Two of the top teams in the National League square off in MLB betting action on Tuesday night, as the Philadelphia Phillies (25-15, +$453) duke it out with the St. Louis Cardinals (23-19, -$25).
There's definitely something wrong with the offense for the Phillies right now. They only rank No. 16 in the league at 4.18 runs per game, and they don't rank in the top half of the league in any major category. Of course, we know that Chase Utley hasn't picked up a bat yet in the big leagues this year, and we know that replacing Jayson Werth will be difficult, but the rest of the bats just don't have an excuse. In this three game skid on the MLB betting odds, the Phils have plated just a total of six runs; in fact, they haven't scored more than three runs in a loss since April 26th. Roy Oswalt will be on the bump on Tuesday, searching for his 154th win in his career. He was knocked around for five runs in 3.0 innings of work in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a start which ultimately was his last before hitting the DL, but after missing three turns in the rotation, he is back. Oswalt hasn't thrown more than six innings all season long, and it is very unlikely that he is going to pitch any deeper than that tonight, which means that a much maligned bullpen is probably going to be called upon for a few innings of work.
The Redbirds are playing decent ball right now, and they are going to be in a position once again this season to challenge for a playoff spot. This is truly remarkable considering the fact that Chris Carpenter has done nothing to help the team this year, and Adam Wainwright is on the DL for the season with shoulder troubles. However, after a 13-8 season last year, Jamie Garcia is proving that he was no fluke. Thus far in 2011, Garcia is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, and he hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start all season long. Of course, he has been blessed with a heck of a lot of run support as well, as the Cards have given him at least five runs in six straight starts, but he has really made that offensive production stand tall as well. Garcia has also pitched well against the Phillies in his career, posting a 1.80 ERA in five career outings. Over his last two starts, Garcia has thrown 16 innings, has allowed just 11 hits, two walks, and one run, and he has struck out 12 men.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals Pick: Perhaps a month ago before Oswalt got hurt, we'd be viewing this game a tad differently. However, right now, Garcia is the better pitcher, St. Louis has the better bullpen, and the better lineup. Oh yes, and it is playing at home in front of one of the best crowds in the game. Easy enough for us to make our MLB picks on this one. We're taking the Cardinals -130.