Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Pick MLB – June 27th

Things looked pretty dicey last night with Clayton Kershaw allowing a staggering four runs in the second inning en route to just his second loss of the season, but he settled down nicely afterwards and he and the Pirates managed to keep the score right on the number for the remainder of the game and steal us a push on the seven run total score.  It would be fair to consider this one of the more surprising results this baseball regular season, at least from a wagering perspective, as the Dodgers were well over two to one favorites behind their previously-unhittable ace.  Then factor in the Pirates recent play and the fact they were throwing out a pitcher for his FIRST MLB start… pretty remarkable stuff.

Meanwhile the Cubs also continued their struggles, losing again to the Marlins for their sixth loss in seven games, and going into today, they do not lead the majors in wins for the first time all season long.  Both the Giants and Rangers sit at 49 wins while the Cubs seem to be eternally mired at 48.  It’s a fickle world in sports; two weeks ago the Cubs were talking “best team ever” and now, its fair to say they aren’t the best team in 2016…

It’s a new week full of new series (and the Cubs get to throw Arrieta tonight in Cincinnati who has the worst run differential in all of baseball, so, yeah…).  Some of the highlights include the Mets and Nats in a pivotal NL East matchup, and the Cardinals and Royals rematching a memorable World Series of two years ago.

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Today’s Free Pick:                   

Philadelphia Phillies +130 at Arizona Diamondbacks -138 (Total: 9)

Vince Velasquez (5-2, 3.65 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (4-6, 4.59 ERA)

Much of the Phillies season mirrors the statline of tonight’s starting pitcher.  Both Velasquez and the Phillies got off to dazzling and somewhat surprising starts.  Both fizzled back to reality in late May and early June, and then the last three weeks – complete disaster.  For the Phillies, it is losing in droves.  For Velasquez, it resulted in a short stint on the DL, from which he returns tonight.

I think it is fair to assume some of his struggles pre-DL were related to his arm injury.  If he is really ready to return – and in a season in which the Phillies have no chance of competing for the Playoffs, there is NO reason why they’d rush their prize 24 year old hurler.  I think he will make a nice return to the rotation tonight and show some glimpses of his early season promise.

The Diamondbacks have been inexplicably BAD at home this season at 13-25 on the year.  They are fresh off a franchise record for hit in a series – 56 – BUT (important BUT) that series was in Coors Field, where many a team has done some damage only to return to reality in a sad thud a few games later.  That seems perfectly plausible again tonight.

I’ll take the plus money flyer tonight with Velasquez making a nice return from the DL and capitalizing on some of Arizona’s home woes in 2016.  Robbie Ray has struggled all season long, so there is reason to think the scuffling Phillies offense can give Vince just enough support to carve out a mild upset victory.

Free Pick:  Philadelphia Phillies to WIN +130

Chris Scheeren / Author