The major league baseball season is a long, 162-game marathon full of ups and downs, streaks and runs.
So it’s not surprising that few people noticed Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel briefly lamenting a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers back on May 16.
“What it boils down to is that we had a couple of chances to win the game late and we didn`t do it,” Manuel told reporters following Philadelphia’s loss as a +124 underdog to Chris Capuano and the Brewers. “There is no sense in us getting down.”
But Manuel may not have been so nonchalant if he could have predicted the Phillies would go 15-29 in their next 44 games, costing backers 15.88 units in the process.
“I think a good deal of that can be attributed to interleague play,” says Covers Expert Brian Gabrielle. “As we’ve seen over the last several seasons and the last couple of World Series, the American League is just a far better league right now than their National League counterparts.”
It looks like the professional handicapper has a point. The Phillies, crossing over with the powerhouse American League East, went 5-13 in interleague play and lost 8.06 units. Combine these numbers with a 2-7 record against the National League-leading New York Mets and you get a pretty clear picture as to why Philadelphia has been so bad.
To fill in the rest, one need look no further than a starting pitching staff that has been downright atrocious during the slump. On average, the Philadelphia starters are lasting just over five innings per start with an ERA of 6.62 runs.
“Those kind of numbers reverberate right through an entire staff,” says Gabrielle. “Once the starters get knocked around then the bullpen must come in and try and clean things up. But they aren’t used to pitching multiple innings so they become tired and the whole problem just snowballs from there.”
But even with that in mind, Gabrielle still expects Philadelphia to go into the All-Star break on a high note.
“They are at home playing the San Diego Padres and the Pittsburgh Pirates, two teams they can certainly beat,” says Gabrielle. “Now that the big bats of the American League are behind them I expect their pitching to be significantly better.”
The Phillies host Jake Peavy and the Padres Wednesday night. Books have Phillies as +117 underdogs with the total set at 9 1/2.
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