The Phillies notched a 7-1 victory in Wednesday’s battle against the Marlins. Phillies sluggers Carlos Ruiz and Hunter Pierce united to hit 5-for-7, with Ruiz poking a homer and double, while starting hurler Roy Halladay recorded his second win.

Thursday night’s finale has Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton slated to oppose Marlins southpaw Mark Buehrle. Sports books opened the matchup as a pick’em, while some shops initially lifted Buehrle’s premium to minus 114. MLB odds makers first set the total at a flat 8.5, with early UNDER wagers shifting the wager’s juice to minus 120 and dropping the total to 8.



Buehrle goes six in opener

Buehrle opened his year with last Thursday’s 4-0 defeat for Miami as a 121 road dog against the Cincinnati Reds. The 13-year veteran allowed two runs on seven hits, lasting six innings.

Joe BlantonMiami’s Gaby Sanchez cracked a double for one of his squad’s three hits, finishing 1-for-3. Marlins mates Hanley Ramirez and Giancarlo Stanton united to hit 0-for-8 from the team’s No. 3 and No. 4 lineup spots, respectively. 

The contest’s four runs plunged dipped below the total of 7.5, with both sides recording one error. Marlins reliever Edward Mujica closed the affair’s final frame, giving up a homer to Cincinnati’s Jay Bruce.

Blanton logs loss in relief

Blanton made his first appearance in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat for Philadelphia, who lost as a 160 road favorite against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 31-year-old entered the battle’s 10th inning, giving up a walkoff infield single to Pittsburgh’s Alex Presley.

Pence drove in the Philadelphia’s sole run, while mates Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco both logged 2-for-5 nights. The Phillies were edged out in hits, 7-6, while recording no errors.

Philadelphia’s 2011 season saw Blanton make eight starts, going 1-2 with five no-decision’s. The sole victory came last May against the Marlins, allowing three earned runs over five innings. 

Back the UNDER in Philly

Thursday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. The weather forecast at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park calls for 53-degree night, with 11 mph winds blowing inward.

I am adding the UNDER in this matchup to my MLB picks, looking for a stingy finish in this series and agreeing with the early betting steam.

Philadelphia hit a subpar .200 in its first four games against left-handed pitching, while the UNDER is 7-1 in the Phillies’ last eight duels against southpaw starters. Miami’s scoring surge in some of its outings may not show itself here, with Marlins leadoff man Jose Reyes and catcher John Buck uniting to hit 4-for-30 lifetime against Blanton.

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard (33 HRs last year) remains on the disabled list, with the team’s two long balls ranking Charlie Manuel’s crew among the NL’s bottom clubs for homers. Philadelphia’s six runs rung up on Marlins starter Josh Johnson in Wednesday’s affair showed some spark, but the lineup’s octane dropped with just three hits in the final 4 1/3 frames against Miami’s Chad Gaudin and Ryan Webb.

Look for scoring to stay at a premium during Thursday’s rubber match, with the Marlins (3.5 RPG) and Phillies (3 RPG) ranking 20thand 27th in MLB. Back the UNDER while both squads play tighter than expected here.