The Philadelphia Phillies try to win a second straight game when they face the San Francisco Giants in the first of a three-game weekend series on Friday night. The series opener is set for a 9:45 p.m. ET first pitch at Oracle Park in San Francisco.
The Phillies were able to get a win in the finale of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, snapping a two-game losing streak. Philadelphia improved to 33-33 with the win and enters in second place in the NL East, 4½ games behind the first-place New York Mets and two games ahead of the third-place Atlanta Braves.
The Giants have won four in a row, sweeping the division rival Arizona Diamondbacks to improve to 44-25. San Francisco is atop the NL West standings, leading the second-place Dodgers by 2½ games and the third-place San Diego Padres by six games.
The MLB odds for the series opener have the Giants with a moneyline of -122, while the Phillies are listed at +112. The over/under for this contest is set at 8½ runs.
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The Phillies’ win over the Dodgers on Wednesday was significant in that it snapped a two-game losing skid, but it also featured Rhys Hoskins getting a hit. Hoskins broke an 0-for-33 slump with a home run.
“That’s a big hit for us, and Rhys has had a lot of those in these two-run (close) games that we play,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said. “Rhys has had a lot of big homers in those games, so I’m really happy for him.”
Hoskins hadn’t had a hit since June 5. Even with the slump, Hoskins is batting .234 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI to lead Philadelphia in the latter two categories.
Outfielder Bryce Harper is batting .274 with eight home runs and 18 RBI in 47 games. Philadelphia would like to see both players get hot to try to catch the Mets in the division standings.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez will get the start. The 29-year-old is 2-1 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts and 13 overall appearances.
Velasquez doesn’t have a decision in two June starts, going a total of nine innings and allowing five runs on 10 hits, including a home run. He went five innings against the Yankees on Saturday, giving up two runs while striking out five and walking one in an extra-inning Phillies win.
Needing To Improve
The Giants will have veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto on the mound. Cueto is 4-3 with a 4.00 ERA, but he’s dropped both of his June starts. Cueto has 42 strikeouts and 11 walks in 54 innings.
His last start was against Washington on Sunday, as he went 5⅓ innings and allowed four earned runs on nine hits, including two home runs. It was his second straight game of allowing two home runs after giving up a total of two in his first eight starts of the season.
Although it was against the Diamondbacks, the Giants averaged 9.2 runs over the four-game sweep this week. Catcher Curt Casali led the effort in Thursday’s win, going 3-for-5 with a triple and a home run with four RBI and two runs scored. It was his first triple and home run of the season.
Shortstop Brandon Crawford has been the most steady batter for the Giants, leading the team with 15 home runs and 44 RBI. Catcher Buster Posey is batting .337 in 47 games, hitting 12 home runs and driving in 26.
The Phillies have been inconsistent, lingering around .500. San Francisco has the best record in baseball and is 22-9 at Oracle Park in 2021.
The pitching matchup of Aaron Nola (5-4) vs. Alex Wood (6-3) on Saturday will be the best of the series. It will also be the Phillies’ best chance at a win, as the Giants are difficult to beat at home, much less win a series against.
The series prices for this one have the Giants at -140, while the Phillies are listed at +110.
Giants Win Opener
Cueto hasn’t been as sharp lately as he was earlier in the season, but he should have enough to keep the Phillies in check. Velasquez has had a rough time of it in June, and that continues against the deep Giants lineup on Friday.
When doing your MLB betting, take San Francisco to win at home.