Today’s play of the day is a battle between two teams fighting for the final wild-card spot. The home team currently has an identical record to the other team battling for the AL spot. The visitors are still mathematically in the mix for the final wild-card spot in the NL. The home team is a heavy favorite, but in a new age of monster baseball moneylines it appears to offer a solid value. Let’s dig in to uncover which team actually presents more value for this contest.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cleveland Indians
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The Philadelphia Phillies are set to lock horns with the Cleveland Indians in an interleague affair. Philadelphia has had a strong season but has slipped to fourth place in the NL East. They hold a 78-73 record but are 14.5 games back of the division-leading Atlanta Braves. Philadelphia has scored a solid 4.85 runs per contest. The Phillies have struggled on the road this season where they hold a 35-38 record. Philadelphia has won two of their last three contests.
Cleveland has turned their season into an excellent one. They have had to scratch and claw, but the Indians are now tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the final wild-card spot in the American League. Cleveland has a 90-63 record. They have been strong at home this season where they hold a 47-31 mark. Cleveland has won seven of their last nine contests.
The Philadelphia Phillies will be sending the Drew Smyly the rubber. Cleveland will be countering with the talented Shane Bieber. Drew Smyly has been a disaster this season. He is 4-6 on the season and has an unsightly 6.22 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. He was playing like a release candidate with Texas but has shown improvement after moving to the National League. Through 10 starts with Philadelphia, he has a 4.14 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. Smyly has actually been better on the road this season. He holds a 4.89 ERA and 1.59 WHIP away from his home parks. He has made one appearance against Cleveland this season and relinquished five runs in just 3.1 innings of work. Smyly has allowed three or more runs in 14 of his 23 appearances (19 starts). Philadelphia has won six of his last seven starts.
Shane Bieber has been electric this season. He has a 14-7 record with a 3.26 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Bieber has 245 strikeouts in 201.1 innings. Strangely, Bieber has actually been better on the road this season. He holds a 3.72 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP at Progressive Field. He has allowed three runs or less in 25 of his 31 starts. Bieber has surrendered two runs or less in 21 of his 31 starts. Cleveland has won his last three starts.
Edge: Cleveland Indians
There are some intriguing trends for this contest.
- They have won their last four road contests.
- They have won their last six interleague road contests.
- They have won their last four road contests against teams with winning records.
- They have won five of their last seven contests against the AL Central.
- They have lost five of their last seven Friday contests.
- They have lost five of their last nine contests.
- They have won seven of their last nine contests.
- They have won six of their last eight Friday contests.
- They have won 22 of their last 30 series openers.
- They have won 88 of their last 129 home contests against teams with winning records.
- They have lost their last four contests against the NL East.
- They have lost five of their last six interleague contests against teams with winning records.
- Philadelphia has won his last five road starts.
- Philadelphia has won his last five starts against teams with winning records.
- Philadelphia has won six of his last seven starts.
- Cleveland has won his last five Friday starts.
- Cleveland has won seven of his last 10 starts on four days of rest.
- He has allowed two runs or less in six of his last 10 starts.
- Cleveland has won his last three starts.
- Cleveland has won five of his last eight home contests.
Edge: Cleveland Indians
The line for this contest has already seen some major movement. It opened at -190 on Cleveland and has moved to -209 and -220 at PointsBet. The Indians are the better team with the far superior pitcher. They have both trends and form behind them, and their high win probability is reflected in the odds. Philadelphia has been no pushover and has won four of their last five contests against Cleveland. However, location matters as Cleveland has won four of their last five home contests against Philadelphia. With the season winding down, both of these teams are in must-win mode which should lead to an entertaining battle. Take the home team with the better record and superior pitcher. Cleveland is the pick for a partial unit return.