The Philadelphia Phillies got out of Thursday afternoon with a big 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’ll take a split in the four-game series and move on to the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend. The Phillies have dug a hole for themselves, so they can’t get too excited. Washington have bypassed them to go into Friday 3rd in the NL East.
Erasing this deficit is possible, but naturally won’t be easy. The Phillies are in a crowded field vying for two wildcards. If Bryce Harper wants to stop hearing people calling him a bust, the Phillies are going to have to get one of them and go deep in the postseason. Ideally, he has a walk-off somewhere in there.
Harper helped aide the Phillies’ comeback against the Dodgers yesterday. The Phillies were down by 5-3 going into the bottom of the 7th before the Phillies tacked on 4 runs to take the lead. That’s good and all for the Phils. My problem with them is that their offense produces in waves, and it often doesn’t come enough.
In any event, the Phillies have been playing much more clutch recently. Especially Bryce Harper, who was responsible for a walk-off win against the Dodgers on Tuesday. Then there was the bad, though, losses of 7-2 and 16-2 in the same series. They face a Pittsburgh team who have been stuck in a slump over the last week.
The Bucs are 1-5 in their previous six games, but are still alive and well in the terrible NL Central. They finished off June nicely with a record of 10-3 to help get them in the mix. It really doesn’t take much in this division. The Pirates are 45-50 and 6.5 games back of 1st. That seems like a lot, but not when you’re a team with a record five games below .500. It still gives them a puncher’s chance. Jordan Lyles, who has been struggling terribly recently, will get the start against Jake Arrieta. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Pirates pick.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick:
Betting odds provided by bovada.lv
The Phillies would appreciate a jolt from Jake Arrieta down the stretch. Bryce Harper, of course, is going to get all of the attention with his contract. However, Arrieta should be getting some blame here, too. He isn’t pitching for cheap. Arrieta has a pretty expensive price tag that comes along with him, but he’s pitching like an average pitcher. Much like Harper is hitting like an average hitter, Arrieta has fallen into the same lull.
Arrieta enters Friday with a 4.54 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. In his last three outings, he’s posted an ERA of 5.87, 1.70 WHIP, and .411 OBA. As a pitcher on the road, he has also struggled with a 4.81 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. Arrieta has regressed ever since his 1.77 ERA from 2015, but this is the first year that he is on pace to finish with an ERA above 4.00. Not good from a guy that the Phillies have needed to perform in 2019. Arrieta looked sharp in his most recent outing, but allowed at least 4 runs in his previous three games leading up to that start.
He’s been much better than Jordan Lyles, though, I will give him that much. Lyles was tagged for an ERA of 14.34 with a 2.44 WHIP and .458 OBA in his last three starts. In his previous 4.2 innings pitched, Lyles has gotten hammered for a whopping 14 earned runs. The last time he’s allowed less than 3 runs was way back on May 17th against the Rockies.
That’s seven straight games with average to awful performances. The Phillies are hitting .345 with a .418 OBP and 21 runs scored against Lyles in 87 at-bats. It doesn’t help that the bullpen is 23rd in the majors with an ERA of 5.00. Conversely, the Phillies are 19th with a 4.76 ERA from their relievers. Expect plenty of runs in this matchup in a game that goes OVER the total.