MLB Picks: Cardinals vs. Phillies Odds & Preview

Willie Bee

Saturday, April 20, 2013 5:24 PM GMT

A couple of hurlers each looking to move to 3-0 on the young season square off tonight when the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals resume their series at Citizens Bank Park.

First pitch in the City of Brotherly Love will be thrown by Cliff Lee a little past 7 PM (ET), and the Phillies are favorites in the -135 to -150 range according to the live baseball odds at SBR.  Taking his turn in St. Louis' rotation is Lance Lynn, with the 7.5 run total costing UNDER bettors -115.

Saturday's third of four games in Philly finds the two clubs each standing 1-1 in the series.  St. Louis used a late Carlos Beltran blast in Thursday's opener to slip past the Phillies, 4-3, and hand Philadelphia its fourth straight loss in the process.  The Phils came right back Friday night in Game 2 behind Roy Halladay for a 7-2 triumph that was shortened to 6½ innings by rain.

Lee & Lynn: Same Records, But Similarities End There

With three starts under their belts, Lynn and Lee both have 2-0 records on the personal ledgers, each picking up no-decisions in the games that went into the loss column for their respective squads.  That's where any statistical similarities end.

Lynn drags a bloated 5.40 ERA and equally ugly 1.60 WHIP into his fourth assignment of the year.  St. Louis sticks have supported him with 24 runs in his three starts, a good thing since he opposing lineups have hit at a .283 clip vs. Lynn and slugged 200 points higher.

The big righty allowed just four hits to the Phillies last season when he faced this crew for the one and only time in his career.  But two of the knocks were a triple by Chase Utley and a Ryan Howard homer to account for three of the four runs charged to Lynn's linescore by the time he hurled his fifth and last inning.

Lee has been supported by half as many runs as Lynn, entering Saturday's tilt with a 1.52 ERA and 0.68 WHIP.  That last figure is helped immensely by just one walk allowed in nearly 24 innings.  The southpaw is coming off a duel with Bronson Arroyo in Cincinnati earlier this week when he left the game knotted two runs apiece.  The Phillies have split his four starts vs. St. Louis since he rejoined the team before the 2011 campaign, Lee pitching to a 3.06 ERA in 29.1 innings.

Cards Play Phils Tough At Citizens Bank Park

Philadelphia has won seven of the last 11 season series, with three more ending in a tie, to enjoy a 45-33 overall edge in the rivalry since the start of the '02 schedule.  But the Phils have built up much of that advantage by beating the Cardinals on their own diamond.

Friday's victory gives the Phillies a 16-15 record vs. St. Louis at Citizens Bank Park, and six of the last eight on this field to go the full nine innings stayed UNDER the total.

Rain should not get in the way of Game 3, but wind could be a factor.  Clear skies will be on hand at game time with the thermometer in the mid-50s.  Forecasters are calling for a 10-15 mph blow out of the west and northwest (in from left, left-center).

Crew chief Jerry Layne is up next in the umpire rotation.  The veteran of 24 seasons has called four contests already in 2013, three of them going OVER.  Both of his appearances behind the plate in Philly last year went UNDER, however.

I can't bring myself to bet against Cliff Lee right now, so a small play on the Phils will be my pick.  The clubs conclude this series on Sunday Night Baseball, and we'll have a preview plus a MLB pick for SBR.

[gameodds]3/225341/1537-43-19-999996/us[/gameodds]

My pick: Phillies -135 at 5Dimes