Date/Time: May 18, 4:05 p.m. EST
Starting Pitchers: Cincinnati (Arroyo) Philadelphia (Kendrick)
MLB Gambling Odds from Bookmaker
Moneyline: Phillies (-110) Reds (-110)
The Philadelphia Phillies won the opener in this series last night to snap the Cincinnati Reds six-game winning streak. Philadelphia got a nice pitching effort from Cliff Lee in last night’s game, and Domonic Brown came up with some timely hits to lead to the 5-3 Phillies win. The oddsmakers can’t decide who to install as the favorite in Saturday’s showdown on FOX.
The Cincinnati Reds were ice cold on the road earlier this year, but they are now up to a slightly more respectable 9-11 record on the road. To be fair, the Reds have been beating up on the Cubs and Marlins on the road lately, so that might be artificially pumping up their road winning percentage. Still, it’s obvious that the Reds are one of the best teams in the National League because of their balance. Cincinnati hasn’t been able to find a way to win in Philadelphia over the last few years. The Reds are 7-20 in their last 27 games in Philadelphia.
It should come as no surprise that Joey Votto leads the Reds with a .329 batting average. Votto is hitting machine. Brandon Phillips is leading the NL in RBI’s, and that has to be considered a bit of surprise for a guy who isn’t really a power hitter. Shin Soo-Choo has been excellent in the leadoff spot for the Reds, and he gives the offense a lot of extra punch. Jay Bruce has heated up over the last week, but Todd Frazier is still struggling to get going. Cincinnati’s pitching staff has been great of late. The Reds are sixth in the majors in team ERA.
Philadelphia is 4-1 in their last 5 games. The Phillies now sit two games under .500. It’s clear that the Phillies aren’t the National League East favorites anymore, but they certainly hoped for a better start than what they have gotten in 2013. The Phillies are averaging just 3.64 runs per game, which is 26th best in the majors. At the same time, their once dominating pitching staff is now no better than mediocre. Kyle Kendrick, who starts on Saturday, has actually been the team’s best starter so far this year. Jonathan Papelbon has been lights out when the Phillies give him a lead going into the ninth inning.
Chase Utley looked really good at the start of the season, but his average has slipped quite a bit over the last few weeks. Michael Young leads the team with a .301 batting average on the season. Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins are two guys that the team really needs to get a lot more out of. Neither of them are going to be the players they were a few years ago, but this team can’t win with these guys struggling all year. Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young should help the offense, but they just got back in the lineup and need to find a rhythm.
Free Pick: Reds ML
This is a tough call, and I don’t have a strong feeling at all on this game. The Reds are the better team, and I think they’ll snap out of this Phillies funk soon.