San Diego Padres vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preview and Pick

San Diego Padres (7-3) Chris Young +150, 8.5 O/U at Philadelphia
Phillies (4-4) Cole Hamels -160, 8.5 O/U, Citizens Bank Park,
Philadelphia, Pa., 7:05 PM EST, Friday

by Badger of

World Series MVP Cole Hamels returns home to Citizens Bank Park where
he pitched the Philadelphia Phillies to the title, as the reigning
champs host the San Diego Padres and Chris Young in the opener of a
four-game series Friday.

Hamels, a San Diego native, will be looking to rebound from a
horrific first outing last Friday when he was shelled for seven runs
and 11 hits in just 3.2 innings of a 10-3 loss at Colorado. Hell
also be looking to get Philly back in the win column, as the Phillies
were dealt an 8-2 loss in Washington yesterday to snap their modest
three-game win streak.

The Padres come into town fresh off of playing the role of spoiler to
the New York Mets in the opening series of their new ballpark, Citi
Field, taking two of three including yesterdays 6-5 victory in the
finale. The Padres, who won five of their last six games overall,
will hand the ball to the righty Young who has been stellar in his
two outings so far in 2009.

Oddsmakers dont seem to be worried about Hamels and his struggles in his season opener, as they have pegged him and the Phillies as -160
favorites on the moneyline. The Padres enter the game as +150
underdogs on the dimeline, while the over/under total is currently
being listed at 8.5 runs at most offshore sportsbooks on the Internet.

All eyes will be fixed on Hamels tonight as he looks to rebound back
to his old form on the bump. After experiencing elbow pain towards
the end of spring training, Hamels was shut down and then bumped back
a week to start the season. When he tossed the stinker versus the
Rockies in Coors Field to start the year people speculated his elbow
was still bothering him, but Hamels says its not an issue and a good
outing tonight will go a long way to show everyone he is truly healthy.

If Hamels can get back to his old self the fans at Citizens Bank
Field could see a great pitching duel tonight, as Young has also
rebounded very well following the forearm injury that shut him down
at the end of the 2008 season.

Young is already 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 0.85 WHIP this season, and
his last outing versus San Francisco (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 7 K) was one of
the best lines for any pitcher so far this season. Young has a solid
history versus the Phillies too, as he is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA and a .
188 OPA in his three career starts versus Philly.

Hamels also has a solid, and also brief history versus the Padres. In
five starts the lefty is 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and a .196
OPA when pitching against the Padres.

These two have dueled against each other in the past as well, as they
both went seven strong innings back in July of 2007 in a game the
Padres won, 1-0.

Neither offense is setting the world on fire right now, so the chance
of a pitchers duel is even greater. The Phillies are scoring 5.25
runs per game (11th in MLB), while the Padres are scoring just 4.4
runs a game (20). The Phillies are hitting at a .261 clip (15th),
while the Padres are hitting .236 (26th) as a team.

Philadelphia won four of the six meetings versus the Padres last
season, including two of the three games played at Citizens Bank
Park. However, the one game the Padres won in that series was the
game Young started. Two of the three games stayed under the total in
that series as well.

Badgers Pick: Tonight might be the night Hamels bounces back to normal, but until he shows me hes completely healthy Im not
wagering anything on him, especially with such a large number like
-160. Young has a solid history versus the Phillies and has pitched
well in 2008, so Im going with the barking dog tonight. Take the
Padres at +150.