Phillies vs Mets Pick MLB – August 26th

We notched our sixth winning pick in seven games thanks to a late-inning offensive flurry by the Boston Red Sox.  Despite a far better than expected pitching performance from Jake Peavy against the Dodgers, the Red Sox offense handled their business and eclipsed the OVER all by themselves.  I expected two or three runs from the Dodgers in getting the win, but hey, a win is a win, so I’ll take it.

Let’s start a new week and keep the positive momentum going.  There are a few really good series kicking off tonight, including the A’s heading to Detroit and the Cardinals visiting Cincinnati.  It’s worth noting that the Reds are throwing Mike Leake tonight, who has an excellent stat line but has been lit up like a pinball machine by the Cards twice this season, facing off against Tyler Lyons who is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his last three starts.  That’s the reason I’m staying away from the Cards for my official pick, but wanted to at least throw at the Leake nugget as a brief word of caution on a  game that looks like a slam dunk at first glance….

Both series have huge playoff implications and should be fantastic television.  But for tonight’s pick I’m honing in on a pitcher’s matchup worth watching, even if the two teams on the field largely are not…

Today’s Free Pick:

Philadelphia Phillies -130 at New York Mets +120 (Total: 7)

Cliff Lee (10-6, 3.16 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (6-2, 3.49 ERA)

It is easy to forget that just a short year ago, most people in the Mets’ organization looked at Zack Wheeler and his potential equally as they looked at Matt Harvey.  A year later, Harvey has become a baseball sensation, starting the All-Star Game and a likely runner up to Clayton Kershaw in the NL Cy Young balloting.  However, despite Harvey’s meteoric rise, very quietly Zack Wheeler is starting to develop into a number-one quality starter.  He has thrown quality starts in his last three outings and has struck out 21 batters and walked only four in 19.1 innings.

I like him to continue his hot pitching and avenge an early season disappointing (career-worst) start against Philadelphia.  He lasted only four innings in his last meeting against the Phills, but it was one of the first starts of his young career.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia will counter  will their All-Star, Cliff Lee.  It’s been a miserable season all around in Philadelphia, but Lee has held up his end of the bargain.  Lee has an ERA around three and a WHIP of just 1.05, yet the Phillies are just 12-12 in games he has started this season..  The reason?  A lack of run support.  The Phillies are averaging just 3.2 runs in support of Lee this season.  I imagine they’ll struggle a bit tonight as well with Wheeler on the mound.

Neither offense is particularly good.  Lee gets to pitch against the 14th worst lineup in the league (ahead of only Miami), and Wheeler faces a team batting .244 who will likely be without Dominic Brown in the lineup tonight as he recovers from a bruised heel.  Add Brown to the list of omissions tonight that include David Wright and Ryan Howard, and it is easy to see this game settling into a low-scoring pitcher’s duel.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL UNDER 7