Jake Arrieta (1-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. Kyle Hart (0-1, 22.50 ERA)
The Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox will dance again on Wednesday following a 13-6 game last night. The Phillies got to .500 on the season with their ninth win yesterday. Bryce Harper came to play, as he went 3-for-5 and 3 RBI.
He sent a deep ball over the fence for his fifth home run of the year. People have complained about Harper’s contact numbers, but that has been up considerably. He has a .376 average with a .486 OBP in 60 at-bats. The Harper critics can’t say anything about that.
The problem I’ve had with Harper is that he often tries to kill every ball. That hasn’t been the case this season, though. He’s taking what the pitcher gives him. As a result, he’s a much more dangerous hitter in 2020 than he was a season ago.
Forget the power numbers. That will come if Bryce is patient and waiting on better pitches. Unfortunately for the Phillies, the wins haven’t been coming despite him seeing the ball well. The Phillies are a 9-9 ballclub going into today.
That puts them only 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, so that’s the good news. No one has really taken off in the NL East. Things are wide open in the division. The Phillies are far from out of the equation, and are probably the most likely team in the NL East to suddenly get red-hot.
The Phillies are one of those teams who can go really cold or really hot, sort of like Bryce’s bat. Like I said, though, if Bryce can continue to just be patient, then consistency is going to follow.
The Phillies’ pitching staff has to find some consistency. That is going to be incredibly important for the Phillies. That includes getting Jake Arrieta on track this season. The former ace and Cy Young winner looks tired out there.
The 34-year-old might have to accept that his career is going to an end in the next two or three years. This shortened season is incredibly important after Arrieta had one of his worst seasons in the majors in 2019.
Since winning the NL Cy Young in 2015, Arrieta has been trending down. Arrieta is scheduled to get the nod on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway. The Red Sox will give Kyle Hart another chance after getting pummeled in his first start. Head below for our free Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox pick for August 19, 2020.
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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Boston Red Sox Prediction:
Kyle Hart waited a long time to get the call up to the major leagues. The butterflies must have been flying around for Hart against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays stomped on Hart to score 7 runs in 2.2 innings. Hart left the game after 2.2 innings of action with an ERA of 22.50 and 5.00 WHIP.
His command clearly wasn’t present, and the Rays were able to take full advantage of Hart. The Red Sox might as well empty out their minor league system and see what they have in this meaningless season to them. Nathan Eovaldi is their No. 1 pitcher, so I’d say that they can afford to try out some other option. This is a time to evaluate some of the guys that otherwise wouldn’t have a chance.
Hart recorded an ERA of 3.86 and 1.26 WHIP in Pawtucket last season. In four minor league campaigns, Hart has a cumulative ERA of 3.13 and 1.22 WHIP. That’s certainly enough to give Hart an opportunity in the major leagues. However, his first chance didn’t go well, and Hart faces an even tougher lineup on Wednesday against the Phillies. He can’t pitch much worse than how he did versus the Rays, but the Phillies are going to be a tough out for Hart.
The current Red Sox lineup isn’t as dangerous as it was before, but they’ve had some success versus Arrieta. The Red Sox are hitting .303 with a .345 OBP against Arrieta in 66 at-bats. Arrieta has a 4.02 ERA and 1.21 WHIP after getting pushed around against the Orioles. He gave up 7 hits and 4 earned runs through 4.2 innings. Arrieta was sharp against the Braves, but no command against the Yankees or O’s. He’s likely going to be fortunate for plenty or run support on Wednesday. I’d look at the over this afternoon at Fenway Park.