Phillies-Rays World Series Logo" width="157" height="61" />Even if you don’t bet on MLB odds, you have to be excited to watch the Phillies and Rays duke it out this week.
Each team has endured a bumpy road since they met in the 2008 World Series and, while the Rays are climbing toward the top of the AL East, the Phillies’ grasp on the NL East is tenuous. What will happen this week at Tropicana field?
Let’s make some MLB predictions.
Tuesday, June 23, 7:08 p.m. ET
Jamie Moyer (4-6, 6.35) vs David Price (1-1, 3.46)
MLB betting lines: Phillies +155, Rays -175
Is it swan song time for Jamie Moyer? It’s been an amazing run, but he may finally be out of gas, as his 6.35 ERA suggests. However, I have a feeling he helps bust the Phillies out of their six-game skid tonight. He has a somewhat useful 5.40 ERA on the road – good enough with the Phillies bats behind you – and he handled the Rays in the deciding game of the World Series. In fact, he held Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena hitless.
David Price is a special pitcher, so it’s understandable that sportsbooks favor the Rays. However, while many fans love his 30 strikeouts in 26 innings, it’s easy to forget his 18 walks during that time span. That’s simply too high for a major league pitcher, and the Phillies will punish him if he doesn’t hit the plate.
Wednesday, June 24, 7:08 p.m. ET
Joe Blanton (4-3, 5.28) vs Matt Garza (4-5, 3.83)
MLB betting lines: Phillies +145, Rays -165
Time for Tampa to strike back. The Rays have to feel confident sending promising youngster Matt Garza to the hill against the Phillies. He’s quickly establishing himself as a big-game pitcher, having allowed just seven earned runs in 33.2 innings in five starts against the Yankees and Red Sox. Joe Blanton must have nightmares about Tropicana field, as he has a 7.64 ERA there. Carlos Pena has sweet dreams about facing Blanton, hitting .571 off the portly hurler. You have to give the edge to the Rays here.
Thursday June 25, 7:08 p.m. ET
Antonio Bastardo (2-2, 5.21) vs Andy Sonnanstine (5-7, 6.60)
MLB betting lines: Not posted yet
Oh, boy. Looks like the home run derby starts early this year. Andy Sonnanstine has been a special kind of bad in 2009 – the kind that usually earns you a ticket to Class-AAA. He’s allowed at least one homer in eight straight starts and 14 in total over that span. Is there any way he can handle a prolific power-hitting team like Philly?
Antonio Bastardo has taken his lumps (though I assume his jersey sales remain strong – what’s the price per head on those at Citizens Bank Park?), but only at home. He’s 2-0 with a 2.45 road ERA in his young career and is a good bet to survive on Thursday.