If they falter and continue their slide, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team become sellers at the trade deadline. If they are able to turn it around and show some promise, they’re likely to stay put and make another run at the postseason.
For bettors, the All-Star festivities are a nice break in the action, a chance to relax, unwind and re-group before the grind starts back up again. My first half of the baseball betting season was basically a wash; last week’s correct pick improved my record to .500, at 5-5 for the season so far.
Here’s to hoping that the second half of the MLB season is a success, starting tonight.
The Background: The Phillies (37-50) start the second half of the season with a three-game road series against the Colorado Rockies (33-52) tonight. It’s a series that pits two teams in last place in their respective divisions. The Phillies are 14 games behind the Washington Nationals in the NL East, while the Rockies are 13 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
The Phillies will play three games in Colorado this weekend, followed by three against the Dodgers in LA before returning home next Friday. The projected pitching matchups for this weekend’s series are Cliff Lee vs. Christian Friedrich tonight, Vance Worley vs. Jeremy Guthrie tomorrow, and Cole Hamels vs. Drew Pomeranz Sunday.
The Line: Phillies -155; Rockies +135; O/U 10
My Take: It’s no surprise that the Phillies are this big of a favorite, even though they haven’t played well this season. Lee (1-5) is the much stronger pitcher in this matchup, even though Friedrich (4-6) has a “better” record.
Lee got his first win of the season his last time out, throwing 8 strong innings in which he let up 2 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk with 9 strikeouts. He wasn’t too good in the few starts before that, but the break could have done him well. Friedrich, meanwhile, had a rough outing his last time on the mound, lasting only 4.1 innings while allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks with 5 strikeouts.
Strictly based on the pitching matchups, the Phillies have the advantage. But is it enough to warrant laying -155? I’m not sure I’m confident enough in the team at this point to lay that much juice. At the same time, I’m not confident enough in the Rockies to place a bet on them, either.
So let’s look at the Over/Under line of 10. At first glance, it seems very high, but let’s dig a bit deeper. In their 7 games this month, the Phillies have averaged 3.29 runs per game for and 5.57 runs per game against (8.86 total). The Rockies have averaged 2.38 for and 3.88 against in their 8 July games (6.26 total).
None of those numbers point toward a high-scoring game tonight. The one big “but” to that analysis is that the games will be played in the Rockies’ offensive-filled Coors Field, where balls fly out of the park. In the last 7 games played there – at the end of June – an average of 12.43 runs per game were scored.
The oddsmakers have this total line pinned pretty well at 10, but for the sake of this column, I’ll go out on a limb and make a pick. I’m taking the over and hoping the Phillies win 11-0.