The race to the playoffs is all but over in the American League but the National League promises to excite right up the final day of the season.
Time for the Phillies to strike Philadelphia enters the weekend holding a slim one game lead at the top of the NL East. Having stayed close to Atlanta in recent months, the Phillies finally pounced in the last few weeks to move to the top of the division and now hold the best record in the National League. It’s insanely close at the top and Philadelphia has no margin for error. Cincinnati, San Diego, San Francisco, and possibly even St. Louis and Colorado, could have an impact on whether the Phillies make the post-season. With so many factors beyond their control, the Phillies need to focus on their own game and keep on winning.
With Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt both set to start this weekend against the Mets, the Phillies are well-placed to maintain their lead. MLB betting fans should back both Halladay and Oswalt to win their starts. Philadelphia has yet to name its starter for Saturday’s game but Mike Pelfrey of the Mets has a poor record against the Phillies. The sweep could be on. Bet on Philadelphia to have a big weekend in the Big Apple.
The NL West gets wilder San Diego stopped its spectacular slide just in time to keep a two game lead entering this weekend’s series with the Giants. San Francisco has been biting at the heels of the Padres all year but has blown previous opportunities to take control of the NL West. This four game series in Petco Park will only add to the drama.
The Giants cut San Diego’s lead to one game in Thursday’s opening game of the series. I like the Padres to restore their two game advantage on Friday, with the consistent Clayton Richard on the mound. Madison Bumgarner should hit back for San Francisco in his start on Saturday and I like a resurgent Tim Lincecum to beat Mat Latos on Sunday. If San Francisco wins two of the remaining three games this weekend then there will be a tie at the top of the NL West.
This division isn’t just a two horse race. Colorado is surging and the Rockies could gain ground on both the Padres and Giants with a good showing this weekend. Colorado plays host to the Diamondbacks and looks in good shape for the sweep. Jhoulys Chacin, Jorge De La Rosa, and Ubaldo Jimenez have all played well in recent outings and should deliver this weekend.