Stephen Nover’s Free Monday Play

On May 2, 2016, in Free Picks, MLB, by Stephen

Phillies plus $1.60 at Cardinals

We all know a regression is in order for the Phillies, who are 15-10 despite being outscored by 16 runs and tied for last in the National League in runs per game at 3.3.

But the notion to start fading the Phillies is superseded – at least for this game – by this value price. How often can you take this high of a price with a team that has won nine of 10, including six in a row, has a hot bullpen and a starter off his best outing of the season against a below .500 opponent whose starting pitcher has a 7.16 ERA?

The answer is not often enough. So hence a recommendation on Philadelphia against St. Louis, which has yet to get its groove losing its past four games by a combined 14 runs. The Cardinals are 1-8 against opponents sporting a winning record.

What we get with the Phillies is a lot of luck – so far – as they are 8-2 in one-run games and 3-0 in extra innings. But we also get a high-energy, confident, semi-youthful team that is playing on house money in the early going. The Phillies also have proven themselves on the road winning seven of eight games.

Philadelphia’s under-the-radar bullpen has allowed one run during its past 21 innings. Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson just shut out the Nationals, 3-0, this past Wednesday yielding only two hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Hellickson has been much better on the road going 2-0 with an 0.96 ERA in three away outings. No Cardinals batter has had more than six at bats against Hellickson, who came to the National League last season after pitching for Tampa Bay for five years.

Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright carries the big name being a two-time Cy Young Award winner. But he’s 34 and struggling since missing most of last season with an Achilles tendon injury. He’s 1-3 with a 7.16 ERA this season.

Wainwright definitely should improve on those numbers as he continues to shake off the rust. But it’s difficult to envision him returning to his one-time stud status.


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