Phillies At Cardinals MLB Playoff Betting Preview
Scoring first is usually a very good thing in baseball, or just about any sport for that matter. But it hasn't worked out for either the Philadelphia Phillies or St. Louis Cardinals in the first two games of their NLDS.
The Phils and Cards head west to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4 knotted a win apiece. Both teams failed to protect 3-0 first-inning leads in the City of Brotherly Love over the weekend, St. Louis watching that advantage evaporate in an 11-6 Game 1 loss while Philadelphia saw the same edge slip away in a 5-4 Game 2 defeat.
Action resumes Tuesday at 5:07 p.m. (ET) at Busch Stadium. TBS will provide the telecast that features a matchup of southpaws, Cole Hamels (18-13, 2.79) for the Phillies and Jaime Garcia (19-13, 3.56) for the Redbirds.
The MLB odds sent Philadelphia out on a -141 line with seven runs for the Game 3 total.
That the Phillies battled back from the early 3-0 hole on Saturday behind ace Roy Halladay was one thing. Seeing the Cards overcome an eventual 4-0 deficit against Cliff Lee on Sunday was quite another, and the Game 2 win should give St. Louis the momentum in front of the home fans.
The Cardinals are going to need it. Busch Stadium wasn't all that favorable for the boys in the birds-on-bat jerseys. Tony La Russa's lads were 45-36 on their home diamond this season, sixth best in the National League but nothing to really crow about. The Phillies were the best road club in the big leagues, meanwhile, winning 50 of their 81 games away from Citizens Bank Park.
If there was one statistical weakness the Phils had during the regular season, it was facing left-handers. Philadelphia went level against lefties, 24-24, and that might play well alongside the Cardinals' 11-4 mark at home in Garcia's 15 starts. The 25-year-old hurler posted a 2.55 ERA at Busch, more than two runs lower than out on the road, and served up just six long balls in 99 innings.
Garcia didn't seem to care where he pitched against the Phils this season, helping the Cardinals to a 2-0 record in his two outings. He allowed just one unearned run in eight innings at Busch in mid-May, and went seven frames in Philly a little more than two weeks ago, surrendering just a single run in that appearance.
Philadelphia lost four of Hamels' last five starts, three of those on the road and the other at home to these Cardinals in his only appearance against them this campaign. He's actually pitched pretty well vs. St. Louis the past few seasons, but doesn't have a win on his personal ledger to show for the efforts.
The playoff experience edge definitely goes to Hamels who will be making his 13th postseason start and Garcia on the October stage for the very first time. Hamels allowed just nine hits while walking one and striking out 17 in his 15 innings of playoff pitching last year.
Matt Holliday is officially listed as doubtful for Tuesday's game, the slugger still nursing a hand injury. He did pinch hit in Game 1, striking out to end the game, and could be playing that role off the bench in Game 3.
Jerry Meals, working his seventh postseason series and sixth LDS, has the plate for this one. The last two times he's worked a Phillies playoff game, Charlie Manuel's crew came out on top.
No worries about the weather for this game. Clear skies, temps in the mid-70s at game time and a light southeast breeze should make for an excellent night for the crowd.
The teams will be right back in action on Wednesday for Game 4. Neither manager has officially named his starter, but it's expected to be Roy Oswalt for Philadelphia against St. Louis' Edwin Jackson.