No consistency is sinking the Philadelphia Phillies’ season and there hasn’t been any sign of it coming soon. Their series against the Dodgers was a perfect snapshot of how their season has gone thus far. They took a split, with a couple of exciting wins while the other two were games were absolute duds. It’s been a group effort in that respect, with their effort at the plate and on the mound both inconsistent.
Bryce Harper is going to be the fall guy for obvious reasons given his contract, but everyone else is playing for a paycheck as well. Last night the pitching came up strong for the Phillies, but offensively they had to fight for every run. They fell behind early by a run and tied it up on a J.T. Realmuto RBI.
Offensively, everything might begin to pick up when Bryce Harper stops whiffing at the dish. He’s been a strikeout and inning killing machine. Despite playing a solid series against the Dodgers, he’s stunted plenty of innings because of his inability to come up with a clutch hit or at a minimum move runners over. As a point of reference, Harper had a strikeout rate of 18.7% in 2016 and is currently looking at a 26.2% in 2019. That’s a considerable increase.
With respects to their pitching, Jake Arrieta must carry his weight in the rotation. He had a nice night last night, but again, consistency has been difficult to find for him. Aaron Nola has been solid, though it’s hit and miss with the rest. That goes for the Phillies’ starting pitcher tonight, Zach Eflin, who has been a major liability for them recently.
He has been way off and was a punching bag for the Braves and Dodgers in his most recent outings. Trevor Williams of the Pirates has been feeling pressure lately as well. Eflin and Williams will look to sort it out against one another this evening. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Pirates pick.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates Pick:
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Struggling hasn’t been a constant for Zach Eflin this season. He was pitching quite well before heading into the end of June. Since an outing against the Mets, Eflin has struggled to get his arm under control. Leading up that game, he allowed 3 or less runs in five starts games and 2 or less in four out of five contests. In eight of nine games, Eflin allowed 3 or less runs, so this steep line of regression has been a disappointment for him. Despite hitting a wall of late, he still sports a decent ERA of 4.16. However, he’s watched as his impressive looking ERA of 2.81 on June 12th has gone all the way up to 4.16 going into Saturday.
The good news for Eflin here is that the Pirates haven’t recorded a hit against him in his career. The Pirates have gone 0-for-14 at the plate against Eflin, without even generating as much as a walk. Keep in mind that this is a small sample size, but it’s a good sign for a guy who is looking to shake off some frustrating outings recently. Conversely, the Phillies are hitting .286 with a .422 OBP against Williams in 35 at-bats.
That’s a lot of hitters who were able to reach base as well. They’ve also scored 7 runs against Williams in that time. Now, Williams has been getting tattooed just as much as Eflin recently. Williams has an 8.66 ERA and 1.92 WHIP in his previous three outings. He’s allowed at least 4 runs in each of his last four games, including at least 5 in three of the four. The Phillies may not be a consistent club, but this looks like a good value spot for them at even money on Saturday at PNC Park.
*Trevor Williams has been scratched with the flu. Joe Musgrove will have his start moved up.