/9), including six in his last three starts. Meanwhile, Boston enters this series having won five straight and Porcello has posted three quality outings in his last five trips to the mound. Take the Red Sox on the run line in this battle between two underachieving teams battling for a postseason spot.

Prediction: Boston Red Sox -1.5

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The under is 6-2-1 in the last nine meetings between these two teams and 4-0-1 in the last five meetings at Fenway Park, but it’s hard to see that trend continuing on Wednesday night. Smyly has given up at least four runs in each of his last three starts, while Porcello has accomplished that feat in seven of his last 10 outings. Home runs have been a problem for both starters coming into this game. Smyly is allowing nearly three home runs per nine innings of work, while Porcello has given up 25 home runs in 25 starts (1.61 HR/9) so far this year. Boston has also been red-hot on offense as of late, hitting .354 with a 1.069 OPS over their last five games, while averaging 7.6 runs per game during that span. Take the over in this interleague series battle on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Over 12
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.