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After an unusual ending for the second consecutive game on Sunday, the World Series is tied at 2-2 with the Cardinals playing their final home contest in Monday's Game 5 versus the Red Sox.

After an obstruction call ended Game 3 and gave the Cardinals victory, Game 4 also ended in atypical fashion as Boston closer Koji Uehara picked off St. Louis pinch-runner Kolten Wong at first base to seal the 4-2 victory. LF Jonny Gomes was the key bat for the Red Sox in the win, hitting a three-run homer that would prove to be the deciding factor. Gomes was not originally in Sunday's starting lineup, but took the place of Shane Victorino who was scratched because of tightness in his back. Victorino is considered questionable for Monday. The Red Sox enter Game 5 as slight underdogs with Jon Lester (18-9, 3.52 ERA) taking the mound for the second time this series. In Game 1, he pitched 7.2 scoreless innings as the Red Sox cruised to an 8-1 victory. Hell face the same counterpart he did in that contest in St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright (21-11, 2.87 ERA), who had unusual struggles in that game. With a shaky defense behind him, he gave up five runs (three earned) in only five innings, well below his 7.1 innings-per-start average this season. The Cardinals will need him to pitch more like he has in his career during the playoffs, with a 2.37 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 17 career outings. Defending home field is huge for the Cardinals in this one with a 60-29 record (.674) at Busch Stadium before the series will conclude at Fenway Park. The Red Sox, after Sundays win, are an outstanding 48-40 on the road (.545, second-best in majors).

Lester (1.27 WHIP) was fantastic in Game 1, striking out eight Cardinals and walking only one while giving up five hits in his 7.2 scoreless frames. That just builds on an already tremendous postseason during which he is 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in four starts. Overall he has a 2.22 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 12 career postseason appearances. Lester will benefit from having a much better defensive catcher behind the plate in David Ross for Game 5 as opposed to Jarrod Saltalmacchia whose defensive shortcoming loomed large in both Red Sox losses this series. Lester could also be getting a big break with Cardinals slugger Allen Craig questionable to play because of his lingering foot injury. Craig barely made it to first base as a pinch-hitter in Game 4 when his hit reached the right-field wall. His unavailability would only hurt a St. Louis team that is 22-26 this season against lefty starters even more. If the Cardinals have one advantage, it could be Lesters middling splits on the road this year, where he has a 4.18 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. If the lefty does struggle, hes fortunate to have the Boston bullpen behind him that has an absurdly good 1.38 ERA and 1.14 WHIP while limiting opponents to a .221 BA this postseason. Part of that has been manager John Farrells willingness to use everybody, with starters Felix Doubront and John Lackey throwing a combined 3.2 scoreless innings of relief on Sunday night.

Wainwright (1.05 WHIP) has generally been brilliant this season, leading his team to a 25-13 record (.658), which includes a 2.25 ERA and 0.89 WHIP this postseason. He certainly wasn't sharp in Game 1, though he wasnt helped that the St. Louis defense committed multiple errors behind him. The guy to register the biggest hit off him was 1B Mike Napoli, who nailed a three-run triple in the first inning, but he will not start with normal DH David Ortiz shifting over to first base in the National League park. And of the four Red Sox hitters that Wainwright has faced at least five times in his career (OF Shane Victorino, SS Stephen Drew, OF Jonny Gomes and C David Ross), the foursome is a combined 13-for-72 (.181 BA) with 17 K's, but three of those players have homered off the right-hander. Ortiz has been absolutely huge in the World Series, going 3-for-3 with two runs on Sunday and improving his batting average to .727 (8-for-11) in the series with two homers, 5 RBI and five runs. Wainwright will be happy to pitch at home in this one though, where he had a 2.36 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 19 starts during which the Cardinals went 13-6. Though Wainwright typically doesnt need it as much as he did during his last start, the St. Louis bullpen has been reliable all season with a 3.35 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. Theyve been way better than that this postseason with a 2.30 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and .186 opponents' BA over 43 innings.

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Slump-busters needed for Phillies and Braves

An old baseball mythical term which has been around for decades finds a couple of National League teams in need of its magic. The bingo online apuestas futbol Philadelphia Phillies were just swept at Houston and Atlanta has lost five in a row. As opposed to other teams with losing streaks at present, both these teams are changing opponents, which might be enough to end this dismal spell. However, in other instances, “slump-busters” might include changing batting order, burning bats, wearing hats differently in the dugout or a few other more crude elements that can’t be mentioned here. Can both teams get it going Tuesday on the road? Be sure to visit the LIVE ODDS, BETTING TRENDS, and TEAM STATISTICS pages to help find that answer.

Philadelphia at Washington

The Phillies (77-58, +3.3 units) suffered a lost holiday weekend in Houston in being swept by the Astros in a four game series for the first time in a decade. Philadelphia bats have taken a leave of absence, as Philly as scored almost 1.9 runs per game in last nine tries and hasn’t scored more than four runs in a single game since August 24, covering 13 ballgames. Only twice in their last 13 tries have they managed to get to double digit hits.

The Phillies will open up three games series in Washington (47-90, -32.4 units) and the Nationals have often been the perfect elixir for what ails any team. Washington would have a nine game losing streak except for scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to come from behind and surprise Florida 5-4 on Sunday. The Nationals are 15-42 having lost two of their last three games and are woebegone 2-14 with a day off this season.

Philadelphia will face John Lannon (8-10, 4.09 ERA) who is 0-5 with a 5.89 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies. Ryan Howard and struggling teammates are 27-15 versus left-handed pitchers, scoring 5.3 runs per game in 2009. has the Phils as -140 money line favorites behind Pedro Martinez (3-0, 3.52), with a total at Un9. Lannon and the Nats are 12-29 in night games, while the Phillies are 12-4 with an on-base percentage of .300 or worse over their last 15 games this season.

Atlanta at Houston

The Braves (70-67, -12.9 units) have played themselves out of wild card contention by losing five straight, the last three at home to Cincinnati scoring four runs against a Reds pitching staff ranked middle of the road at eighth in the National League in runs allowed. Atlanta travels to take on a hot Houston (67-70, +2.4 units) club, who just wiped out Philadelphia four in a row. Atlanta has touched home plate 14 times in last five contests (2.8 RPG), while hitting well below the Mendoza-line as a team with a .185 batting average.

We picked a real bad time to all not hit,” Chipper Jones told the Braves official Web site. “It just doesn’t seem like anybody is swinging the bat real well.” Jones is a big part of the offensive misdeeds, batting .121 in his last 20 games.

A change of venue could ignite Atlanta who lost 4-2 Sunday and they are 12-5 in road games after a loss by two runs or less this season. They will turn to Javier Vazquez (11-9, 3.18) who is 22-7 vs. teams averaging 2.75 or less extra base hits per game over the last two seasons. (Team's Record) The Braves are -140 money line favorites with total at Un8.5.

Houston will try to extend their winning streak to five coming off of three consecutive one-run wins over Philadelphia. Felipe Paulino (2-7, 6.62) will be given the pill, attempting to hold the slumping Braves bats in check and Houston is 20-9 at Minute Maid Park in the second half of the season.
StatFox Power Line – Philadelphia -103, Atlanta -187