So much for a good streak for the Philadelphia Phillies, huh? Last Friday, they were on a two-game winning streak, something I thought would continue into last weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
But, alas, it was not meant to be. The Phillies were swept by Toronto, and I lost my bet on Friday night. Last week’s incorrect prediction pushed my season MLB betting record back to .500, at 4-4 overall.
After taking two-of-three games against the Colorado Rockies this week, the Phillies welcome the Tampa Bay Rays to town for a three-game Interleague series starting tonight. This series, though, won’t feature the DH, since it is played in a National League stadium.
So let’s take a look at the betting angle.
The Background: The Phillies (33-38) lost last night’s series finale to the Rockies, putting them 9 games out of first place in the division behind the Washington Nationals. The Rays (38-31), meanwhile, have lost two games in a row and are 3.5 games out of first in the AL East. The projected pitching matchups for the series are Cliff Lee vs. James Shields, Kyle Kendrick vs. Alex Cobb, and Cole Hamels vs. David Price.
The Line: Phillies -140; Rays +120; O/U 7.5
My Take: Why are the Phillies favored in this game? That’s the first question that comes to my mind. Is it because the Rays will be forced to play without the DH tonight? Maybe, but that shouldn’t be enough to warrant them being the underdogs in this game, even if it’s only a small underdog.
On the surface, Lee is a better pitcher than Shields, but Shields has actually been pitching better than Lee lately. In his last two starts, Lee has thrown 13 innings, allowed 9 earned runs, 19 hits and 3 walks. Shields, meanwhile, has thrown 14 innings and allowed only 1 earned run, 12 hits and 4 walks.
I just can’t see the Phillies as a favorite in this one. Can they win the game? Of course they can. But the line is too enticing for me to not bet against the Phillies, so I’m going with the underdog.