St. Louis Cardinals (Wainwright) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Hamels) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

St. Louis Cardinals (18-8) Adam Wainwright, at Philadelphia
Phillies (14-11) Cole Hamels, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia,
Pa., 7:05 PM EST, Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Cardinals -130/Phillies +120
Total: 8.5

Two teams that many are predicting will meet again later this year in
the National League Championship will play game two of their showcase
four-game series Tuesday night when the St. Louis Cardinals send
right-handed dealer Adam Wainwright out to face the Philadelphia
and their one-time ace lefty Cole Hamels.

The series kicked off in grand style last night as a 1-1 pitchers
duel between Jamie Garcia and Joe Blanton turned on a pinch-hit
homerun by Nick Stavinoha in the seventh inning. The Cards added a
bases-loaded double by David Freese later in the inning to pull away
and then hold on for a 6-3 victory.

Game two of the series is an interesting matchup of pitchers featuring Wainwright for the Cards, who has raced past the former
NLCS-MVP Hamels on his way up the list of elite, franchise-type young
starters in the National League today.

Game two will also be an interesting matchup because of the wide
range of betting lines available right now, since the Cardinals and
Wainwright opened overnight at -150 on the moneyline and can
currently be found anywhere from -119 (at Pinnacle) all the way up to
-135 at most offshore sportsbooks on the Web.

The Phillies and Hamels can be found as attractive underdogs anywhere
from +120 all the way down to a much less attractive

The over/under total is the lone constant of all the odds on this
game, as it opened at 8.5 and has held at 8.5 across the board at all
of the books that list a total on the big board.

With the wide range of odds available you can tell that oddsmakers
are having a hard time handicapping tonights contest. With
Wainwright about as consistent as anyone on the bump in the last few
seasons, there no doubt that all of the questions lingering around
this game are due to Hamels and his continued struggle to recapture
his mechanics.

Hamels has given up at least two runs in every outing this season, with a couple of 4-run and a 6-run outing also, so his MVP-type
command is still AWOL. His .333 OBP after five starts is average due
mainly to his lousy 1.45 WHIP. However, in his two starts at Citizens
Bank Park his OBP drops to a solid .263 due to better command on his
home rubber (1.02 WHIP).

In six career starts against the Cards, Hamels is 2-2 with respectable 1.204 WHIP, .279 OBP and a sub-700 OPS (.694). Although a
few of the Cards right-handed hitters have had a lot of success, guys
like Ryan Ludwick (4-for-8, 2 HR) and Joe Mather (1-for-3, HR) and
not the guy named Pujols (just 3-for-13 with a low .753 OPS for

As mentioned, Wainwright has become as solid a chalk starter as it
gets these days. At 4-1 with a .264 on-base percentage and a stellar
0.89 WHIP, the righty just pounds the strike zone and has one of the
best curveballs in the game as his primary out pitch. Wainwright
has also allowed two runs per game in most of his five starts this
year, however unlike Hamels, hes ONLY allowed two runs in most of
them and has averaged 7.2 innings per start while doing it.

The interesting sub-plot to the game is that Wainwright has had some
issues with the Phillies in the past. He is 2-1 in four starts, but
his 1.345 WHIP, .339 OBP and .722 OPS are all really high for what
weve come to expect from the Cards co-ace.

Also surprising is the fact that those career numbers are mostly at
home, since hes a perfect 1-0 at Citizens Bank Park in what was
complete mastery (7 IP, 6 H, 0 R in 10-2 win). Shane Victorino (4-
for-10, HR) and Jayson Werth (1-for-5, HR) have gotten to Wainwright
at Busch Stadium before, so well see if they can translate that
success at home in the Bank tonight.

The under has been a strong play in Philly when these two teams hook-
up, going 5-2 in the last seven meetings at the Bank. The under is
also 8-2-3 with home plate umpire Adrian Johnson behind the dish in
the last 13 Cards and Phillies games combined, so he seems to be
pitcher friendly as well.

Badgers Pick: Im all over a solid price on Wainwright tonight, because at -120 hes as good a chalk as they come. Ill let you
decide if you want the 5-inning bet, or the full game bet on St.
Louis. Im also hedging a little and taking the under, as I think
Hamels is much better at home and Im looking at a 3-2 or 3-1
ballgame tonight.