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Back Gavin Williams and the Guardians Friday night vs. the Phillies in Cleveland

Read why we're betting against the Phillies vs. the Guardians Friday night.

Gavin Williams of the Cleveland Guardians pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 08, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Gavin Williams of the Cleveland Guardians pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Progressive Field on July 08, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)Read moreRon Schwane / Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies play the Cleveland Guardians today, and we have odds and a prediction featuring our best bet.

The Phillies dropped their mid-week series to Milwaukee, but they have been playing much better recently. They’re currently tied with Miami for the third NL Wildcard spot.

Read on for our best bet for Phillies vs. Guardians Friday night.

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Guardians vs. Phillies prediction: Analysis

  1. 7:10 p.m. ET, BSGL

  2. Probable pitchers: Gavin Williams (RHP) vs. Ranger Suarez (LHP)

After an embarrassing start to the year, the Guardians bats have woken up. Over the past month, they’re a top-10 offense by OPS (.751) and wRC+ (108).

The Guardians could win the AL Central behind their improved offense. They’re currently listed at +230 to win the FanDuel Sportsbook division, which might be worth a small wager.

But back to this game ... the Guardians have been hitting better than the Phillies since July started. The Phils have a league-average offense against right-handed pitching over the past three weeks.

Enter Gavin Williams, Cleveland’s right-handed starting pitcher for this matchup.

Williams is a big-boy righty (6′6″, 255 lbs.) with a big-boy fastball. By the numbers, it’s one of the league’s better four-seamers.

By FanGraphs’ Stuff+ model, which aims to quantify a pitch’s value based on its physical characteristics (velocity, movement, release point, et cetera), it’s the 20th-best fastball among starting pitchers (min. 20 IP).

This fastball is why Williams was a consensus top-50 prospect entering the season.

Williams’ rookie year has been solid, as he’s kept his ERA under 4.00 and is coming off an excellent start against the hard-hitting Rangers (5 IP, 2 ER, 4 K). His secondaries aren’t elite yet (slider, curveball), but his ceiling is tantalizing once he starts locating them better (bottom of the zone).

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Williams’ ceiling is much higher than Ranger Suarez’s, the Phillies starting pitcher today.

Suarez is a crafty lefty with an ability to induce weak contact, but he has pedestrian-level stuff (64 Stuff+ on the fastball).

There’s reason to be concerned about Suarez, as his usually-elite batted-ball profile has become mediocre. He’s league average by average Exit Velocity and Hard-Hit rate allowed, and he’s below average by every other Statcast metric.

You can’t trust a soft-tossing southpaw that’s not generating soft contact. His ground-ball rate is still great (51%), but even that is down from his career average (55%).

Predictably, Suarez has been struggling, allowing 11 earned runs and 10 walks over his past three outings (17 IP, 5.82 ERA, 6.70 FIP).

So, the starting pitching and lineup advantage is with the home side today.

Normally, I’d give the bullpen advantage to Philadelphia, but they’re missing two of their highest-leverage relievers, Jose Alvarado and Seranthony Dominguez.

Meanwhile, all of Cleveland’s highest-leverage bullpen arms are rested entering this series, including perennial All-Star closer Emmanuel Clase, who hasn’t pitched since Monday.

Finally, we can never discount Philadlephia’s horrendous defense (27th in Defensive Runs Saved).

Cleveland has every advantage on Friday evening, including home-field one. The wrong team is favored here, so bet the Guards.

Guardians vs. Phillies pick

  1. Guardians ML (+100)

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