Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia (Hamels) vs. Washington (Zimmerman)
Date/Time: May 6, 8:05 PM EST
Television: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball
MLB Betting Odds from Bookmaker
Moneyline: Washington (-117) Philadelphia (+107)
The Phillies were supposed to be the team at the top of the National League East, but the Nationals have stunned the baseball world by jumping out to a lead in the tough division. Everyone knew Washington was improving by leaps and bounds, but an 18-9 start definitely wasn’t expected. The Phillies have tons of injuries right now, but they’ll likely still be a factor as the season moves on. This matchup will be featured on Sunday Night Baseball this week.
Cole Hamels doesn’t quite get the credit that some other top pitchers get, but his numbers have been terrific the past three years. Hamels continues to improve, and he appears to be hitting the prime of his career right now. Hamels has four quality starts in a row coming into this game. Jonathan Papelbon is 9 for 9 in saves so far with the Phillies, and he has allowed only six hits all season.
The Phillies offense is severely short-handed right now. Without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the middle of the order, this offense has struggled quite a bit. Hunter Pence, Jimmy Rollins, and Shane Victorino aren’t having the big seasons they need to have with Utley and Howard out of the lineup. Carlos Ruiz leads the team with a .325 batting average and 19 RBI’s in 2012. Philadelphia is averaging only 3.61 runs per game this season.
Jordan Zimmerman has battled injury problems quite a bit already for a youngster, but when he is healthy he is a dominating pitcher. Zimmerman pitched 161 innings last year and he had an impressive 3.18 ERA. In 2012, Zimmerman is just 1-2 because of a lack of run support, but he has a stellar 1.89 ERA. Washington leads the majors in team ERA at 2.36. The Nationals have gotten an amazing 21 quality starts out of their rotation already in 2012. The pitching staff is the reason this team has been so terrific this year.
The Nationals are missing Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse from their lineup right now, and the offense has really struggled to put up runs this year. Washington’s offense is averaging just 3.44 runs per game, which is 27th in the majors. Bryce Harper made his major league debut this week, and he has already contributed nicely. The Nationals have won a ton of 1-0 and 2-1 type games this year, but the offense has to pick it up a bit if they are going to stay at the top of the NL East.
The Phillies are 4-0 in Cole Hamels’ last 4 road starts. They are also 9-1 in Hamels’ last 10 starts against the Nationals.
The Nationals are 14-3 in their last 17 home games. They are also 7-0 in their last 7 games against the Phillies.
The under is 6-0 in Zimmerman’s last 6 home starts. The under is 5-1 in Hamels’ last 6 road starts.
MLB Free Pick: Under 6
I’m no fan of taking an under this low, but this has the makings of a pitcher’s duel. Look for both starters to pitch very well here.