Neither team is in the thick of the postseason hunt, removing some of the sheen on this week's series in Philadelphia between the Phillies and Milwaukee Brewers. That doesn't mean there aren't some intriguing pitching matchups, however, and the mound clash for Game 2 is a good example.
Philadelphia and Milwaukee continue their 3-game set with a 7:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch on Tuesday. Southpaw Cliff Lee will deliver that toss for the Phillies and the Brewers counter with Zack Greinke. Early numbers from the Don Best Pro Odds listed Philly as $1.40 chalk and 7½ for the total.
The first meeting of the season between the two clubs was set for Monday and still pending at press. The Phillies were strongly favored at -200 on the MLB money line with Roy Halladay on the hill. Randy Wolf was slated for the Brewers and the 7½-run total was priced 20 cents 'over.'
Milwaukee started the current road trip in very poor fashion by getting swept by the Reds in Cincinnati. That killed any momentum the Brew Crew started to build after taking four of six at home from the Pirates and Cards just following the all-star break. The Brewers reached Philadelphia six games under .500 (44-50, -14.5 units) and 10.5-games behind Cincy in fourth place of the NL Central.
The Phillies would love to be just six games below par and in fourth place of their division. Easily the most disappointing team of 2012 – and by far the biggest drain on bettors at -25.4 units – Philadelphia is all by itself in the NL East basement, 14 games south of the front-running Washington Nationals.
Greinke will be making his first start in 10 days after taking the ball to begin three consecutive Brewers contests before the layoff. An early ejection led to the right-hander starting Milwaukee's final two tilts prior to the all-star break, and he came out of the break to get things rolling for the team in the second half. Brewers skipper Ron Roenicke then decided to skip Greinke's last turn through the rotation, a decision that might have also had to do with the club trying to re-sign and/or trade the impending free agent.
Tuesday will be Greinke's first start against the Phillies since his '04 rookie season when he went six innings at Citizens Bank Park and allowed three runs in a 4-2 loss while with the Royals.
Lee didn't pick up his first win of the season until July 4 in New York against the Mets. The Phils have dropped seven of his last eight assignments, and 12 of 16 overall in 2012. Three career outings vs. the Brewers have resulted in a 4.74 ERA, two no-decisions (both Philadelphia wins) and a loss.
Philadelphia has won 10 of the past 14 meetings with Milwaukee, though the Brewers did take two of the three games played in the City of Brotherly Love a year ago. Both of those Milwaukee wins slid 'over' the total, and neither Greinke nor Lee factored into the decision in any of the seven clashes in 2011.
No new injuries are being reported by either squad, and Tuesday night's forecast for Philly calls for clear skies, temps in the low-80s for the start of the game and a 12 mph NNW breeze (in from left-center).