- The 19-15 Philadelphia Phillies lead the NL East
- They are 6-2 in their last eight within the division
- Online sportsbooks have boosted Philly’s odds of winning the NL pennant
If history does indeed repeat itself, it could prove to be very good news for the Philadelphia Phillies. Through 33 games of the National League season, the Phillies had posted a 19-14 record.
This was exactly where the Phillies stood 33 games into the 2008 season. That fall, the Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays to win their second and most-recent World Series title.
The leading sportsbooks are starting to see Philadelphia as a legitimate threat to the dominant Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League. A cross-section of the top betting sites shows that Philly’s NL pennant odds have improved from from +550 to +500.
2019 National League Pennant Odds
|Team||2019 NL Pennant Odds|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+270|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+550|
|San Diego Padres||+1400|
|New York Mets||+1700|
|San Francisco Giants||+7000|
*Odds taken on 05/07/19.
The Dodgers have represented the NL in the past two World Series.
Through 33 games…
2019 Phillies: 19-14
2008 Phillies: 19-14 pic.twitter.com/wkYcMzE8wO
— 1993 Phillies (@2008Philz) May 5, 2019
Harper’s Bizarre Beginning
When the Phillies signed outfielder and former NL MVP Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330-million deal, most sportsbooks installed the Phillies as NL East favorites. The early dividends indicated the move was a good one.
While his season totals are still reasonably good — .816 OPS and a .364 on-base percentage — he’s been trending down. In May, he’s batting just .150 with 1 RBI, no home runs, and .477 OPS.
Jake Arrieta on Bryce Harper getting ejected from the dugout:
"We need him in right field. I don't care how bad [the umpire] is. I need him in right field. I need him at the plate. And he wasn't there."
— David Adler (@_dadler) April 23, 2019
Harper has also struggled in the field and was called out by teammate Jake Arrieta after he was ejected from a game for arguing with an umpire.
Losing The Arms Race
If you believe that pitching and defense are ultimately what wins titles, then Philadelphia looks to be in some trouble. The Phillies pitching staff ranks last in the NL in hits surrendered per nine innings (9.3) and next-to-last in WHIP (1.384).
— Dave Uram (@MrUram) May 2, 2019
Aaron Nola, expected to be an NL Cy Young Award contender, is 2-0 but sports a 5.06 earned-run average and 1.607 WHIP.
Philadelphia’s .983 fielding percentage is a tick below the NL average of .984. Philly’s .673 defensive efficiency rating is 13th in the league.
Phillies Don’t Measure Up
Past the one-month mark on the MLB calendar, the wheat is beginning to separate from the chaff in the NL pennant race. Pretenders like the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets are displaying their true colors.
Where do the Phillies rank in all of this? Good, but not good enough.
Far from a contender, Philadelphia looks more like the best of a mediocre lot. The NL East isn’t stocked with super teams. In the NL, only the abysmal Miami Marlins have fewer road wins (four) than Philly (five). The Phillies are below .500 (4-6) against non-NL East opposition. Five teams have won more games than them.
The #STLCards blank the Phillies 6-0 behind a DOMINANT pitching performance from Miles Mikolas and a trifecta of homers from Molina, Carpenter, and DeJong!!! #TimetoFly pic.twitter.com/YuWt4C4KdR
— Cardinal Kingdom (@STLCards18) May 7, 2019
There are a number of teams you should consider before backing the Phillies. We’d put our money on the much deeper St. Louis Cardinals.
Philadelphia makes the playoffs, but an NL pennant is not in the immediate future.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.