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Back the Phillies to take opening game of series against Angels on Monday night

The Phillies continue their road trip by visiting Anaheim, where they will play three games against the Angels starting Monday.

And these Phils can’t lose right now. They’ve won eight of their past 10 games, most recently sweeping the Padres at PetCo.

Meanwhile, the Angels can’t buy a win. They’ve lost 15 of their past 20, most recently getting swept by the Twins at home.

I expect more of the same in this matchup and will be wagering accordingly.

Phillies vs Angels odds

(Odds via DraftKings)

Phillies vs Angels Prediction

(9:38 p.m. ET, BSW)

Despite their red-hot streak, I’m betting on the Phillies primarily because of starting pitching Cristopher Sanchez.

I’ve long been a fan of his, mainly because his three-pitch mix forces a unique combination of whiffs and ground balls, two qualities I’m always looking for in pitchers.

Sanchez lowered his arm slot last season and took some velocity off his changeup, creating one of baseball’s slowest, steepest, and filthiest pitches. Through 24 innings pitched this season, he’s posted a 75% ground-ball rate and a 40% whiff rate on the pitch.

Meanwhile, his slurve-like slider is forcing plenty of whiffs and weak contact, even if the pitch isn’t quite as nasty as his other secondary offering.

Sanchez’s primary offering is a questionable, low-90s sinker. You’ll never force many whiffs with a sinker, but he continues to force grounders with it (66% this season) while consistently generating strikes in the zone (58% zone rate, 72% strike rate).

However, the Stuff+ rating on that pitch has jumped nearly 40 points year over year (from 71 to 109), which has likely helped his increased strikeout rate (26%).

Overall, his early-season results are encouraging. Sanchez’s ERA, FIP, expected ERA and expected FIP all sit between 2.70 and 3.10, and he’s already generated 0.9 fWAR through five starts, which ranks among the top 20 MLB pitchers.

Meanwhile, there is no reason to trust Anaheim starting pitcher Griffin Canning, who has pitched to a 7.50 ERA in five appearances this season.

Canning has lost a tick of velocity on his fastball this season, torpedoing the pitch’s Stuff+ rating to a pathetic 67. He ranks 92nd among 115 MLB starting pitchers with 20 IP in four-seam Stuff+.

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Canning’s four-seam is his main offering, as he throws it over a third of the time. But without any velocity or ride, he can no longer miss bats, with his strikeout rate dropping 7% year over year (25% in 2023, 18% in 2024).

Canning’s slider is still an above-average offering, but you can’t pitch at the Major League level without a Major League fastball.

Suffice it to say, the Phillies have a monstrous starting pitching advantage today.

Similarly, the Phillies have significant advantages in the batter’s box and bullpen.

The Phillies rank among the top-five MLB bullpens in relief pitching WAR (1.1), while the Angels rank 26th (-0.4).

The Phillies rank among the top-10 MLB lineups in wRC+ (108), while the Angels rank 20th (96).

Ultimately, I’m looking to bet on Sanchez and against Canning.

And I’m willing to bet the Phillies will win this game comfortably, thanks to their significant pitching advantages across all nine innings.

Phillies vs Angels Pick

  1. Phillies ML (-142, DraftKings)

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