The Philadelphia starting staff has been middling 4.05 ERA after Jonathan Pettibone was hammered last night, which places them in the lower third of the National League pack and though the strikeout to walk numbers are low (14th in the NL), they have basically managed to work around it. The bullpen, now that is another story.
Phillies Pen a Mess
When reviewing the daily betting odds, all MLB baseball handicappers look over the bullpen numbers. While starting pitching is an important figure in understanding the MLB odds, you can lose a lot “sure thing” bets with a bad bullpen.
Presently, the Phils have pen ERA of 5.96 and have blown half their eight save opportunities and they are tied with Miami and the Mets in allowing the most home runs at seven. First-year manager Ryan Sandberg needs to find guys to get batters out, especially when his club has the lead and at this time only one reliever has an ERA below four.
Philadelphia offense needs more than Utley
The Phils offense is slightly below average thus far at 4.0 runs a game, but is being carried by Chase Utley. Healthy for the first time a few seasons, the second baseman’s batting average has been well above .400 all season and been driving the ball. While he does not have a stolen base, his past leg issues are not a problem as his speed in going first to third is faster and after being hesitant about taking an extra base, he’s jumped at every chance this season.
Playing at Colorado, you have to be able to score, which is why more contributions from Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Ruiz and Marlon Byrd.
Same old Same old for Colorado
If you are making sports picks, here’s a shocker, the Rockies lead the National League in runs scored. (Not really) Here is another surprise, until last night only Arizona was surrendering more runs in the senior circuit. (Colorado moved to 12th after winning 12-1 Friday)
It is the same old song and dance with Colorado and don’t blame the ballpark, blame the organization. The focus of the Rockies front office has always been about finding more offense.
When it came to pitching prospects, they have always seemingly gone away from hard-throwing hurlers who could rack up strikeouts. Instead, their history is more of pitchers with ordinary velocity, fair strikeout to walk ratios and so-so control.
If you punch-out seven to 10 batters a game, that is that many fewer chances of a ball in play. If you need to balance the pitching staff, make sure a couple pitchers are notorious for pinpoint control, which means fewer runners on base when hits occur.
Until there is a fundamental change in philosophy, hoping a Brett Anderson can add value is a pipe dream.
Pitching Matchup for Saturday
Kyle Kendrick will take the ball for Philadelphia and he’s 0-1 with a 3.50 ERA and a WHIP of 1.44. The Phillies have lost two of his three starts and the right-hander is strictly a back of the rotation guy, seldom capable of pitching well over seven or eight starts. He’s most effective when he uses his change on pitcher’s counts.
Jordan Lyles will toe the rubber for Colorado and he’s 2-0 with a 4.32 ERA and a WHIP of 1.26. The right-hander is your typical Rockies pitcher I just mentioned, but his control is somewhat better. The best news about Lyles is he’s only 23 and he could be taught to work up and down in the zone and only use his crummy slider as pitch that is out of the zone to entice hitters to swing, he might turn into a decent pitcher.
I’ve already chronicled the Phillies bullpen woes, but on the road, they have allowed 13 walks in just 19 2/3 innings, not good.
Colorado pensters have a 3.49 ERA and good WHIP of 1.20. Their K-to-W ratio is a sharp 2.5-1 and at home they have only walked one opposing batter in over 20 innings. LaTroy Hawkins has been an effective closer, but this will probably not last, which is why Rex Brothers has to come on.
Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Sportsbooks sent this contest out as Colorado as -150 money line favorite with a total of 10. As of this morning, the Rockies had fallen to under -140 and the total was creeping up to Ov10 (-120).
We have lots conflicting information, for example, Colorado is 29-11 as a home favorite of -125 to -175, yet is 10-21 after a victory by four or more runs.
Lyles of the Rocks is 12-3 OVER if his team is off a win the past three seasons, but the home team is 15-3 UNDER in their own park after allowing three runs or less in consecutive outings.
The Rockies have taken four of seven at the base of the Rocky Mountains.
The Winner Is…..Philadelphia
I will take a flyer on Kendrick who is 24-8 when the total is 10 or higher in his career (Phils record) and I am no fan of Lyles as a starter. The Over is also a very tempting play.
MLB Free Picks – Philadelphia and Over