The battle for Pennsylvania bragging rights on Friday night sees two teams going in opposite directions. The Philadelphia Phillies have won four straight and are closing in on first in the NL East. The Pittsburgh Pirates have dropped three in a row and sinking in the NL Central. However, Pittsburgh opened as a slight MLB Lines favorite on the Mybookie Sportsbook, so let’s see if they can win another one.
MLB Lines & Expert Pick: Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) 5 de julio de 2018
- When: Friday, 7:05 PM ET
- Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
- Probable Pitchers: Nick Pivetta/Trevor Williams
- TV: MLB Network
- Stream: MLB.tv
- Radio: TuneIn
- MLB Lines: Pittsburgh Pirates +100 / Philadelphia Phillies -120 (Over/Under at 8.5)
The Phillies swept four at home vs. the Pirates from April 19-22, winning the last game 3-2 in 11 innings on Aaron Altherr’s RBI single. Andrew Knapp hit an opposite-field triple off the left-field wall with one out off Rich Rodriguez. With the infield in, Altherr pulled a 1-2 pitch to left. Philadelphia had not swept a four-game series from the Pirates since May 12-15, 1994.
Why Bet on Philadelphia?
The Phils enter having won four straight and six of seven. They swept a two-game series against awful Baltimore to start this week. They have six series sweeps already, matching their total from 2017. The last time they had more than six in an entire season was in 2012 (7). And 2009 was the last time they had six before the All-Star break (7).
Victor Arano notched his first major league saves by recording six outs Wednesday against the Orioles. Arano struck out three over his two innings of work and retired six out of the seven batters he faced. Seranthony Dominguez was unavailable after throwing 27 pitches for his eighth save on Tuesday, but it’s possible Arano could be given the chance again. The 23-year-old has an impressive 2.32 ERA and 33/9 K/BB ratio over 31 innings.
One negative right now for the Phillies is struggling outfielder Odubel Herrera. He was hitless in four at-bats Wednesday. Herrera homered in five straight games last month, but he has just four hits in his last 46 at-bats over his last 11 games. His batting average was at .308 on June 22, but he’s now all the way down to .276. That’s the lowest he’s been since the first week of the season.
It’s Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.66) on the bump. Pivetta picked up an unexpected win in relief Sunday against Washington, pitching a scoreless 13th inning, walking one and striking out one. Pivetta was the starter the Phillies turned to after they used eight pitchers to get through the game’s first 12 innings. He got the job done against the heart of the Nationals’ order, allowing just a walk to Anthony Rendon.
Pivetta scuffled against the Nats in his last start: 1 2/3 IP, seven runs allowed on seven hits and three home runs. He took a no-decision vs. Pittsburgh on April 22. Pivetta gave up two runs and five hits, striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings. In the bottom of the fifth, Pivetta helped himself. He lined a run-scoring double down the right-field line — his first career extra-base hit.
Why Bet on Pittsburgh?
The Pirates were swept three at the Dodgers, all by multiple runs, to open this week. The Bucs have gone 14-29 in their last 43 games since their record was a season-high nine games over .500 on 5/17 (26-17).
Beginning Friday the Pirates are scheduled to play 11 games in the 10 days leading up to the All-Star break. Dating back to June 15, the Bucs have gone 7-11 thus far in a stretch that has them scheduled to play 29 games in 31 days (20 at home and nine on the road).
The team is without starting catcher Francisco Cervelli (concussion), but he was to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday night with Double-A Altoona. This should put him on track to return to the Pirates’ active roster by early next week. Cervelli has been on the concussion disabled list since June 21. The 32-year-old catcher holds an impressive .876 OPS with nine home runs and 36 RBI in 55 games.
The Pittsburgh catchers (Cervelli, Elias Díaz, and Jacob Stallings) have combined to produce the best on-base percentage (.378) and the best batting average (.280) among all catching units in the major leagues this season. In addition, their 56 combined RBI and 15 home runs from the catching position are tops among National League teams and are second behind the Yankees (60 & 19) in MLB.
It’s Trevor Williams (6-6, 4.22) on the mound. Williams allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out four across 4.2 innings to take the loss Saturday against the Padres. Williams ran into most of his trouble when facing Wil Myers, who drove in three of the Padres’ four runs.
After a hot start to the season, Williams has now allowed at least four earned runs in six of his past 10 starts. He pitched well against the Phillies in April, allowing two runs on one hit and five walks while striking out seven over six innings.
Latest MLB Betting Trends
- Phillies are 4-0 in their last 4 games following an off day
- Phillies are 4-1 in Pivetta’s last 5 starts vs. National League Central
- Pirates are 2-9 in their last 11 vs. National League East
- Pirates are 0-4 in their last 4 home games vs. a right-handed starter
- Philadelphia is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games
- Philadelphia is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Philadelphia’s last 9 games
- Pittsburgh is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games
- Pittsburgh is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Pittsburgh’s last 6 games
I don’t understand this line at all – jump on the Phillies while they are still underdogs.