Philadelphia Phillies +108 at New York Mets -115
Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.08 ERA) vs. R.A. Dickey (12-1, 2.15 ERA)
A pair of All-Stars take the hill tonight in their final appearances before next Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic. For R.A. Dickey it is one final audition for a chance to write the final scene in what has been an unfolding Disney movie season, and earn a chance to start for the National League. He is 12-1 with a legitimate chance to win the elusive pitching triple crown (also includes ERA and strikeouts). For Cole Hamels it is another start to try and keep the Phillies close enough to dispel rumors they might actually be sellers at this year’s trading deadline.
Dickey had a rough start three weeks ago against the Yankees, and it seemed as though it might be a return to the stratosphere for the 37-year old knuckleballer. However, over his last three starts it has been a return to dominance. Dickey has a 2-0 record in those starts with a 1.96 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP.
These teams have played ten times already this season, with the Mets winning six of ten. They have scored five runs or more seven times and have scored seven or more runs five times. Hamels will have his work cut out for him tonight handling a New York lineup who has terrorized them in 2012.
Hamels, like Dickey, has also been excellent this season. His season stats are excellent, and he has been even better in his last three starts. His team hasn’t given him much offensive support (hence the 1-2 record) but his 2.05 ERA over 22 innings is definitely All-Star caliber.
The key for tonight’s game will be getting seven or eight innings out of Dickey. The Mets bullpen has been a trainwreck this season, with a combined 5.11 ERA. Fortunately, eating innings is a specialty of R.A. Dickey who can seemingly flip knuckleballs for as many innings as requested every time out to the mound.
The Phillies are 1-6 in their last seven games overall and 1-5 in their last six road games against teams with a winning record. However, Cole Hamels has won seven games in a row on the road against a team with a winning record and 7-1 in his last eight road starts. The Mets are 5-0 in Dickey’s last five home starts and 8-0 in his last eight starts with the total set between 7 and 8. It means Dickey has stepped up to top-notch competition and STILL earned the victory. I am going to roll the dice with the grizzled righty getting the best of the Phillies in a great ballgame tonight.
Free Pick: New York Mets to WIN -115