Saturday MLB on FOX Preview – Phillies at Padres

The Padres look to bounce back after dropping the first game of a three-game series against the Phillies at Petco Park.

Philadelphia Phillies at San Diego Padres

Philadelphia picked up a 3-2 victory in the series opener over the San Diego Padres last night, as both teams see this matchup as a potential playoff series.  The victory snapped a four-game losing streak and moved the Phillies within two games of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and into a half-game lead over the San Francisco Giants in the NL Wild Card race.  Overall this season, the club is 31-32 on the road and hitting .254 with 46 home runs and 251 runs scored in 63 games away from Citizens Bank Park.  Philadelphia is 8-6 as a road underdog of +100 to +125 this season (+300) and 36-24 in this situation the past three years (+1,660).  The Phillies are also a solid 53-38 in 2010 against right-handed starters (+500) and the total is 44-45 O/U in those contests.

Phillies starting pitcher Joe Blanton is 5-6 with a 5.32 ERA in 21 starts this season and the club has won three of his last four outings.  Over that span, the offense has provided 27 runs of support, while he has given up nine runs and 29 hits over 26 innings of work.    The right-hander is 1-4 with a 6.55 ERA in nine road starts, giving up 10 home runs in 56.1 frames.  He will be making his 11th daytime start of the year, posting an even 3-3 mark and 6.10 ERA, as opponents are hitting a combined .281 average.  In three career appearances versus the Padres, Blanton has a 1-1 record and 6.75 ERA, including a no decision effort at Citizens Bank Park on June 6.  In that outing, he allowed five runs and 11 hits over just five innings of work.

San Diego has lost two straight games and five of its last 18 contests, still maintain a six-game lead over the Giants in the Western division.  “We’ve been playing hard, we’ve been playing loose,” manager Bud Black said.  At 16-10 in August (+600), the Padres have clinched a seventh straight month of winning baseball, dating back to August 2009.  The club is 42-40 during the month the past three campaigns (+940) and the total is 14-11 O/U in those contests.  San Diego also passed its win total from the 2009 season earlier this week, reaching 76 wins, 36 games faster than the 2009 club.  When the squad needs to shut the door at the end of games, closer Heath Bell has converted each of his last 24 save opportunities and ranks first in the National League with 37 on the season.  The Padres are 11-9 on Saturdays this year and the total is 7-13 O/U over that span.

Padres starting pitcher Jon Garland is 13-8 with a 3.25 ERA in 26 starts this season and comes in with a three-game winning streak.  In those games, he has allowed two runs and 13 hits over 18.1 innings of work, with the team outscoring the opposition by a 11-3 margin.  He has posted a 7-2 record and 2.49 ERA in 13 home starts, issuing 42 free passes and collecting 53 punch outs in 79.2 frames.  The right-hander will be making his 10th daytime start, producing a 6-2 mark and 2.98 ERA in comparison to a 7-6 record and 3.40 ERA in 17 nighttime appearances.  Garland will be seeking his first-ever victory against the Phillies, going 0-4 with a 7.94 ERA in five starts.

Bettors will be interested in knowing the Phillies are 4-0 in their last four road games as an underdog of +110 to +150 and the under has cashed in six straight games.  San Diego has bounced back all season from defeat, compiling a 44-19 record.

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