The Miami Marlins are back in the playoffs, as they closed out the final month of the season strong to steal a spot from the Chicago Cubs.
Now, they have a tough matchup with a division rival in the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Wild Card round.
The Marlins have some injuries to their pitching staff – leading to Jesus Luzardo getting the ball in Game 1 of this series against Philly’s Zack Wheeler.
Can Miami continue this magical season filled with close wins by upsetting the Phils?
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Marlins vs. Phillies probable pitchers for Game 1
- Miami: Jesus Luzardo (lefty): 10-9, 3.63 ERA
- Philadelphia: Zack Wheeler (righty): 13-6, 3.61 ERA
Marlins vs. Phillies odds, run line and total
Marlins vs. Phillies prediction and pick
On Monday’s episode of Baseball Insiders, I picked the Marlins to upset the Phillies in this series.
Is it a crazy pick? Maybe. But I believe in this Miami pitching staff and its young arms. There’s no Eury Perez or Sandy Alcantara, but there are still plenty of plus arms in this rotation.
However, I don’t think Game 1 is where the Marlins are in a great spot to win. That’s Game 2 – against Aaron Nola who they have hit well against – but I still think there is a way to back Miami in this matchup.
And we’re going to do it by looking at the total.
The UNDER 7.5 runs may be one run too many – even with the Phillies’ elite offense.
Luzardo and Wheeler have both been solid this season, and the Marlins struggle much more against right-handed pitching (20th in OPS) in 2023 than they do against lefties.
Philly is still top-10 in Major League Baseball in OPS against lefties, but at least Luzardo will be able to face Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber in lefty-lefty looks.
Not only that, but Luzardo posted an impressive 2.68 Fielding Independent Pitching over his final five starts of the season. He’s coming into this matchup hot.
Wheeler has kept the Miami offense in check in his three outings against them – allowing just six runs across 18.0 innings of work.
I am concerned about the Miami bullpen (4.37 ERA) keeping this game close, but the Phillies have a great bullpen (3.56 ERA, good for sixth in Major League Baseball).
We’ve seen Miami play a ton of one-run games this season, going 33-13 in those contests. If the Marlins keep this close, I expect it to be low-scoring, which may allow the team to pull off an upset in yet another one-run contest.
Regardless, the UNDER feels like a great play in Game 1.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.