Phillies vs. Rays prediction and odds for Wednesday, July 5

The Phillies are playing their best ball lately and it's all because of their pitching staff. Taijuan Walker has been the best of the bunch and could put togehter another good start today.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99)
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

It took a long time for the Rays to cool off, but they finally don't have the best record in baseball. After three-straight losses they are 57-31, but still in first in the AL East. Today, they will face the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of this three-game series in Tampa Bay. 

Yesterday the Phillies took a 3-1 win to improve to 45-39, third place in the NL East, but firmly in the NL Wild Card picture. Philadelphia will send Taijuan Walker to the mound against Zack Littell who will be the opener for a Tampa Bay bullpen game. Despite Tampa’s recent struggles the Rays are slight home favorites in this one. Here are the odds:

Phillies vs. Rays odds, run line and total

Phillies vs. Rays prediction and pick

Taijuan Walker has been fantastic for the Phillies lately. He has won his last five starts to get to 9-3 on the season with a 3.93 ERA.

The Phillies are 12-5 in his starts even with his early season struggles. Over the five-start win-streak, Walker has a 0.84 ERA with 32 strikeouts to seven walks across 32.0 innings of work. He has allowed just one home run. His FIP is 4.35 for the season and 2.45 over this stretch, so it’s unlikely that this stretch of magnificent work will continue, but even a 2.45 ERA is more than good enough to win a lot of games as a starting pitcher. 

The Phillies offense has been exactly the same of the past 30 days with a .744 OPS as they have for the entire season. They are on the fringe of the top 10 with exactly a .744 OPS. It is the pitching that has seen a huge turnaround. From 14th in the MLB with a 4.09 ERA to first with a 2.99 ERA over the past 30 days. That’s a stretch in which the Phillies went 17-7 and the Rays went 14-12. Tampa is still seventh over that period with a 3.81 ERA, but is 14th in OPS which is a massive fall from where they were the rest of the season. 

The Phillies are playing their best ball of the season right now and the Rays are playing their worst. Even after losing a series to the Nationals to start the month of July I think that Philadelphia is still hot and I’ll take them as a slight underdog in Game 2 of this series. 

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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change