There are two key divisional series’ in the National League this weekend
There are two key divisional series’ in the National League this weekend. In one, the suddenly-hot Cubs try to gain ground on Milwaukee in the Central Division. In the other, Philadelphia is hosting the Mets with a chance to get closer to the front in the NL. East division. The teams will play four games. Here is a look at that entire series. Keep up with all the latest baseball lines and info by visiting the Live Odds and Team Statistics Pages.
Philadelphia has moved ahead of Atlanta into second place in the National League East standings and has an important four game series with New York to see if they can further close the gap between these two rivals that is down to three games. Friday could well be a telltale day for both teams with a day-night doubleheader to get the series moving. Those betting baseball should be alerted if you do not already know only the first three games will comprise a series wager.
New York has been scuffling for the month of June, producing a 9-15 record losing backers -9.75 units in the year’s first warm month. The confounding part of the Mets slide has been on the offensive end. Exactly 17 times New York has managed to score three runs or less, putting a great deal of pressure on a descent starting pitching staff and an exemplary bullpen. Searching for answers, the location of the problem is in the middle of the lineup. Carlos Delgado is hitting a puny .223, with only 11 home runs. The 44 runs batted in a mildly acceptable only because he has come to bat with runners on base. Even hitting .260, his RBI total would be well over 50 by now. Carlos Beltran is having below average year for him and not having dependable left-field bat like that of Moises Alou has hurt. Jose Reyes and David Wright over the last month have tried to carry the heavy lifting by themselves.
Philadelphia has been churning along with 15-10 record this month, steadily picking up ground. The Phillies playing in an extreme hitter’s park lead the National League in runs scored per game at 5.2. Ryan Howard Wednesday hit his 100th career home run in his 325th game, which according to Elias Sports Bureau is the fastest ever to the century mark in major league baseball history. Chase Utley is also ripping the cover off the horsehide with .333 batting average and 64 runs batted in. Philadelphia is 4-3 this season against New York, with the Mets 11-8 at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies three game sweep of New York at the beginning of this month played a large role in Mets going backwards and the Phils gaining confidence.
The afternoon opener which is televised on ESPN is a make-up game from earlier rainout and features Orlando Hernandez taking J.D. Durbin. The 25-year-old Durbin will make his Phillies starting debut in the first game of Friday's doubleheader after being called up Triple-A Ottawa, where is was 2-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 10 starts this season. Philadelphia picked him off waivers in April after Minnesota let him go. Durbin has loads of talent, but shoulder miseries have sent him to the DL each season since 2003. Hernandez comes in fully rested after last night’s rainout, having last pitched on Saturday when he threw a season-high 119 pitches in seven scoreless innings against Oakland. After a good May, he like the rest of his teammates has struggled in June with just one win. Hernandez for the season is 3-3 with a 2.77 ERA, as his funky delivery hides the ball extremely well and his off-speed pitches have been hitting spots. He has been the poster boy for the Mets lack of offense, as they have scored just eight runs in his previous four starts. With the Phillies just 11-19 (-14.7 Units) against the ML in home games when playing on Friday, it’s no wonder New York is -137 road favorite in the opener. Game 1 StatFox Edge: Mets
The night portion of this twin-bill should be an outstanding pitching match-up with possible All-Stars John Maine taking on Cole Hamels. Maine had been also given up on by Baltimore and has found a home with New York. After not having the full confidence of manager Willie Randolph last year, he’s earned it this season with 8-4 record and sharp 2.87 ERA. In the past he had problems finding the strike zone, however a distinguished 1.202 WHIP now proves otherwise. Maine’s mental toughness now shows up in situations just like this on the road where he is 13-3 against the money line in road games over the last two seasons. (Mets Record) New York is 14-11 against left-hand pitchers and will face one of the best in the senior circuit in Hamels. The 23-year old will be trying for his 10th win, with his mixture of fastballs and quality curve. Hamels enjoys putting the pressure on the batter and his dominant control of the strike zone make him a tough customer even in hitters’ haven ballpark. The lefty has 46 strikeouts and only eight walks in just over 50 innings pitching at home with crisp 5-1 record and 3.04 ERA. Philadelphia is a -130 favorite in the nitecap, as they are 16-5 when Hamels is the starter and favored. Game 2 StatFox Edge: Phillies
After a couple of dismal seasons, Jorge Sosa has regained the touch he had in 2003 when he was 13-3 in Atlanta. New York has been very happy with the results as they have won seven of 10 of his starts and bettors have picked +4.2 units backing him. He will face another Triple-A call up for Philadelphia in J.A. Happ. The 24-year-old is 1-2 with a 4.02 ERA after 13 starts with Ottawa this season and in not overpowering, for a guy 6’5. He tops out around 90 MPH on the radar gun and his slider doesn’t have the sharp bite, looking more like a slurve. What the lefty does have is a good command of the strike zone and a deceptive delivery making his fastball, especially after off-speed pitches, appear faster than it actually is. He has polished approach and is known for being intelligent, this will be tested in an afternoon Fox televised contest. New York is 59-31 against the ML vs. team with a bad bullpen that blows 38 percent or more of their save opportunities. Philadelphia fumbles against teams with a running game and is 23-39 in home games vs. excellent speed teams, averaging one or more stolen bases a game. Game 3 StatFox Edge: Mets
The series finale is another afternoon contest with Odalis Perez taking the ball for New York and Kyle Kendrick for Philadelphia. Perez is likely glad to see June pass as he and the Mets were 1-4 after 5-1 May. He will try to regain his earlier good fortune. On the year Perez and the Mets are 3-3 on the road and 3-2 in day games when he pitches. Kendrick has an ERA of 5.00 in his three starts, buts has been like a lucky rabbit’s foot for the Phils as they have scored 28 runs in his three starts. He is former high school quarterback who has made improvements with his off-speed pitches to compliment a darting fastball. Coming into this series the Mets were 11-11 (-4.00) in day baseball and Philadelphia was 12-12 (-2.00 units). If the series goes as planned, the last game should be a high scoring affair. Game 4 StatFox Edge: OVER
New York has a decided pitching edge in all but one game due to injuries to Philly hurlers. Only the Philadelphia batters figure to give them a chance in this series; however Mets will be motivated after losing three in a row to this same team earlier in June. One of the Metropolitans great strengths is they are 72-45 against the ML vs. teams who strand 7.5 or more runners on base per game over the last three seasons, expect them to win series wager.
Sportsbook.com series odds: New York - 120, Philadelphia – 110. StatFox Edge series pick: Mets (first three games)
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