By: Willie Bee
A good friend who lives on Manhattan's Lower East Side was at Citi Field on Saturday, and she was most displeased with the outcome of Game 2 between her New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. Like most Mets fans, she's simply tired of seeing the Phils consistently win when they come to town.
Philadelphia is a game away from a sweep to begin a short road trip, and the MLB odds say the Phillies will get it when they close out the weekend set in Flushing. The matinee matchup pits a pair of lefthanders on the hill with Cole Hamels up next in Philly's rotation while Jonathon Niese takes his turn for New York.
Short chalk of around -115 is what Philadelphia backers will pay while the take-back on the Mets is anywhere from +109 to -105 according to the latest postings on SBR's live odds. All baseball betting outlets are in agreement on a 7 run total that is carrying a little extra juice on the OVER.
New York's pitching dug an early hole Saturday as the Phillies built an 8-3 lead against Shaun Marcum and Robert Carson. Michael Young and Dominic Brown were the offensive catalysts for Philadelphia in handing the Mets their third straight defeat. The Phillies have come out on top in their last five games on this diamond, and are 8-3 the last 11 at Citi Field.
Laying $1.15 or so on Hamels makes you think he's facing a tougher mound opponent, but he has come out of the chute playing the role of Mr. Money Drainer for baseball bettors this season. Philadelphia is winless in his five assignments, even with Hamels' last three outings being quality efforts, and it has cost gamblers 6.3 units in the process, second most to David Price's $7.60 worth of red ink.
Niese is probably lucky to be making this start after taking a Mark Ellis line drive off his ankle on Tuesday vs. the Dodgers. He had to leave the game and New York ultimately lost the affair when the Mets bullpen allowed six of the seven runs that LA scored.
It should be another nice day at Citi Field with a game-time reading in the mid-60s to go with an 8-12 mph southerly breeze (out to left-center). Bill Welke will call the balls and strikes, bringing a 3-1 O/U mark into the tilt.
A play on the home 'dogs will be my free pick in this contest; make sure to check out my play in the Cubs and Marlins series finale while you're in the neighborhood.
My pick: Mets +109 at BET 365
By: Willie Bee
Six for six. That's my record in games involving the Philadelphia Phillies this season. The bad news is… it is six losing picks in as many games.It doesn't matter if I bet on the Phils or against them, nor does it matter which side of the total I'm on, cash is lost.
As long as I can keep that up, that's good news for you, and No. 7 could come as soon as this afternoon when the Phillies continue their weekend series at the New York Mets. Shaun Marcum will make his season debut and will deliver the first pitch for the Mets a little past 1 PM (ET), one of three games on the weekly Saturday FOX broadcast. Rookie Jonathan Pettibone will make just his second career start for the Phils.
New York is -140 chalk on the morning lines at 5Dimes, and baseball bettors have options across the MLB odds board with 7.5 and 8 run totals available.
Kyle Kendrick tossed a 3-hit shutout Friday night and Ryan Howard delivered all of the offense Philadelphia needed with a 3-run homer in the sixth. It was Kendrick's second victory over the Mets this year, but perhaps the most notable stat from the game is it marked the first time New York played back-to-back UNDERS.
Pettibone was called up to take the place of injured starter John Lannan, and popped his MLB cherry this past Monday at home vs. the Pirates. The righty worked into the sixth and allowed just two runs, both on solo homers, while striking out six. A 3rd-round pick out of high school in 2008, he had gotten off to a shaky start at Triple-A this season but has shown promise climbing through the Phillies farm system the past few years.
Marcum, who signed a 1-year deal with New York in January, has spent most of the past six weeks nursing soreness in his neck and shoulder. He made three spring starts for the Mets before being sidelined, and has been pitching in extended spring games this month. His only start at Citi Field came with the Brewers in Aug. 2011, and it was a good one with seven innings of 6-hit, 1-run baseball.
It should be a nice day in Flushing under mostly clear skies and game-time temps in the mid-to-upper 60s. Adrian Johnson is your plate ump, bringing a 39-20-2 O/U/P mark into the game since the start of the 2011 schedule.
It's difficult to imagine Marcum going more than five innings, which means the Mets will have to rely on their bullpen and its MLB-worst 5.02 ERA at some point. My baseball pick is the Phils, which means you should probably play the Mets.
My pick: Phillies +130 at Bet 365
By: Willie Bee
We've reached that point in a season when we begin to have series rematches, and that normally gives us a chance to make more educated sports betting predictions since we have something to go on from when the clubs met earlier.
But that isn't always the case when it comes to the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets. The NL East foes are set to begin their second of six series clashes Friday night, and as we've seen in the past, early success in head-to-head battles for one team or the other doesn't always translate throughout the course of an entire season.
It has been a pretty even rivalry in recent years, and that is reflected in the moneyline for the series opener. New York opened as slight favorites of -115, and that has been pared a few pennies on the morning MLB odds board.
A 7.5 run total favors the OVER, not surprising considering some of the trends and stats we'll get to later. The initial duel on the mound will pit Kyle Kendrick for the Phils against Dillon Gee.
Picked by most to avoid the division cellar only due to the pitiful nature of the Miami Marlins, it's the Mets who enter the weekend in second place of the National League East. Their level 10-10 record puts them 4.5 games behind the front-running Atlanta Braves, and 2.5 ahead of the Phillies who hit the road for a short 5-game trip at 9-14.
Philadelphia hosted the Mets during the second week of the schedule and managed to take two of three at Citizens Bank Park. But the Phils embark on this roadie having just finished a 3-5 homestand that followed getting swept in Cincinnati the last time there were away from home.
The Mets, meanwhile, are finishing up a 9-game stay in Flushing and have dropped six of their last nine overall.
Kendrick, Gee Facing Lineups For Second Time
Tonight's starters missed squaring off in the first meeting between the clubs by a day, and it will be interesting to see how both pitchers and the lineups adjust in the second go-around.
Kendrick served up a pair of homers to the Mets in Philly a little more than two weeks ago, but those were the only runs New York scored off the Houston native during his six innings of work to grab the dubya. The righthander has strung together three quality starts in a row, and won his last assignment at Citi Field where he owns a 2.74 ERA over his career.
Gee was pounded in an 8-3 setback at CBP in that series, which is nothing new when it comes to his results vs. the Phils. Six career starts and a relief outing against Philadelphia have yielded a 7.75 ERA (33.2 IP).
Several Over Trends For Weekend Series
You might be able to win a bar bet asking which team leads the National League in scoring right now. That honor goes to the Mets, presently plating 5.50 runs per game thanks in part to a .750 team OPS (3rd in NL). Coupled with the fact they are giving up 4.70 RPG, the second most in the league, 15 of New York's first 20 games have skipped above the scoreboard hurdle.
All three games in Philadelphia earlier this month also went OVER, and seven of the nine games at Citi Field last season went above the total.
Weather is not expected to get in the way this weekend, though baseball bettors will want to check first before going to the window. Skies should be mostly clear Friday evening when the thermometer is in the upper-50s for first pitch.
I'm going to disregard Gee's past history against the Phils and make my play on the Mets. Don't forget to follow SBR's coverage of the Cubs-Marlins series in Miami this weekend.
My pick: Mets -113 at 5Dimes