It was an interesting weekend in baseball’s best division (or at least the division in which the three best records in all of major league baseball reside), the National League Central. The Cardinals waiting more than three hours of a rain delay, only to lose the final game of the series 2-1 against the Texas Rangers. Meanwhile, the Pirates capped off an improbable sweep of the Angels by scoring two runs with two outs in the ninth to force extra innings, and then score four in the tenth, give up THREE in the bottom of the tenth, before Jason Grilli got Mike Trout to fan with runners on second and third to complete the 10-9 thriller. The crazy day pulled the Pirates to just one game behind the Cards and to their best record in well over twenty years.
Will it be the same old sad story for the Buccos? A splendid summer full of promise only to nosedive as the bullpen fatigues and the mediocre bats cool in Autumn? We shall see, but betting against the Pirates to this point has been a fool’s errand, and an expensive one…
It’s a pretty limited slate today in major league baseball with just four games on the docket, but we will try to start the week off right with a nice West Coast winner.
Philadelphia Phillies -116 at San Diego Padres +107 (Total: 6.5)
Cliff Lee (9-2, 2.53 ERA) vs. Eric Stultz (6-5, 3.25 ERA)
The Phillies continue to flounder in mediocrity again this season, but the lone holdover from the glory days who is still delivering takes the mound tonight. Halliday is hurt, Howard is a shell of his former all-star self, same for the always-injured Utley and former MVP (really??) Jimmy Rollins. Tonight is that rare chance for a taste of the good ole days, with a Lee to Papelbon direct handoff and win.
That will be difficult if Eric Stultz has anything to say about it, The lefty has been fantastic of late, posting a 2-0 record with a 1.61 ERA in his last three outings. His WHIP of 0.85 has been even better than the 0.95 that Lee has logged during his last three outings. Add in spacious Petco Park and runs could be at a premium tonight.
The last six games in San Diego between these two teams have gone UNDER the run total. However, tonight’s 6.5 is pretty slim. I lean towards the UNDER, but am going to ride a stronger trend for my official pick, the Phillies getting the win. They are 26-6 in their last 32 games against the Padres, despite the series last season.
Cliff Lee has been excellent. Look for him to control the game tonight in San Diego and notch his tenth win of the young season.
Free Pick: Philadelphia Phillies to WIN -116