When the Philadelphia Phillies signed JT Realmuto in free agency, they made him the highest paid catcher in baseball. Realmuto now will miss the team’s next two games in Toronto, not because he got injured, but because he has not been vaccinated against Covid. Realmuto will forfeit nearly $300,000 in salary by not making the trip.
Joining Realmuto on the Phillies’ no-fly list will be starting third baseman Alec Bohm and two starting pitchers, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson.
The news is certain to make Pennsylvania sports bettors look differently at the Phillies’ matchups against a strong American League team.
HOW PHILLIES COVER LOSSES
The Phils, for the most part, will call up players from the farm system to take their place. The loss of the two position players will be huge for the Phils, who are already having to deal with the loss of starters Bryce Harper and Jean Segura.
The absence of the two starting pitchers will likely only make the team’s bullpen deeper: Nola is pitching tonight in St. Louis and wasn’t going to pitch in Toronto. With Nola on the Hill, FanDuel Sportsbook PA has the Phillies as a -134 favorite on the moneyline.
BetRivers Sportsbook also has the Phillies at -134 on the moneyline with the over-under for runs at 7.5.
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Gibson switched turns with Zack Wheeler last Friday, so Wheeler would be able to take the mound up north on Wednesday. The plan worked well: Wheeler pitched seven shutout innings Friday, Gibson pitched seven shutout innings Saturday. Maybe the Phils should hire a coyote to sneak Gibson into Canada. As is, Gibson now will pitch in Miami, where anything goes.
Bohm, who has played in 81 games this season, is hitting .271 with 6 HRs and 33 RBI. Realmuto has played 75 games and is hitting .236 with 7 HRs and 35 RBI. Garrett Stubbs takes over behind the plate and Rafael Marchan will be called up to back him up. With Segura and Johan Camargo on the IL, third base is up for grabs.
PHILLIES WINNING UNDER NEW MANAGER
The bizarre roster situation fits with the Phils’ up-and-down season, even though it’s been mostly up since the team fired manager Joe Girardi. Since Girardi was let go on June 3, the team has gone from seven games under .500 to six games over under new boss Rob Thomson and put themselves in contention in the NL East – only 7 games out. The loss of Harper is a killer on paper – he was once again getting MVP buzz with his .318 average, 15 HRs and 48 RBI – but the Phils have been fightin’ since Harper’s hand got in the way of a Blake Snell fastball, going 7-5, and riding the bat of Kyle Schwarber. The team is 24-11 under Thomson.
Schwarber has hit 8 HRs with 15 RBI since Harper left in the fourth inning of the June 26 game against San Diego. At the end of May, when Schwarber was hitting .185 with a meager .410 slugging percentage, Philadelphia fans were treating him the way Yankees fans are treating Joey Gallo. Now he’s a favorite to win the NL home run title.
With their improved play, but Harper’s injury, FanDuel Sportsbook has the Phillies at +2500 to win the NL East, and +4000 to win the World Series. BetMGM Sportsbook PA has the Phillies at +1600 to win the division, +5000 to win the World Series.
The Blue Jays go into the series with the Phillies at +1800 to win the World Series on FanDuel. They are now 16½ games behind the Yankees in the AL East. With a series against the Marlins after the Blue Jays, the Phils have a chance to keep their momentum going into the All-Star break.