Thursday’s inclination was correct and we cashed the under on the Braves’ team total in a game that went over, barely. We got that one by the hook and we’re back at .500 this month.
Saturday’s play is between two teams that I don’t watch much and that can often be for the better. The Reds try for two in a row over the chilly Phillies.
Perhaps some of you may not know how bad the Philadelphia Phillies have been in the last month? Don’t be ashamed.
It was Thursday, May 27th when Jeremy Hellickson beat Edinson Volquez to complete a sweep of the Marlins. It was the Phillies second consecutive sweep and sixth win in a row. They were 11-9 and reveling in talks that they might not be as dreadful as we all thought they would be.
Then they started a seven-game road trip against the Dodgers and Cubs. Kenta Maeda threw his first game of the season on the 28th, the Dodgers swept the weekend series and the Cubs took three of four.
The Phillies are 4-15 since then. They’ve had two losing streaks of five, one of four and another of three, without many wins in between. Since the 28th, Philadelphia is 5-21.
One of the big reasons why the Phillies are so susceptible to such terrible stretches is that they don’t have a stopper, a guy who has the confidence of the guys behind him, someone very unlike the 0-5 Jerad Eickhoff.
Once upon a time, Eickhoff was a good young pitcher who captured the hopes of a lot of Philadelphia fans. He’s only 26 now and not nearly as bad as I’m making him out to be but I’m trying to win your confidence. The Phils have lost eight of the nine games he’s started this season and, more so than the statistics that the nerds tell me I should care about, that’s the one I’m worried about now because that’s not the type of pitcher who inspires confidence in a team that desperately needs it.
Meanwhile, Bronson Arroyo isn’t nearly as good as I may make him out to be but anybody who has pitched 18 seasons in the big leagues knows how to keep a young, struggling team down when it’s there. He’ll limit the walks, keep the Phillies off-balance and force them to show the utmost discipline. That’s a lot to ask out of this team, right now.
I know the Reds aren’t a good team but they have some good players with a veteran on the mound. And who’s going to buy the Phillies at -140?
Free Pick: Reds +125