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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM

Your “Monday Night Game of the Week” on ESPN is going to be the Philadelphia Phillies at the Cincinnati Reds. And, your “Wednesday Night Game of the Week” on ESPN2 is ALSO going to be Phils/Redlegs! So, let’s preview this important series matching two teams who both expected to be higher up in the standings than they are at the moment.

 

OPPONENTS SO FAR

Philadelphia: at Atlanta (3), vs. Kansas City (3), vs. NYM (3), at Miami (3)

Cincinnati : vs. LAA (3), vs. Washington (3), at St. Louis (3), at Pittsburgh (3)

Neither team enters the week over the .500 mark…though BOTH were expected to be vs. the schedules you see above. Cincinnati has had it tougher obviously, drawing projected contenders in their first three series. That being said…the Angels have been a DISASTER out of the gate…and the Reds were basically co-favorites to win the National League this year along with the Nationals. To this point in the markets, the Reds have either been favorites or virtual pick-ems in all 12 games. Yet, they’re not over .500.

Philadelphia was seen as more of a Wildcard contender who should sneak past the .500 mark as they continue their slow fall from grace behind the Nationals and Braves in the NL East. They drew a very easy schedule after that opener with Atlanta…and were betting favorites in all nine games afterward. Yet, they’re not above .500 after a dozen games either.

So, that sets the stage for this series. It’s not a clash of titans. But, it’s a tone-setter for the rest of the month…because whoever loses the series is going to be dealing with a local media that will be harping on a surprisingly slow start. 

Let’s take a quick look at the projected pitching matchups. These are always subject to change since we’re looking a few days out.

 

MONDAY’S PITCHERS (stats from 2012)

Philadelphia…Lee: 6-9, 3.16 ERA, 1.14 WHIP

Cincinnati… Arroyo: 12-10, 3.74 ERA, 1.21 WHIP

Lee is the better pitcher, though he pitched in such ridiculous luck last year that he only won six games despite staying in the rotation almost the whole year. He should have gone about 14-9 or 15-9! That gives you a sense of the troubles Philly was having in 2012…troubles that don’t look like they’ve been fixed so far in 2013. Arroyo is reliable, if not dominating. You’re typically going to get “pretty good” out of him. That’s enough to win in front of a strong lineup. The pitching edge here goes to Lee…but the Reds have the better offense.

 

TUESDAY’S PITCHERS (stats from 2012)

Philadelphia …Kendrick: 11-12, 3.90 ERA, 1.27 WHIP

Cincinnati … Bailey: 13-10, 3.68 ERA, 1.24 WHIP

Bailey is unhittable one moment, struggling the next. His stats grade out very similar to Arroyo though he gets there in a completely different way. Of course, his stats are also very similar to Kendrick! In the big picture, this one’s a wash. But, that’s because Bailey’s capable of throwing five no-hit innings out of the gate, or of getting knocked around and falling behind. Best to back Bailey in great pitching environments vs. high strikeout offenses.

 

WEDNESDAY’S PITCHERS (stats from 2012)

Philadelphia …Lannan: 4-1, 4.13 ERA, 1.44 WHIP

Cincinnati … Leake: 8-9, 4.58 ERA, 1.35 WHIP

Lannan only made 6 starts last year with Washington before coming over to Philly this season. His new team is expected a better ERA and WHIP than that…and they’re getting it so far in two quality starts against Kansas City and Miami. Lannan is stepping up in class here in terms of site/opponent, making this his toughest test as a Phillie.

JIM HURLEY loves handicapping April baseball because there are so many different ways to win. He may or may not have a major release in this particular TV series (right now it looks like we’ll have at least one release in the set between now and Wednesday). He’s also looking at these very interesting matchups early in the week…

Arizona at the NY Yankees

Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Texas at the Chicago Cubs

San Diego at LA Dodgers (heated rematch!

Game day releases in MLB and NBA are always available right here at the website with your credit card. Don’t forget that the NBA Playoffs start this weekend! If you have any questions about long term service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

So far the Phillies and Reds are failing to play to expectations. One man who always meets and BEATS expectations is world champion handicapper JIM HURLEY!

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