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Phillies at Brewers – Free Pick August 18th

Philadelphia Phillies -105 at Milwaukee Brewers -105 (Total: 7.5)

Cole Hamels vs. Mike Fiers

Tonight features a matchup of two fantastic pitchers; one who was the young up-and-coming superstar just a few years ago, the other who has vaulted into the rookie-of-the-year conversation and looks to be the next young pitching sensation.  But the question is, who has the edge tonight and where does the better wagering opportunity lie?  Let’s take a look inside the numbers and find tonight’s winning edge.

Milwaukee has had a disappointing season.  They hoped to contend, even with the off-season loss of Prince Fielder, and though they knew it’d be a challenge to go back to the playoffs, I don’t think they expected anything close to the misery of 2012.  Their bullpen has blown a league-high 22 saves, and formerly reliable cornerstones of the offense like Ricky Weeks have had miserable seasons.  Even Ryan Braun, who was putting up numbers that kept him in the MVP discussion has fallen below .300 and seems a little worn out.

The one bright spot has been the young hurler taking the mound tonight, Mike Fiers.  In his 13 starts he has a 2.68 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.10.  Both of those numbers are slightly better than Hamels, who has also been fantastic (2.91 ERA, 1.11 WHIP).  He owns just a 6-5 record, but his pitching has been good enough to win nearly every time out.  His last start; not so good… he got shelled in Colorado (who hasn’t), but in his eight starts prior he allowed just SIX RUNS.  That’s a 0.75 ERA for you math fans.  Pretty darn good.

Philadelphia’s season narrative could read about the same as the Brewers; simply substitute Cole Hamels as one of the lone bright spots in lieu of Fiers.  Hamels signed a massive contract extension, the largest for a pitcher ever, earlier this season, and has held up his end of the bargain ever since.  He is 2-1 in his last three starts, but posted a 0.84 ERA with a 0.72 WHIP, as good as anyone in MLB.  His team just hasn’t always scored enough runs behind him… sounding familiar??

This game has “under” written all over it, despite the relatively low total of seven and a half.  You might be gripping down the stretch if you choose to both wager AND watch this game, white-knuckling once the ball is handed over to Milwaukee’s bullpen, but I still like Hamels and Fiers to make quick work of each other’s lineups and keep this game on pace for a brisk 3-2, 3-1 type game.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 7.5 (-105)