Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#953 Philadelphia Phillies -110 vs.
#954 Pittsburgh Pirates 10
Friday, July 19, 2019 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala

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It’s the start of a series between the teams from the Keystone State on the diamond in the Steel City. The Philadelphia Phillies are on the road for the first game of a three-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates Friday night. Philadelphia closed out a four-game series at home against the Dodgers Thursday afternoon, earning a split with a 7-6 victory. Pittsburgh was upended 6-5 in the rubber game of their three-game road set against the Cardinals Wednesday afternoon. The Phillies took six of the seven meetings last season between the teams, including two of three here in the last series between the teams July 6-8, 2018.

Philadelphia Phillies Hoping to Stay Afloat Despite Injuries

Philadelphia managed to earn a split of their four-game series with the Dodgers as they rallied and then hung on to get the victory Thursday. The Phillies entered Thursday night third in the NL East, eight games behind the Braves: they were tied with the Brewers for the second wild card spot. Philadelphia got two hits from Bryce Harper (two runs, two RBI) and Jean Segura (run, RBI) in the contest. Aaron Nola didn’t factor in the decision as he allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts over five innings. Ranger Suarez (2-0) earned the win with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief: he allowed a hit with no walks and a strikeout. Hector Neris allowed a run on one hit with no walks and a strikeout in the ninth but recorded his 18th save.

Jake Arrieta is on the mound as he makes his 20th start of the season for the Phillies in this contest. He comes in 8-7 with a 4.54 ERA, a 1.451 WHIP, 42 walks and 87 strikeouts over 113 innings of work on the year. Arrieta didn’t factor in the decision in his last start, which came Sunday at home against the Nationals. He threw five innings, allowing a run on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in a 4-3 Philadelphia walk-off victory. Arrieta is 1-1 with a 5.87 ERA, a 1.70 WHIP, three walks and 12 strikeouts over 15.1 innings in his last three starts. He is 12-6 with a 2.99 ERA, a 0.973 WHIP, 35 walks and 132 strikeouts over 135.2 innings in 22 career starts against the Pirates. Arrieta is 5-4 with a 3.94 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, 16 walks and 59 strikeouts over 64 innings in 11 career starts at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh Pirates Slumping in Second Half

Pittsburgh dropped to 1-5 in the second half of the season as they were upended in the finale of their set with the Cardinals Wednesday afternoon. The Pirates entered Thursday fourth in the NL Central, 6.5 games behind the Cubs: they were four games behind the Brewers for the second wild card spot. Kevin Newman finished with three hits for Pittsburgh while Chris Archer (run, RBI) and Bryan Reynolds (three RBI) each added two. Archer didn’t factor in the decision as he allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Francisco Liriano (4-2) took the loss as he allowed two runs on one hit with a walk while getting only one out in relief.

Jordan Lyles is on the mound to log his 16th start of the season for the Pirates in this series opener. He comes in 5-6 with a 5.16 ERA, a 1.40 WHIP, 31 walks and 80 strikeouts over 75 innings of work this season. Lyles dropped to 0-5 in his last six starts as he took the loss Saturday on the road against the Cubs. He lasted only two-thirds of an inning, allowing seven runs on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts in a 10-4 Pirates defeat. Lyles is 0-3 with a 14.34 ERA, a 2.44 WHIP, seven walks and 14 strikeouts over 10.2 innings in his last three starts. He is 1-1 with one save, a 3.22 ERA, a 1.349 WHIP, 13 walks and 25 strikeouts over 36.1 innings of work in 10 career appearances, six starts, against the Phillies. Lyles is 2-6 with a 6.29 ERA, a 1.54 WHIP, 19 walks and 57 strikeouts over 63 innings in 14 career outings, 12 starts, at PNC Park.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The Pirates are stumbling out of the All-Star break and that could quickly make them sellers as the trade deadline approaches. Lyles is apparently available but he’s been tagged for 14 earned runs while recording 14 outs in his last two starts. Those numbers are hard to swallow for anyone looking for some stability, especially when you see that Lyles has a 10.27 ERA over 23.2 innings in his last six starts, jumping his ERA from 2.81 to the current 5.16 that he holds now. Arrieta was solid in his last outing against the Nationals as he pitches through bone spurs in his elbow. The Phillies are in the wild card picture and they get the upper hand in this one to take the opening game of the series.

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies +100

Full-Game Total Pick

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The Phillies had some offensive fireworks in their four-game set with Los Angeles even with losing two of the games. Philadelphia put up 20 runs in the four games while giving up 37 though 16 of those came in a 16-2 blowout loss to open the set. Pittsburgh has totaled only 18 runs in their first six games out of the All-Star break: they scored more than three runs just twice in the series. The Pirates were in the midst of the NL Central race a week ago: can they find a way to turn things around or will they be sellers at the deadline?

The under is 4-0 in the Phillies’ last 4 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30, 4-0 in their last 4 vs. National League Central teams and 4-1 in Arrieta’s last 5 starts vs. National League Central foes. Pittsburgh has seen the under go 3-0-1 in their last 4 games following an off day and 5-2-1 in their last 8 during game 1 of a series. With the way that the Pirates have struggled to score runs in the second half, it’s hard to have a lot of faith in their production. This one is under the number.

Prediction: Under 10

First Five Innings Side Pick

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Lyles has been a train wreck of late and it’s hard to have a ton of faith in him right now. He has given up as many earned runs (14) as he’s recorded outs in his last two starts. In his last outing, he couldn’t get out of the first inning as he was tagged for seven runs as the Cubs were patient, letting Lyles nibble (and miss) at the corners. Pittsburgh can’t afford to fall into holes and hope to dig out as there’s not enough proven commodities in the lineup. Philadelphia has the edge after five innings.

Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies

First Five Innings Total Bet

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While the Phillies were fairly effective offensively in their series against the Dodgers, they get to face a pitcher who couldn’t buy an out if he wanted to. The Pirates have been floundering of late and the suspect pitching in the rotation has gotten the best of them. Arrieta isn’t as good as he was in 2015-17 with the Cubs but he’s still effective enough to keep his team in the game. Lyles has to prove that he can right the ship after going 0-5 in his last six starts. This is over the number after five innings as the Phillies take advantage of the Pirates’ questionable arms.

Prediction: Over

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.