Tuesday MLB Preview – Giants at Phillies

The Phillies are hoping some familiar faces return to the lineup in an important three-game series that may go a long way in determining the NL Wild Card race.

San Francisco Giants at Philadelphia Phillies

San Francisco hopes its offense can get back on track after hitting .200 over the weekend and dropping two of three games to the Padres.  The Giants are averaging 4.3 runs per game and hitting for a .270 average over their last seven games, which has produced a 4-3 record over that stretch (-90).  The team is tied with the Phillies for the NL Wild Card lead, as they’ve held a share or lead of that spot for the last 25 days.  Since the All-Star break, the club has gone 20-11 (.645), which is the fourth-best mark in the majors.  San Francisco is 1-2 in a current 12-game stretch in playing teams that are in the heart of the playoff race.  The Giants are 30-30 on the road this season and the total is 32-27 O/U in those contests.  In 10 tries as a road underdog of +125 to +150, the team stands at 4-6 for the season and 21-31 over the last three years (-250).

Giants starting pitcher Barry Zito is 8-6 with a 3.44 ERA in 24 starts this season and the team has rattled off three straight wins with him on the mound.  In all three of those victories, San Francisco has won by a single run, as the left-hander has given up seven runs and 17 hits over 20.1 innings of work.  He has not been credited with a victory in his last five starts and has just one win in his last 11 outings.  He stands at 2-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 11 road starts this year, surrendering just six home runs in 69 frames.  Zito has made 158 post All-Star game starts in his career, notching a 76-42 record and 3.38 ERA.  Zito will be making his fifth career start against the Phillies, bringing a 3-1 record and 3.38 ERA, including allowing just two earned runs in his last 12 innings.

Philadelphia has won 18 of 23 after beating the Mets 3-1 on Sunday and are set to begin a 10-game homestand, where they’ve won 15 of 17 at Citizens Bank Park.  More importantly, the team is expecting the return of All-Stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley at some point during the week.  “I think they’ll let us know,” manager Charlie Manuel said.  “I trust them.  I definitely think they’ll be truthful to us.”  The Phillies are 12-4 in their last 16 home meetings with the Giants, but dropped two of three at San Francisco from April 26-28.  The club is a solid 11-3 this month (+820) and 43-27 in August the last three years (+620).  Philadelphia has compiled a 36-19 mark at home (+710) and brings a respectable 11-6 record as a home favorite of -125 to -150 into this contest (+280).

Phillies starting pitcher Roy Oswalt is 7-13 with a 3.34 ERA in 23 starts this season and has led the team to two straight wins.  Over that span, he has allowed just two runs and eight hits over 13.1 strong innings.  The right-hander is 3-9 with a 3.63 ERA in 13 home starts this year, but has thrown seven shutout innings in his new surroundings.  In 16 career starts against the Giants, Oswalt is 5-8 with a 3.59 ERA, issuing 24 walks and striking out 68 in 102.2 frames.  He is 0-3 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts versus San Francisco this season, but all of those came with Houston and he was backed by just two runs of support.

Bettors will find the Giants with an 8-2 record in Zito’s last 10 starts versus the National League East and the under being 9-2-1 in his last 12 against the division overall.  Philadelphia is a solid 6-1 in its last seven home games versus a left-handed starter and the under is 9-2 in the team’s last 11 against southpaws at Citizens Bank Park.

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