The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are hanging in there in the National League playoff picture, but losses to teams that are already out of the running don't help. Saturday St. Louis will look to avoid another such defeat as it plays Game 2 of a weekend series in Philly against the Phillies. Who do we like for a free MLB pick in this one?
Philly won the opener of this series Friday night 3-1 behind
a quality start from Roy Halladay and a tie-breaking homer from Chase Utley in
the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Phillies won as -120 favorites on Friday's MLB betting
board, and the game stayed 'under' its total of 7.5.
So at 61-52 the Cardinals sit six games back of
division-leading Cincinnati in the NL Central, but they're only 2.5 games
behind the Pirates in the battle for the second NL Wild-Card spot.
Philly, meanwhile, is 10 games under .500 at 51-61.
Cliff Lee (2-6, 3.78) hits the hill Saturday for Philly
against Jake Westbrook (11-8, 3.76) for St. Louis.
Lee is 10-for-19 on quality starts this year, and four for
his last six. His last time out Lee gave up four runs on three homers in eight
innings against Arizona, but just before that he held Washington scoreless on
five hits through seven innings. On the season, while Lee has just two wins to
his personal credit, he's allowed 132 hits in 133 innings, and owns a 5/1 K/BB
ratio, at 124/24.
In his one start this year against the Cardinals Lee gave up
three runs on eight hits through seven innings of a 5-3 Philly victory back in
May. But of course he didn't get the win.
Westbrook, meanwhile, is 11-for-22 on quality starts this
season, and three-for-five since the All-Star break. Most recently Westbrook
held the Giants to two solo homers through six innings, but over his last three
starts he's allowed 10 ER and 23 hits in 19 innings.
For the season Westbrook has given up 147 hits in 139
innings, and his K/BB ratio is less than 3/1, at 89/36.
In his one start this year against the Phillies back in May
Westbrook got clipped for six runs and eight hits in less than four innings,
and that was against a Philly lineup without either Utley or Ryan Howard.
Odds and Trends
As of Saturday AM the best MLB odds we could find on
Philadelphia was the -136 being offered at The Greek, while St. Louis could be
played at +132 at Matchbook.
Most online sportsbooks were listing the total on
Saturday's game at eight.
Philly is 64-45 on the 'over/unders' this season. And the
totals are a combined 24-14 in games started by Lee and Westbrook this year.
Early betting on Saturday's game has seen about 55 percent
of play on the side come in on the Cardinals, and about 55 percent of action on
the total has come in on the 'under.'
The Phillies lead the season series with the Cardinals four
games to one.
St. Louis is 23-12 against left-handed starting pitchers
Free MLB Pick for
St. Louis has more to play for, but we've been thinking Lee
has been pitching in some tough luck this season. So with that in mind we'll go
with Philly for our free MLB pick for Saturday.