Arizona Diamondbacks -117 @ Kansas City Royals -103 Total: 8.5
D. Hudson (8-5, 3.56 ERA) vs.F. Paulino (0-4, 4.10 ERA)
The Diamondbacks have been a pleasant surprise this season at seven games over .500 and appear to be legitimate contenders to win the NL West. Tonight they send one of the hottest pitchers in baseball to the mound looking to finish off a sweep of the hard-luck Royals.
Hudson hasn’t lost since May 12th, going 5-0 with a 2.70 ERA since. He’s been even better in his last three starts, allowing just three runs and averaging nearly a strikeout per inning (19 Ks in 22 innings).
Arizona has won three straight games in Kansas City and is 8-3 lifetime at Kauffman Stadium. If they can keep it up tonight, they will move into sole possession of first place in their division.
For the Royals, it is a sad and familiar tune; decent start to excite the moribund fan base, only to come crashing back to the reality of their miniscule payroll, especially in a division where the Tigers, White Sox, and now even the Twins are willing to spend the money that Kansas City simply cannot. Since their hot start, they are 21-37; good for the worst mark in the league since May began.
Quite simply, Kansas City doesn’t hit well, and with Zach Greinke departing in the offseason for Milwaukee, they don’t even have a front line starter to drag fans to the ballpark every five days.
Home field advantage just doesn’t mean that much in major league baseball, so if you can get a far superior team with a sizeable starting pitching edge for nearly even money – take it. That’s what I’m doing tonight, taking the D-Backs at -110
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Philadelphia Phillies +105 @ St. Louis Cardinals -115 TOTAL: 8
Roy Oswalt (4-5, 3.38) vs. Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47 ERA)
If someone would have told me before the season started that one week before July Roy Oswalt and Chris Carpenter would be a combined 5-12 I would have laughed out loud. However, that is exactly the case as two of the biggest pitching names on two of the most glamorous teams both enter tonight’s game with losing records.
For Oswalt, it can be attributed more to some bad breaks than bad pitching. A 3.38 ERA with the offense that is behind him should merit many more wins than he’s earned so far this season. In his last seven starts he has gotten a measly nine runs of support.
For Carpenter though, it is hard to point the finger at anyone other than the former Cy Young Award winner himself. Since May 10th, the righty is 0-5. Doing the math it has been more than a month and a half since Chris Carpenter earned a win! He’s hoping to change that tonight by extending his personal three-game winning streak against the Fightin’ Phils.
I give the edge to Philly tonight, especially with St. Louis still reeling from the devastating injury to Albert Pujols, who is expected to miss as many as six weeks with a fractured wrist. When you are struggling to find offense as a team, a four game series with the Philadelphia Phillies is not an easy way to get right.
I like Oswalt turning in a dominant pitching performance tonight and like them even more at +105.