Hump Day Games of Importance in NL

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Hump Day Games of Importance in NL


Philadelphia's been stumbling around a bit and has the New York Mets and Florida breathing down their necks. They would like to believe they helped take care of a portion of this conundrum last night with remarkable six-run ninth inning to stun the Mets 8-6, after having started the top of the frame with a 5-2 deficit. This gave the Phillies sole possession of first place in the NL East, as they prepare for Game 2 of the series.

The Mets wasted another Johan Santana performance, as he allowed just two runs over eight innings and the bullpen without Billy Wagner collapsed. This is just the latest chapter in New York's inability to close out opponent, now down to 63.2 percent save percentage, with blown save number 14. John Maine (8-7, 4.22, 1.354 WHIP) will be called upon to set the Mets back on winning ways, having lost three of four. Maine has been effective against Philly, with a 4-0 record and 2.36 ERA in his career and his teammates have won seven of his eight starts against them.

Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84, 1.564 WHIP) will make his first start since June 27, trying to kick start a languishing career at this juncture. He's spent the last three weeks in the minor leagues, and despite going 1-3, he struck out 28 in 27 innings and finished with a 3.00 ERA. Myers is relishing the opportunity to come back against the Mets. "I can't think of a better team for me to come back against," Myers told the Phillies' official Web site. "I don't like them. We're not supposed to like them. Nothing against the guys on the team—they're our rivals." The right-hander is 5-1 with a 4.83 ERA in nine career starts at Shea Stadium. It has not been a bimillenary since Myers last won on the road; it just seems like it with 0-6 record and gargantuan 8.18 ERA. is showing the Mets as -129 money line favorites, with total Un9. The Phillies are one of three teams in baseball with a winning road record at 27-23 (+2.8 units) and are 16-5 off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog over the last two seasons. New York will try to ride the Maine Express, as he and his teammates are 37-15 when the total is 8.5 to 10 over the last three years.

First pitch is set for 7:10 Eastern in ESPN.

Out West, the Chicago Cubs lead has been cut to a single game in the NL Central, having lost four out of five on current road trip. Take away Sunday's 9-0 win at Houston and the Cubs the offense is colder than an upper deck third base line seat in April at Wrigley Field with the wind howling off Lake Michigan. In Chicago's last six losses, they have generated a total of six runs. Manager Lou Pinella even tried to shake things up yesterday, canceling batting practice for games two and three of this series, stating "I'm tired of watching all the balls go flying over the fence and nothing during the games." No magic was forthcoming yesterday, as the chilly Cub bats scored a mere two runs on seven hits and five walks.

Arizona after losing two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, is starting to regain confidence with two impressive wins over Chicago. The D-Backs are 8-1 at Chase Field against the Cubs the last few years, including a pair in the postseason last fall. Doug Davis (3-4, 4.13, 1.527) gets the call as the Snakes go for the series sweep. The team from the Windy City is a -114 road choice with total at 9. Davis and Arizona are 14-5 against the money line at home when the money line is +125 to -125 over the last two campaigns.

Ted Lilly (9-6, 4.49, 1.332) will attempt to turnaround his club's fortunes. There is an angle for every sort of Cubs fan or backer this evening. For the optimist who can't see the North Siders losing three straight, the Cubs are 15-3 after scoring three runs or less two straight games this season. For the pessimist who owns the t-shirt explaining the 99 years of frustration, Chicago is 8-24 after batting .240 or worse over a 10-game span since 2006.

This contest starts at 9:40 Eastern and is available in local markets.

StatFox Power Line Mets-127, Cubs -109

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