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Friday’s Free Sports Pick from Oskeim Sports – June 7, 2013

Philadelphia Phillies (-146) over Milwaukee Brewers

Analysis: Philadelphia southpaw Cliff Lee remains one of baseball’s elite pitchers as he is 7-2 with a 2.45 ERA and 0.96 WHIP this season. Moreover, Lee is 5-1 with a 1.53 ERA and 0.77 WHIP on the road, 5-2 with a 2.43 ERA and 0.88 WHIP at night and 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA and 0.64 WHIP over his last three outings.  Lee should once again excel against a scuffling Milwaukee offense that is averaging just 3.9 runs per game in 2013 (.305 OBP), including 3.5 runs per game versus left-handed starters (.295 OBP) and 3.6 runs over the last seven games (.300 OBP).

I find it mind-boggling that no one is talking about the Phillies despite the fact that they have won five straight games over which time they have compiled 32 runs.  “We’re happy that some hard work is starting to pay off,” said Michael Young.  “We’re starting to see it in the standings.”  In contrast, Milwaukee has fallen a season-worst fifteen games below .500 and now send 28-year-old Alfredo Figaro to the mound.  For those of you who are not familiar with Figaro, he spent the last two seasons in the Japanese Pacific League with the Orix Buffaloes where he was 8-11 with a 3.31 ERA in 35 games (31 starts).  Prior to landing in Japan, Figaro appeared in fourteen Major League games with Detroit (2009-2010), including two starts, where he garnered a 6.54 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 18 walks in 31.7 innings pitched.

Desperate times call for desperate measures as Milwaukee had very few options to replace Mike Fiers in the rotation.  And, the Brewers’ desperation is best epitomized by manager Ron Roenicke, who recently addressed the decision to replace Fiers with Figaro in the rotation. “Nobody in Triple-A is lighting it up to where we’re saying, ‘Let’s bring him up,.”  Sad.  From a technical standpoint, Milwaukee is a money-burning 11-23 (-13.0 units) versus teams with a winning record, 2-15 (-14.8 units) versus starting pitchers with elite control, 8-25 (-14.0 units) as underdogs of +175 or less, 5-20 (-17.5 units) versus left-handed starters and 11-25 (-15.4 units) following a loss.  With Philadelphia averaging 5.7 runs over its last seven games, take the Phillies and invest with confidence.

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