Bales' Best MLB Bet (9/23/20)
Welcome to my newest edition of Bales' Best MLB Bets. In this article, I will outline my favorite bet for September 23, 2020. You can also find all of Bet Karma's staff bets through our MLB Premium Package.
Zach Eflin has been in the midst of a breakout season, even it may not appear like it at a quick glance. He’s allowed 25 runs (23 earned runs) over 48.1 innings in 2020. With that being said, he boasts a 3.05 xFIP and a 3.42 SIERA while his .368 BABIP suggests he’s been a relatively unlucky pitcher this season.
Eflin’s control has been outstanding, recording 29.6% strikeout and 10.1% swinging-strike rates to go along with a 6.3% walk rate. He also enters this game with a 47.3% ground ball rate, allowing him to rely on strikeouts and double plays when he’s in tough situations.
Eflin has thrown slightly worse on the road, where his xFIP increases to 3.41. He has been elite against right-handed batters in 2020, though, recording a 2.51 xFIP against them while the majority of his issues have come against lefties. Eflin has also been relatively untouchable when he gets ahead in the count this season. Furthermore, he boasts 2.18 and 3.05 xFIPs the first two times through the lineup, giving him an early edge in this game.
Eflin gets an interesting matchup against the Washington Nationals tonight. They rank sixth in the MLB in team batting average, 10th in slugging percentage,, and seventh in wOBA over the last 10 days. The Nationals are also averaging 4.9 runs per game over that span.
With that being said, Washington has struggled at home, where they are only hitting for a .238 average with a .393 slugging percentage and a .708 OPS. They have also been significantly worse against right-handed pitching, recording a .253/.402/.731 line in 2020. Their inability to produce power in Washington will be a massive detriment in a matchup against Eflin.
Erick Fedde’s ERA sits extremely close to Eflin’s on the season, as he’s allowed 22 runs (21 earned runs) in 43.1 innings. The difference is that Fedde also owns a 5.37 xFIP and a 5.60 SIERA with a .243 BABIP in 2020, suggesting he’s due for quite a bit of regression as he throws more innings.
He struggles to produce strikeouts, entering this game with 11.8% strikeout and 5.7% swinging-strike rates. He has also struggled in 2020 with a 10.8% walk rate. Fedde does boast a 54.4% ground ball rate, allowing him to pitch his way out of trouble with double plays.
Fedde has been a slightly worse pitching option in Washington, where he owns a 5.46 xFIP. He has also been a reverse splits pitcher, posting a 5.96 xFIP against right-handed batters while recording a 4.69 xFIP against lefties. Fedde isn’t great when he’s ahead in the count but his xFIP balloons to 6.00 or worse when he falls behind in the count. It also increases to 6.59 his second time through the order.
Fedde will face off against the Philadelphia Phillies tonight. They only rank 15th in the MLB in team batting average and wOBA and 17th in slugging percentage over the last 10 days. With that being said, they rank third in the league in walk rate over that span, allowing them to take advantage of a wild pitcher tonight. Overall, they’re only averaging 3.7 runs per game over that span.
The Phillies have found some success outside of Philadelphia, though, as they boast a .254 average with a .415 slugging percentage and a .756 OPS on the road this season. They also own a .254/.422/.760 line against right-handed pitching in 2020.
Neither bullpen has found success recently, as the Nationals rank 21st in the MLB in bullpen ERA while the Phillies rank 29th in September. With that being said, Philadelphia boasts a 4.69 bullpen xFIP in those games while Washington’s dips to 5.12.
Fedde is somewhat of an ideal matchup for the Phillies, as they can get ahead in the count and take advantage of their patience. This is also nearly a must-win situation for them as they are fighting for the playoffs. Washington has struggled this season with one of the worst records in the NL and I’m backing a team fighting for their season with one of the most underrated pitchers on the mound.
Bet 1 unit on Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 run line (+110) to win 1.1 units
2020 MLB Season Record - 32-46 (-11.45 units)