Philadelphia Phillies vs. Tampa Bay Rays Preview and Pick – Moyer vs. Price

Philadelphia Phillies (36-31) Jamie Moyer +159, 9.5 O/U at Tampa
Bay Rays (37-34) David Price -169, 9.5 O/U, Tropicana Field, St.
Petersburg, Fla., 7:08 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of

The World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies return to the scene
of one of those wins when they travel to Tropicana Field to take on
the runner-up Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a three-game
interleague series tonight.

The series opens with a old-school versus new-school pair of lefties
on the bump too, as 46-year-old Phillies southpaw Jamie Moyer goes
against the Rays exciting 23-year-old flamethrower David Price.

The Phillies are hoping the familiar setting of the Tropicana will
bring back the good memories and good vibes, as they are neck-deep in
a six-game losing streak after getting swept by Toronto and Baltimore
in interleague action last week. The slide, their longest this
season, continued Sunday with a tough 2-1 loss to Baltimore to
conclude a cruddy 1-8 homestand for the Phillies.

But its not all gloom and doom for the champs. The Phillies still
are in first-place in the NL East (1 over NY Mets) and own an MLB-
best 23-9 record on the road away from Citizens Bank Park, which
includes a .273-team batting average on the road as well.

The Rays enter the interleague series on a two-game win streak,
winning Sundays game against the Mets 10-6. With the exception of a
three-game hiccup at the end of last week, the Rays are 7-3 in their
last 10 games and have won three of their last four series played.

B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria both had four hits each in Sundays win
over the Mets, so the Rays may finally be peaking at the plate. The
Rays have an 8-4 record in interleague games thus far and are 10-5
against the Phillies lifetime during the regular season, so theyll
be looking to add wins and make up some of their six-game deficit in
the AL East standings.

Oddsmakers have installed Price and the Rays as -169 favorites on the
moneyline at home in the Tropicana. Moyer and the Phillies are
getting as much as +159 as underdogs at the online sportsbooks that
offer dimelines. The over/under total is set at 9.5 just about
everywhere they book wagers on the total.

Moyer is 4-6 with a 6.35 ERA, so hes hanging around but starting to
really look his age. His last start he was tagged for 6 runs on 10
hits in 6.1 innings in a 7-1 loss to Toronto, his eighth time in 13
starts hes given up more than 4 runs a game. The Phillies are just
6-7 with Moyer starting this season, but he did win game three of the
World Series last season against the Rays, going 6.1 innings and
allowing just three runs in the Phillies 4-3 win.

Price is still just 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA this season in five starts,
but he is making progress. His last start was perhaps his worst (5 R,
10 H), but he didnt walk a single batter in the game and went a
season-high seven innings. Prior to that Price had walked 18 in just
19 innings of work, and had never made it out of the sixth inning.

Tampa Bay swept the last interleague series between these two played
in the Tropicana Dome, er, Tropicana Field back in 2001, and took two
out of three the time before for a 5-1 record at home overall. The
under was 4-1-1 in those same six games, but those were some really
bad Rays teams during those days.

Upton is on fire right now for the Rays right now, hitting .400 with
2 homeruns and 9 RBIs in his last nine games. Longoria, who had four
hits on Sunday versus the Mets, went 1-for-20 last year against the
Phillies in the World Series.

Ryan Howard is expected to play tonight after missing the first game
in over two years on Sunday with sinusitis, which is a good thing
because Howard has hit 12 of his 20 homeruns and 30 of his 54 RBIs in
road games this year. Early season MVP candidate Raul Ibanez is still
on the DL with a bad groin, so Howard will need to carry the offense
for a while.

Badgers Pick: I think the Rays will knock Moyer around tonight,
while Price keeps the Phillies big lefties in check (Howard, Utley)
without having to face Ibanez too. If your bankroll has enough to eat
the chalk, take the Rays at -169 tonight.