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Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on May 18, 2019.
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies on May 18, 2019.|Laurence Kesterson | Associated Press
MLB

MLB Monday: Frank puts the smart money on Dodgers vs Diamondbacks and dives deep into Aaron Nola when picking Phillies vs Padres

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Side of the Day: Phillies (-139) over Padres
Total of the Day: Dodgers at Diamondbacks under 8.5

The Skinny: Just four games on the schedule tonight in Major League Baseball and we like one side and one total to start the week . . . Let’s start with the Phillies who had a tough weekend in Los Angeles getting swept by the Dodgers and are now on a season-long four-game losing streak. However, we’re trusting Aaron Nola to be the stopper on Monday night in San Diego. We backed the Phils in Nola’s last start and had a no-sweat winner as Philadelphia crushed St. Louis last Wednesday night 11-4. Nola appeared to turn the corner in May. Here’s a look at his splits in the first two months of the season, including one start in March.

March/April (Six starts): 31.2 IP, 5.68 ERA, 37 Hits, 32 Ks, 13 BBs, 1.579 WHIP

May (Six starts): 33 IP, 2.73 ERA, 31 Hits, 42 Ks, 15 BBs, 1.394 WHIP

Nola also allowed seven homers in his first six starts but allowed just three dingers in May. It’s going to take more than one good month to officially declare Aaron Nola back to the Cy Young contender he was last season, but he made nice strides after starting slow. We like Nola to go at least six innings tonight and the Phillies should have most of their frequently-used arms available in the bullpen on Monday after yesterday’s bullpen work was mostly mop-up relievers in a seven-run eighth inning for the Dodgers. It wasn’t a good weekend offensively for the Phillies in LA either, but they should score enough to open the series in San Diego with a win.

Our play in the desert is not as strong as the Phillies moneyline pick, but the Dodgers and Diamondbacks game should land under 8.5. We mentioned the Dodgers’ big eighth inning against the Phillies, but besides that one inning, LA didn’t quite blast Phillies pitching the way you might expect. Los Angeles got the sweep largely due to Philadelphia’s cold offensive showings as the Phillies totaled just six runs in the three games in Chavez Ravine. Prior to that big eighth inning, the Dodgers had scored just 11 runs in the three games. Look for Robbie Ray and Walker Buehler to both get deep enough into the game tonight to where even if there is a bullpen blowup, it won’t be enough to put the game over the total.