Philadelphia Phillies vs. Cleveland Indians Pick 9/22/19
Philadelphia Phillies (79-74) vs. Cleveland Indians (91-64), 9/22/19
Time: 6:35 pm ET Sunday, Sept. 22
Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH
Listed Pitchers: Vince Velasquez (7-7, 4.89 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) vs. Adam Plutko (7-4, 4.34, 1.22)
Moneyline: Indians -140/Phillies +130
Two teams still trying to chase down playoff spots meet when the Phillies and Indians finish off a three-game series in Cleveland Sunday night. These two teams have split the first two games of this series, so it comes down to a rubber match here. Who do we like here for our free MLB pick?
MLB Betting Odds
Sunday’s MLB betting odds opened Cleveland and Plutko at around -150 over Philadelphia and Velasquez, with an over/under of 9.5 runs. Early betting action then dropped the Tribe to -140 and bumped that total to 10.5.
Phillies vs. Indians Set-Up
Cleveland took the opener of this series Friday night 5-2, winning as a -195 favorite with Shane Bieber on the mound. But Philadelphia won Saturday’s game 9-4, cashing in as a +135 underdog.
The Indians led Saturday 4-1 through two innings, but the Phillies scored the last eight runs of the game for the win.
Also, Friday’s game played under a total of nine runs, while Saturday’s contest played over a total of 10.5.
With Saturday’s victory, Philadelphia is 3-2 over its last five games. At 79-74 overall the Phillies trail Milwaukee by five games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot, with time running out.
Meanwhile, Saturday’s loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Cleveland. At 91-64 overall the Indians trail division-leading Minnesota by four games in the AL Central, but they’re also just one game behind Tampa Bay in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.
This series is the first meeting between these teams since 2016.
Sunday’s Starting Arms
Plutko, by our stringent standards, is 7/18 on quality starts this season and two for his last three. Tuesday he held Detroit to two runs and four hits through six innings of a 7-2 Cleveland victory. And over his last three starts, he’s allowed six runs and 17 hits through 16 1/3 innings.
On the season the Indians are 13-5 with Plutko, 3-0 over his last three starts.
This start will be Plutko’s first-ever appearance against Philadelphia, which could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Velasquez is just 2/21 on quality starts this season and 0 for his last seven, although some of that has to do with a short leash. Tuesday he held Atlanta to two runs and five hits through five innings, with eight strikeouts, of a 5-4 Phillies win. And over his last four starts, he’s allowed nine runs and 20 hits through 17 1/3 innings.
Philadelphia is 12-9 with Velasquez this year, 4-0 over his last four starts, although he can’t take all the credit for that.
This start will be Velasquez’s first against Cleveland since 2016, and that’s already a long time ago.
Sunday’s Batting SplitsPhiladelphia is batting .243/.318/.422 against right-handed pitching this season. Cleveland is batting .250/.321/.436 against RH pitching this season.
The BullpensThe Phillies bullpen owns a 4.40 ERA this season and a 1.39 WHIP while allowing a .779 OPS. The Cleveland pen owns an ML-best 3.55 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP while allowing a .724 OPS. Numbers like those are why we rank this unit among the top half-dozen bullpens in Baseball.
- Unders are 79-70 in Phillies games this season.
- Unders are 86-65 in Indians games this season.
- Unders are 46-34 in games played at Progressive Field this season.
- Unders are a combined 24-15 with Plutko and Velasquez this season.
Free MLB Pick
We give Plutko the edge in the pitching match-up. Cleveland also owns a small advantage with the sticks and a considerable edge in the bullpen comparison. So we’re taking the Tribe for our free MLB pick for Sunday.
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