Aug. 25 MLB Preview — Philadelphia Phillies (67-61) at Miami Marlins (46-82)

(Corey Dickerson photo courtesy Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)

This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.

Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.

When and Where: Sunday, Aug. 25, Marlins Park, Miami, Fla., 1:10 p.m. EDT.

Aaron Nola has pitched as a staff ace should for the last two seasons against the Miami Marlins with little to show for it. He hopes the third matchup this year is the charm Sunday when the Philadelphia Phillies conclude a three-game series versus their NL East rivals.

Surging Nola seeks third straight win and fifth in six starts for Phils

Nola (12-3, 3.51 ERA) has gone 4-1 with a 2.72 ERA in his last six starts, striking out 42 in 39 2-3 innings while holding opponents to a .199 batting average. He turned in a sharp outing against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Tuesday night, with the lone damage over seven innings a two-run homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. in Philadelphia’s 3-2 victory.

The right-hander is far and away the most dependable starter on the Phillies, and manager Gabe Kapler plans on sending Nola out there every fifth day through the end of the season.

“Whereas with some of our pitchers we might be more influential in their between-starts work, Nola is going to be in control with how he prepares in between starts,” Kapler said Wednesday to the Phils’ official website. “He’s earned that. His track record is stellar as it relates to what he does after his last pitch and until his next pitch.”

Facing Miami, however, has not been a winning proposition of late — through no fault of Nola’s own. He has limited the Marlins three runs in 14 2-3 innings in two matchups this year and has a loss and a no-decision. Nola is 1-2 in five starts against them over the last two seasons despite a 1.59 ERA and not allowing more than two runs in any of those outings.

Nola is 3-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 12 lifetime starts against Miami and has gone 2-3 with a 3.82 ERA in six in Florida.

Hernandez hopes to avoid recurrence of blister problems

Elieser Hernandez (2-5, 5.18) had his Tuesday outing cut short by his own hand — more specifically the middle finger on his throwing hand. The right-hander left after four innings and 68 pitches against Atlanta, limiting the Braves to one run and three hits before a blister developed.

“He’s been managing it for probably three or four starts,” manager Don Mattingly told the Marlins’ official website. “It’s something they’ve been keeping stuff on and draining it every now and then. It just got hot tonight.”

Hernandez also created some drama with his first pitch of the game by drilling Venezuelan compatriot Ronald Acuna Jr. in the ribs with a fastball but insisted he was not throwing at him.

The right-hander faced the Phillies twice in a six-day span late in June, getting a no-decision on the road and a win at home. Hernandez yielded five runs — with four runs scoring on three home runs — and seven hits in 10 2-3 innings, and those are his lone starts versus Philadelphia.

Notable Trends

The Marlins are:

  • 4-11 in Hernandez’s last 15 starts.
  • 4-10 in Hernandez’s last 14 starts vs. above-.500 teams.
  • 11-24 in their last 35 during game 3 of a series.

The Phillies are:

  • 5-1 in Nola’s last six starts on four days of rest.
  • 8-3 in Nola’s last 11 road starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
  • 21-7 in Nola’s last 28 starts vs. sub-.500 teams.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Phillies -1.5 runs (-125)

Despite Nola’s lack of success against the Marlins in terms of racking up wins, there is every reason to belief he will keep them in check once more. Hernandez poses an interesting challenge, but his two starts against the Phillies this year came against Vince Velasquez; stepping up to face a staff ace in Nola and a Philadelphia offense that has totaled 20 runs in the last two games brings a set of pressures the right-hander likely will not fare well with.

****4-Star Pick****

OVER 8 runs (-115)

This is a confidence pick in Philadelphia’s offense and against Miami’s bullpen. The over is 12-4-2 in Miami’s last 18 games against above-.500 teams and 12-5-2 in its last 19 versus right-handers.

The over was also trending in the head-to-head series, delivering in six of the last eight games in Miami. Lastly, the over is a healthy 10-1-1 in Miami’s last 12 at home against teams with winning records. The over has been with the Phillies on the Sunday, hitting in seven of the last 10 there, and is also 10-4-1 in the last 15 games when Nola comes off a quality start.

Phillies OVER 4.5 runs (-121)

Even with Bryce Harper on paternity leave, the Phillies have shown they can pile up runs on the Marlins — they have scored 20 in the first two games of this series. Hernandez has served up three homers in his previous two starts in this matchup, so there is every reason to believe Philadelphia can clear this number.

OVER 4 runs first 5 innings (-121)

If you can find this line without the hook — it came down from 4.5 ahead of the first pitch, jump on it. The five-inning over is 6-2 in the eight games between the teams in Miami after delivering in the first two games of this series, and the Phillies have scored three or more runs in the first five innings in nine of their last 13 games.

The five-inning over is also 7-2 in Miami’s last nine home games.

***3-Star Picks***

Phillies -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-105)

Though both of Nola’s starts versus the Marlins were 1-1 after five innings, the Phillies are the pick. They have a 9-3-2 record at the midway point in their last 13 road games and are 7-3 in their last 10 overall. Additionally, Nola has pitched Philadelphia to a five-run lead in six of his eight starts since the All-Star break.

Phillies OVER 2.5 runs first 5 innings (+105)

This pick delivered Saturday night with Philadelphia’s six-run fourth, and while they may not put up that big of a crooked number in this contest, they have shown an ability to get to Hernandez. The Marlins have given up three or more runs in four of his last eight starts, and Philadelphia is hitting well enough in this series to take a flyer at plus-money.


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