MLB Odds & Picks for Brewers vs. Phillies: Value in Total When Aaron Nola Matches Up Against Eric Lauer (Tuesday, May 4)

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola and J.T. Realmuto

Brewers vs. Phillies Odds

Brewers Odds +130
Phillies Odds -152
Over/Under 7.5 (-120/-103)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Phillies send their ace Aaron Nola to the mound Tuesday night in hopes he can shut down the first-place Brewers.

Milwaukee is currently sitting atop the NL Central standings, mainly due to its pitching staff and bullpen, which has been among the best in baseball. The Brewers send Eric Lauer to the mound in what is a rare pitching mismatch where Milwaukee is on the weaker side.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a season so far for Philadelphia, which currently sits one game below .500. However, the Phillies are only half a game out in the NL East standings, so a win with their ace on the mound is crucial for their chances in winning the division.

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Offensive Matchup

Milwaukee Brewers

Despite its lead in the NL Central, Milwaukee has been struggling to start the season offensively. The Brewers enter Tuesday near the bottom of MLB with a .298 wOBA and 86 wRC+. However, a lot of that was with Christian Yelich on the injured list for two weeks, so I expect Milwaukee to improve offensively.

The Brewers will have a tough matchup against Nola, because not only have they struggled against right-handed pitching, but also against curveballs, which is Nola’s go-to off-speed pitch. However, Nola is throwing his fastball much more often (40.9% per Baseball Savant) this season than he did in 2020. Why is that significant? Because the Brewers are the third-best team in MLB against fastballs, so Milwaukee may actually get to Nola tonight.

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies’ lineup has been really average against left-handed pitching to begin 2021. They have only a .304 wOBA and 92 wRC+, which is 18th in MLB. That’s a big drop-off from last season, when the Phillies were fifth in wOBA against lefties.

The Phillies have struggled against just about every pitch type this season except for changeups, but Lauer struggled with just about his entire arsenal last year, so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top.

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Starting Pitching Matchup

Eric Lauer vs. Aaron Nola

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats (via FanGraphs)

Brewers Starting Pitcher

Eric Lauer, LHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Lauer hasn’t pitched much over the past two seasons, logging only 16 innings in 2020 and 2021 combined. In his two full seasons with the Padres in 2018 and 2019, he wasn’t that effective, posting an xERA and xFIP above 4.30 in both seasons.

In his 11 innings last year, none of his pitches were effective, including his fastball, which he throws more than half of the time. Opponents have a wOBA of better than .340 against his fastball. The Phillies have struggled versus fastballs, so Lauer may have a chance at shutting down their lineup that is also average against left-handed pitching.

Phillies Starting Pitching

Aaron Nola, RHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Nola was one of the best pitchers in baseball last season, posting a 2.79 xFIP. The reason for that was because he made a stronger commitment to utilizing his off-speed pitches, which has drastically increased his effectiveness.

However, he’s gone back to his fastball more in 2021, throwing it more than 40% of the time compared to 25.3% in 2020. His effectiveness on it hasn’t dropped off as opponents are only hitting .186 with a .240 wOBA this season against his fastball.

Nola is still committing to his off-speed pitches as his curveball and changeup are still holding opponents under a .250 wOBA. Milwaukee is one of the best fastball hitting teams, but one of the worst against curveballs, so don’t be surprised if Nola goes to his curveball often tonight.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

Milwaukee has one of the best bullpens in baseball and will have the advantage in this matchup. However, the Brewers haven’t lived up to expectations through the first month of the season, posting a 4.59 xFIP. Philadelphia was one of the worst bullpens in baseball last season, but so far this season the Phillies are actually in the top half of MLB in xFIP.

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Brewers-Phillies Pick

I think both of these offenses have a pretty good matchup versus the opposing starting pitcher, so I think this game is going be more high scoring than expected.

Since I have 8.50 runs projected for this game, I think there is some value on Over 7.5 at -120 (DraftKings).

Pick: Over 7.5 runs (-120)

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