Sloppy End to a Streak

The Philadelphia Phillies might need Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup more than they expected.

After seeing their impressive winning streak over the New York Mets come to an end in a sloppy performance without their star shortstop and leadoff hitter, the Phillies look to re-establish their dominance over the NL East rivals on Thursday night.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made New York -156 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 65% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -156 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Phillies (4-5) opened their three-game series against the Mets (3-4) with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday, spoiling New York's final home opener at Shea Stadium and beating the Mets for a ninth consecutive time - including seven straight at Shea.

The winning streak was a major part of Philadelphia overtaking the fading Mets atop the NL East on the last day of the 2007 regular season.

Rollins went 2-for-5 with an RBI on Tuesday before tweaking his right ankle in the eighth inning while scrambling back to second base on a pickoff attempt. X-rays were negative, but the injury still forced the reigning NL MVP to sit out Wednesday's contest, ending his run of 230 consecutive games and moving Eric Bruntlett into the lineup at short.

Bruntlett, though, booted two grounders in a six-run third inning as the Phillies matched a season high with four errors in an 8-2 loss, ending their streaks against the Mets.

"It's the first start. That's not how you want it to go, that's for sure," said Bruntlett, who also went 1-for-4 at the plate.

Rollins might be back Thursday, looking to build on his outstanding production against the Mets. He has more homers (20) and RBIs (67) against New York than any other team, and is hitting .364 (16-for-44) with three homers, 11 RBIs and six stolen bases in his last nine games at Shea.

Adam Eaton (0-0, 3.52 ERA) looks to build on a strong season debut. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in 7 2-3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of a 4-3 loss at Cincinnati on Saturday.

"You want to give your team a chance to win and I was able to do that," Eaton told the Phillies' official Web site. "It was a good start, but at the same time, it wasn't good enough."

Eaton is 5-0 with a 2.68 ERA in seven starts against the Mets, including four road wins in five games.

The Mets hope John Maine (0-1, 9.00) can help them win consecutive home games against Philadelphia for the first time since Aug. 26-28, 2006. New York last took a home series from the Phillies by winning two of three contests from April 9-12, 2007.

The right-hander, though, was ineffective in his season debut, allowing four runs and eight hits, while waking three and striking out five in four innings of an 11-5 loss at Atlanta on Saturday.

"I thought he was overthrowing a little bit," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He was up in the zone most of the day."

Maine hopes a meeting with Philadelphia can help him get his first win. He's 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six starts against the Phillies, limiting them to a .220 batting average.

He's also had success against Rollins, who is just 3-for-18 (.167) lifetime against Maine.

The Mets are also hoping to overcome an injury to Luis Castillo, who sat out Wednesday's victory with a sore knee. The second baseman left Tuesday's home opener after the fourth inning and said he thought the cold weather probably contributed to the stiffness he felt in his knee.

Castillo was bothered by a knee injury last season, but feels he can overcome this quickly.

"I'm fine. A couple days, I'll be ready," he said. "I don't feel the pain like I did last year."

Castillo is off to a slow start, hitting 4-for-22 (.182) with one RBI and two runs. He batted .296 with 20 RBIs and 37 runs in 50 games with New York after being acquired in a trade from Minnesota in July.

Here are some top trends for tonight's matchup:

-NY METS are 8-17 (-19.0 Units) against the money line as a home favorite of -150 to -175 over the last 2 seasons.

-NY METS are 20-24 (-16.8 Units) against the money line in home games after a win over the last 2 seasons.

-PHILADELPHIA is 1-1 (+0.4 Units) against NY METS this season

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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