Phillies Look to Garcia

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired right-hander Freddy Garcia during the offseason to help them avoid stretches like the one they're in now.

Off to their worst start in 10 years and yet to win two in a row, the Phillies look for a strong performance out of Garcia as he gets set for his season debut Monday in a matchup with the NL East rival New York Mets.

 

Oddsmakers have made New York -1.5 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 78% of bets for this game have been placed on New York -1.5 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Garcia started the season on the 15-day disabled list with right biceps tendinitis, and his first game in a Phillies uniform could be delayed yet again. With the East Coast getting hit by a strong storm that has brought rain and high winds, both clubs could have games postponed for the second consecutive day.

If the teams are able to play, the Phillies hope Garcia can help them start a turnaround. Obtained in a December trade with the Chicago White Sox, Garcia went 17-9 with a 4.53 ERA in 2006.

"More than likely," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told the team's official Web site about whether Garcia would start Monday. "We got to get him out there."

The big right-hander helped pitch Chicago to its first World Series title in 88 years in 2005, and has won at least 12 games in seven of his eight seasons.

Philadelphia (3-8) defeated Houston 8-5 on Saturday before Sunday's three-game series finale was rained out. The Phillies, opening a two-game set with the Mets, are 3-8 for the first time since 1997, when they finished 68-94 and tied for the worst record in the NL.

Poor starting pitching has been a major culprit in Philadelphia's struggles. The starters have surrendered at least five runs five times, with the Phillies going 1-4 in those games. The rotation has an ERA of 5.94.

Garcia will be making just his second career start against the Mets, but dominated them in the first outing June 8, 2003. He threw six-hitter and struck out seven in a 13-1 win for Seattle.

New York (7-4) will try to solve Garcia this time after taking two of three from Philadelphia at Shea Stadium last week. One of those victories came last Monday, when Carlos Delgado went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in an 11-5 victory in the Mets' home opener.

John Maine (1-0, 1.54 ERA), though, struggled in that contest for the Mets, walking a career-high six and giving up two runs and five hits before exiting after 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander will try to rebound from that start after his scheduled outing Sunday against Washington was postponed.

``This rain's supposed to last for a few days,'' Maine said. ``So who knows what's going to happen.''

The Mets could use a solid outing from Maine after losing 6-2 to Washington on Saturday, as Orlando Hernandez gave up three home runs before being ejected for a beanball in the sixth.

David Wright went 2-for-4 to become the first player in franchise history to get a hit in the first 11 games of a season. The third baseman is on a career-high 23-game hitting streak - one shy of the club record set by Mike Piazza (1999) and Hubie Brooks (1984).

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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