ESPN Monday Night Baseball Betting Preview

The Phillies are 7-1 in the last eight meetings against the Padres, a team that has the National League’s best record coming into tonight’s contest.

San Diego Padres at Philadelphia Phillies

San Diego broke a seven-game losing streak against Philadelphia with a 6-5 extra innings victory at Citizens Bank Park.  The bullpen was a major player in Sunday’s victory, but it’s been like that all season.  Four Padres relievers delivered 8.1 innings of scoreless relief, as the unit came in leading the National League in strikeouts and holding opposing hitters to a league-low .207 average.  “They have really done a great, great job,” manager Bud Black said.  “Everybody down there has been a contributor.”  San Diego will face its second left-hander of the series on Monday night, dropping a 6-2 decision to Jamie Moyer on Saturday.  The Padres are 10-7 this year when facing southpaws (+370) and 56-71 over the last three years (-1,170).

Padres SP Wade LeBlanc has posted a 2-4 record and 3.67 ERA in nine starts this season, with the team posting a 5-4 record (+120).  San Diego won each of his first five starts, as he went 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA over that span, but is suffering through period that has seen him drop four consecutive starts.  Over that span, the left-hander is 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA, but the Padres’ offense has also supplied just four total runs of support.  He will be making his first road start since May 21, posting an even 1-1 mark and 6.59 ERA in three previous starts away from Petco Park.  LeBlanc will be able to control the Phillies’ run game having picked off a MLB-leading six base runners this year.

Philadelphia is slowly breaking out of its recent slump, but may have taken a step back after leaving 15 men on base and going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position on Sunday.  “They did a pretty good job holding us at bay”, said Phillies 1B Ryan Howard.  “Obviously they won the game and held us when they needed to.”  Philadelphia is now 15-11 at Citizens Bank Park and will look to win its fifth home series with a victory on Monday.  The team has hit 34 home runs and averages 4.88 runs per game at home, ranking third and seventh respectively in the NL.  On the mound, the pitching staff has posted a 3.46 ERA at home which ranks sixth in the Senior Circuit.

Phillies SP Cole Hamels is 3-1 with a 3.35 ERA in seven career outings against the Padres, including a perfect 2-0 and 4.43 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.  The San Diego native has been especially good against his hometown team of late, posting a 3-1 record and 3.06 ERA over his last five starts against the Padres.  The left-hander was last seen in a rain-shortened appearances on June 1, managing to throw just 2/3 of an inning due to a rain delay that lasted just longer than an hour.  Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.94 ERA in five starts at home this season, fanning 35 batters and issuing just eight walks in 33.2 innings of work.  The Phillies have won his last three home starts, outscoring opponents by a 12-5 margin.

From a handicapping standpoint, the Phillies’ offense is just a hit or two away from breaking out in a big way.  I’m not sure it happens on Monday against a starter they will face for the first time and bringing in a .255 average against lefties this season.  Despite posting a 15-11 home record this season, Philadelphia has cost bettors at the windows (-270).  San Diego has the best record in the National League, but is no sure thing with a 2-4 record as a underdog of +150 to +175 (-100).

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