MLB Betting Preview: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Pittsburgh Pirates – Saturday, July 20, 2019

by Jul 19, 2019Baseball

Matchup at a Glance

When: Saturday, July 20, 2019 at 7:05 PM EST

Where: PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Moneyline:  Pittsburgh -120/Phillies +110

Betting Total: 11 runs

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**Does not include yesterday’s results**

Pennsylvania rivals face off tonight when the Philadelphia Phillies (50-47, 20-26 away) travel to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates (45-50, 22-21 home) in the middle game of a three game set.  Zach Eflin (7-9, 4.16 era) gets the ball for the Phillies and he will oppose Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.17 era) of the Pirates.

This series is the first of the year between these two clubs, with the last three in Philly at the end of August.  

Game Location

This game is being played at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with the first pitch scheduled to take place at 7:05 PM EST

Betting Odds

BetOnline has set the line for this game at  Pittsburgh -120/Phillies +110 and the over/under has been set at 11 runs

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia (50-47) has fallen into 3rd place in the NL East 7½ games back of Atlanta.  They now trail 2nd place Washington by 2 games. They are tied with St Louis ½ game back for the final wildcard spot as well.  The Phils are on a one game winning streak and have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Philadelphia is scoring 4.84 runs per game while giving up 5.03 runs per game.  That offensive output sounds good, but it is a huge disappointment with the talent they have.  They are only ranked 15th in runs scored per game.

The pitching has struggled, mostly with injuries to the bullpen and are ranked 19th in baseball in runs allowed per game.  The run differential at one point this season was nearing +100 and is now -19.  

Taking a look at offensive team leaders, it is not dominated by Bryce Harper like they thought it would be when the signed him.  Bryce does lead in rbi’s with 69. With a .399 on base percentage Rhyse Hoskins is the leader, he also is the team leader in home runs with 20.  Cesar Hernandez is setting the pace in hitting with a .279 batting average as well as hits with 100.

Zach Eflin (7-9, 4.16 era) will be making his 19th start of the season.  He has shown flashes of being a front end pitcher.  That is why it is so frustrating when he gets hit hard more often than he should. 

His last two starts he got shelled in a 16-2 loss vs the Dodgers and 12-6 loss to Atlanta.  He has also thrown two complete games and narrowingly missing a third. He is a better pitcher at home, but this one is on the road where he is only 2-6 with a 4.44 era.  

He has only faced PIttsburgh one time in his career and it was a great one.  It was a 3 hit shutout in a 4-0 win at Pittsburgh. However that was back in 2016.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh (45-50) has fallen on hard times to start the 2nd half of the season.  They are in 4th place, and have fallen back 6½ games back of Chicago in the NL Central.  They only have a 1½ game lead over last place Cincinnati. They are only 4½ games back of the wildcard, but have a bunch of teams ahead of them.  The Bucs are on a one game losing streak and have only won 3 of their last 10 games.

Pittsburgh is scoring 4.74 runs per game while giving up 5.31 runs per game.  It feels like it has been all or nothing for the offense this season, mostly nothing.  Even with Josh Bell pounding the ball, they are only ranked 18th in runs scored per game.  The pitching has been even worse with a ranking of 24th in fewest runs allowed per game.  

Take away Josh Bell and this team would really be in trouble.  He leads in just about everything. Batting average (.293), on base percentage (.367), home runs (27), rbi’s (84), hits (105) as well as runs, doubles, total bases and walks.  

Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.17 era) will be making his 14th start of the season.  He was hit hard in his last start at the Cubs. He pitched 5⅓ innings, allowed 8 runs on 11 hits, he walked 3 and gave up 3  home runs.

The start before that was against those same Cubs and he got lit up again but the Pirates offense bailed him out and he picked up the victory in a 18-5 win.  He is allowing more hits than innings pitched and that is never a good sign. He is 0-2 with a 6.43 era in his career vs the Phillies.

The Phillies are simply the better team, must take them as a dog.  

Pittsburgh was sort of a nice story at the all-star break.  They were only 2½ games out of first place even though they were in 4th place in the division.  People in the Burgh were talking division title. Sorry to say even before the second half started,  they were a losing team. Now that the 2nd half is underway they have been losing even more. Josh Bell has cooled off and they desperately need him. 

The Phils on the other hand are sick about their first half and it is time for a gut check. They just split with the Dodgers, so maybe they are going to start playing to their talent level.  Simply put Philadelphia is a much better team than PIttsburgh. If they Phillies were a -150 favorite I may think twice, but they are a dog. Way too much value for me to pass up. Take the Phillies +110! 

Spooky Express Free Pick: Philadelphia Phillies +110

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