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Cliff Lee Goes After 10th Win of the Season


Although the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres both own mediocre records, their showdown tonight at Petco Park should delight fans and interest bettors as Cliff Lee takes the mound against the up-and-coming Eric Stults.

Lee (9-2, 2.53 ERA) will be going for his eighth consecutive victory and his 10th overall, while Stults (6-5, 3.25 ERA) – who has performed well above expectations in just his second season – will look to continue his good fortune in the friendly confines of one of the league’s best pitcher’s parks.

Obviously, Lee getting the ball is good news for the Phils, but going up against Stults at Petco will be a major challenge for a team that’s having trouble getting runs across lately – and actually in general, as Philly is ranked 25th in the MLB in runs scored.

The Padres aren’t necessarily a force to be reckoned with at the dish either – ranking 16th in runs and 19th in batting average – but they’ve experienced a notable and noticeable improvement over the last couple of months in the batter’s box, which has placed them within striking distance of the top spot in the NL West.

To get to the top, the Padres will eventually have to earn wins against hurlers of Lee’s caliber. Although Lee has been flat out dominant over his last nine starts with an ERA of 1.97 and 64 punch-outs, a good sign for the Padres coming into this match-up is that they’ve had success in the past against the potent left-hander. In five career starts against San Diego, Lee is just 1-2 with a 4.99 ERA, so if San Diego can recall how it hit Lee in previous meetings, then it could be a fun night on the West coast for Padres fans.

However, it’s not too surprising that the Phillies reside on the favorite side of the runline tonight, considering Lee’s overall numbers this season. He’s been nearly unhittable all year long and for that, the Phillies are getting -1.5 runs, even on the road in this one.

Of course, it’s hard to cover 1.5 runs when you can’t score and against Stults, the Phillies will likely continue to struggle on offense. When looking at the numbers, there’s no question that we should have an entertaining pitcher’s duel on our hands and a very close game to boot. So, that’s why I like the Padres to at least cover +1.5 tonight and I wouldn’t be surprised if they squeak out a 3-2, 2-1 or 1-0 win against the anemic Phils lineup.

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