MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Tuesday October 24th

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MLB schedule today has 1 game

The Philadelphia Phillies have been around for 140 years and they have never played a Game 7. Who would have thought it would come against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2023 NLCS? Arizona’s early outburst against Aaron Nola was enough last night, as Merrill Kelly sailed through five innings and the bullpen did the rest to force the winner-take-all affair.

 

Underdogs are 24-11 on the moneyline this postseason so far. If that trend holds true tonight, we’ll get Diamondbacks at Rangers in Game 1 on Friday. If not, we’ll get Phillies at Rangers. It all comes down to our second Game 7 of the LCS round, which is the first time that has happened since 2004.

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Here are some thoughts on the October 24 card (odds from DraftKings):

(odds as of 8:30 a.m. PT)

Arizona Diamondbacks at Philadelphia Phillies (-175, 8.5)

Brandon Pfaadt and Ranger Suarez are the listed starters in this one. Both guys pitched extremely well in the nail-biter that was Game 3, as neither team scored a run until the seventh inning. Pfaadt got one more out than Suarez, as he went 5.2 innings with nine strikeouts and just two hits allowed. Suarez went 5.1 innings with seven punchies and three hits allowed.

Pfaadt’s last two playoff starts have been top-notch, as he’s shut down the Dodgers and Phillies over 10 innings with zero runs allowed on four hits. He was not good on the road against Milwaukee in the Wild Card round and that’s my starting point for this handicap. Pfaadt allowed three runs on seven hits in just 2.2 innings. I’m sure the then-24-year-old had some jitters. He’s since turned 25, but he’s made each of his last two starts at home.

Pfaadt did have a 6.46 ERA at home and a 5.04 ERA on the road during the regular season, but the bigger number to me is that he allowed a .545 SLG on the road and 15 of his 22 homers, despite working just four more innings away from Chase Field. It doesn’t really surprise me that Pfaadt struggled in Milwaukee. It wouldn’t surprise me if he struggles tonight in Philadelphia in what will be a loud venue. Pfaadt was definitely under a lot of pressure in his Game 3 start since falling down 3-0 would have been a death sentence, so I’m not so much worried about that. To me, it’s more about having a home run problem that was on display more often away from home.

As for Suarez, he’s allowed a total of four runs (three earned) in 28.2 career playoff innings. He’s allowed one run on seven hits in 14 innings this postseason with a 13/2 K/BB ratio. His only blemish was a solo homer in his Game 4 start against the Braves. I do have some concerns that his velocity was down in his start against Arizona, but it didn’t seem to really impact his effectiveness. He only allowed five hard-hit balls and had the seven strikeouts over 69 pitches. He was very efficient.

Pfaadt had 17 whiffs in 36 swings, so he had the Phillies all out of sorts. Credit to Pfaadt for the 47% Whiff%, which is a truly elite number, but can he repeat it and keep the Phillies at bay? Also, the Phillies had 36 swings in 70 pitches, which was a pretty high rate of swings. Will they be as aggressive in this game tonight?

All hands are on deck for both bullpens. Everybody is available tonight if called upon based on workload and what’s at stake.

My inclination here is to like the Phillies 1st 5 and then see what happens later. Arizona jumped on Nola for the two early homers and then played aggressively with the lead, as they stole four bases. Suarez is left-handed, so he can control the running game a bit more effectively. While I think Pfaadt has a ton of promise going forward, he’s a clear downgrade to Kelly, who has been great for Arizona all season.

I think the Phillies lead after five innings. What happens beyond that is anybody’s guess. But, I do like Suarez against the Diamondbacks lineup and I don’t like Pfaadt on the road. I’ll take the 1st 5 run line of -0.5 at -120 here.

Pick: Phillies 1st 5 -0.5 (-120)