The Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates will continue their four-game series in Pittsburgh Friday night. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes our Phillies-Pirates prediction and pick we have laid out below.
Philadelphia has been much better since firing Joe Girardi, going 30-18 under interim manager Rob Thompson. That stretch has launched Philadelphia into playoff contention, holding on to the third and final Wild Card spot as August approaches.
Pittsburgh is in almost the complete opposite position. A 40-59 record, including 2-8 in their last 10, is inexplicably only the second-worst in the NL Central. Many Pirates may be playing in new uniforms in less than a week.
Here are the Phillies-Pirates MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Phillies-Pirates Odds
Philadelphia Phillies: -1.5 (+138)
Pittsburgh Pirates: +1.5 (-166)
Over: 8 (-110)
Under: 8 (-110)
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Why The Phillies Could Cover The Spread
Even with Bryce Harper missing significant time, Philadelphia is in a great spot with just over two months remaining in the season. Their 127 home runs rank sixth in baseball, and their 61 steals rank tied for seventh-best. Kyle Schwarber has launched 32 home runs, more than making up for his lowly .204 average. There still is no timetable on a Harper return, so Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins (19 home runs) will be counted on even more. Alec Bohm continues to impress, hitting a team-leading .294 with 23 extra-base hits. Last night, Philadelphia crossed the plate eight times, holding off Pittsburgh despite a bullpen implosion (more on that below). There is more than enough offense here for Philadelphia to remain serious contenders.
Tonight, Bailey Falter, a soft-tossing lefty, will look to follow up another strong Zack Wheeler start. Falter has a 5.26 ERA in his six starts and a 5.18 ERA overall. Falter has only gone 25.2 innings in his six starts, so the Phillies' bullpen will be heavily relied upon in this one. Thankfully, Jeurys Familia has mercifully been DFA'd, so there are reliable options in the bullpen. Seranthony Dominguez (1.72 ERA), Brad Hand (2.05 ERA), and Andrew Bellatti (2.78 ERA as a reliever) combine to provide a reliable bridge to closer Corey Knebel (2.72 ERA, 12 saves).
Why The Pirates Could Cover The Spread
Pittsburgh is nearing the end of trade rumor season, and tonight's starter Jose Quintana is not safe from those rumors. Quintana owns a 3.70 ERA in his 19 starts, but his 20th may just be his last with this team. This Pittsburgh pitching staff has a 4.65 team ERA, the fifth-worst in baseball. That number is poised to be even worse the rest of the way, as capable players will be shipped off in the next week. Closer David Bednar will likely cost a king's ransom if he gets traded, as his 2.76 ERA and 17 saves highlight an otherwise spotty bullpen.
Offensively, Pittsburgh's .220 batting average is the second-lowest team mark. Still, 101 home runs are good for 16th, and there are a few power threats remaining in this lineup. Bryan Reynolds, himself the subject of a ton of trade rumors, is hitting .254 with 15 home runs. Jack Suwinski, Diego Castillo, and Michael Chavis are the other Pirates with double-digit home runs. Pittsburgh is getting set to play younger talent, including the exciting Oneil Cruz, who has belted six home runs in his 31 games this season.
Final Phillies-Pirates Prediction & Pick
No Jeurys Familia is a confidence boost for this pick.
Final Phillies-Pirates Prediction & Pick: Phillies -1.5 (+138), over 8 (-110)