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Kyle Hunter Free MLB Pick for 5/17

Philadelphia Phillies (25-15) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (23-19) Betting Odds from Sportsbook.com

Moneyline: Cardinals (-150) Phillies (+130)

Total: 7

Starting Pitchers: Phillies (Oswalt) vs. Cardinals (Garcia)

The Cardinals took game one of this quick two-game series last night by beating Cliff Lee. Roy Oswalt hasn’t pitched since April 26, but he is expected to start tonight for the Phillies. The Cardinals counter with Jaime Garcia, who I believe is one of the more underrated pitchers in all of baseball.

Philadelphia’s offense is in the middle of all of the major offensive rankings. Right now they are short-handed offensively as Shane Victorino, who is a catalyst at the top of the order, is out with a hamstring injury. Chase Utley is still on the disabled list as well and there is currently no timetable on his return. The Phillies still have Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard in the lineup, so it is not as if they are without any offensive weapons. Not surprisingly, the Phillies top all of baseball with 28 quality starts from their terrific starting rotation so far in 2011.

The St. Louis Cardinals were swept away by the Cincinnati Reds this past weekend, but they bounced back nicely last night. Tony LaRussa is back with the team, and that has to give them a nice boost of energy. Albert Pujols is having a subpar season thus far, but I wouldn’t count on that continuing all year long. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman have been on fire all year long. Berkman has 34 RBI’s and Holliday has 28 RBI’s this year. The Cardinals lead the majors in team batting average at .284. Colby Rasmus has been a nice surprise offensively as well. Jaime Garcia has easily been the best pitcher on this staff in 2011. Garcia has a 1.89 ERA and he is 5-0 so far this year.

Phillies vs. Cardinals Free Pick

Play on Cardinals ML (-150)

Roy Oswalt is expected to be on a pitch count of about 70 to 75 pitches. Oswalt says he doesn’t know what to expect, and he doesn’t seem to be completely healthy. The Cardinals have a significant pitching advantage here and they also have the stronger lineup. I’ll take the Cardinals moneyline in this one.

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