Cliff Lee has pitched in hard luck for the Phillies this year, but so has Milwaukee’s Marco Estrada, who is still winless despite allowing three runs or less in six of his last eight starts and being a strikeout machine. Take Milwaukee Thursday.
In a game featuring two starting pitchers that have pitched in hard luck this season, Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies (54-63 overall, 28-30 away) take on Marco Estrada and the Milwaukee Brewers (52-64 overall, 33-26 home) on Thursday night as the teams open up a four-game weekend series from Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI at 8:10 ET.MLB Pick
The money line at Pinnacle Sports has Milwaukee as a small underdog for this contest at current odds of +111.
Lee can certainly sue the Phillies for non-support this year, as he is 2-7 despite a 3.85 ERA, but Estrada does not deserve to be winless for the Brewers either, and the fact that he is a home underdog in this spot gives Milwaukee value.
Milwaukee is coming off if a 1-5 road trip, but the Brewers have won six straight games here at home where they remain a solid seven games over .500 on the year, as opposed to a dismal 19-38 on the road. The last time they were home, the Brew Crew swept a three-game set from the division leading Cincinnati Reds before embarking on their latest brutal road trip.
Estrada is 0-5 with a 4.36 ERA on the season, but those numbers are very deceptive. He actually has a very good 1.17 WHIP in 14 starts covering 84.2 innings, and he has a tremendous ratio of 86 strikeouts against only 16 walks. Furthermore, Estrada has a microscopic 0.93 WHIP here at home with an unbelievable 52 strikeouts vs. four walks!
That does not sound like the resume of a winless pitcher, and moreover he is also in good current form, as Estrada has allowed three runs or less in six of his last eight starts. Granted one of his poor outings in this stretch came vs. the Phillies in Philadelphia, but he now gets a chance to gain some revenge here at home where he has pitched so well.
The Phillies are certainly in a position that they have not been accustomed to in recent years, as the five-time defending National League East Champions are in fourth place in the division this year a 18½ games behind the front-running Washington Nationals, and they were sellers at the trading deadline.
Lee no doubt deserves a better fate, given that he has a 1.18 WHIP and a phenomenal ratio of 130 strikeouts vs. 24 walks in 140.1 innings. With that said, his current form is not as good as Estrada’s as Lee now has only one Quality Start in his last four outings after the St Louis Cardinals reached him for four earned runs on 10 hits in 7.1 innings last Saturday.
Lee has uncharacteristically allowed at least eight hits in three of his last four starts including allowing double-digit hit totals in two of them, and he is now facing a Milwaukee lineup whose best split this year has been vs. left-handed pitchers at home, as they are batting .267 while averaging a potent 6.06 runs per nine innings against them here.
Look for Estrada’s recent fine pitching to finally pay off as he breaks through for his first win of the year on Thursday.
: Brewers +111