The Philadelphia Phillies (44-39) and the Tampa Bay Rays (57-30) begin a three-game series starting on Tuesday, July 4. First pitch from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, is set for 4:10 p.m. ET. Philadelphia will send Aaron Nola (7-5, 4.51 ERA) to the mound, while Tampa Bay counters with Zach Eflin (9-3, 3.29 ERA).
The Rays are the -140 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. The Phillies are the +120 underdogs, and the run total is set at eight.
Phillies-Rays picks: Tuesday, July 4
Out: RP Seranthony Dominguez (oblique)
Day to day: 3B Isaac Paredes (ribs)
Out: SP Shane McClanahan (back), 2B Brandon Lowe (back)
Aaron Nola vs. Zach Eflin
Nola will be starting his 18th game of the season, and it’s been a frustratingly inconsistent one for the All-Star. In his second-to-last start, he shut out the red-hot Atlanta Braves in six innings of work, only to follow it up by allowing four earned runs on seven hits against the Chicago Cubs. Nola lasted only five innings in that one, striking out four and walking three, but still wound up with his seventh win of the season.
Eflin gets a chance to start against his former team as he takes the mound for his 16th start. He has been fine on the mound but hasn’t been dominant. Eflin has largely benefitted from consistent run support from the Rays’ lineup. His last time out, he allowed two earned runs on two hits over seven innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Eflin struck out seven but didn’t factor into the decision.
Philadelphia has scored four runs or fewer in three of their last four games. Despite the injuries popping up, Tampa Bay has tallied at least six runs in three of their last four. I think both starters are in for a rough day with the way these teams have been playing, making me lean toward the over.
Pick: Over 8
Eflin gets to face the Phillies for the first time since leaving in free agency, ending his seven-year stint with the team. Philadelphia lost two of its last three but is 5-2 over its last seven. Tampa Bay has lost consecutive games but is 3-2 over its last five. Playing at home and with a big game from Eflin, I think the Rays will take the opener.