Bryce Harper's bat seems to be coming alive. Can he stay hot in Pittsburgh? Photo by Wayne Terry, TPL.

The Phillies’ fortunes look like they might start to turn around. After splitting a four-game series with the LA Dodgers, the Phillies now head on the road. Their next stop is Pittsburgh where they will take on the Pirates. This is a good opportunity for the Phillies to get the ball rolling and go on a hot streak. 

Probable Pitching Matchups

Game one: Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.54 ERA) vs. Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.16 ERA)

Game two: Zach Eflin (7-9, 4.16 ERA) vs. Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.17 ERA)

Game three: Vince Velasquez (2-5, 4.87 ERA) vs. Joe Musgrove (6-8, 4.31 ERA)

This is just the kind of series that the Phillies need. After ending the Dodgers series on a high note, facing off against a sub .500 team could be the making of a hot streak. Also, they will be facing off against a Pirates pitching staff filled with losing records and above 4.00 ERAs. This series is a good chance for the Phillies to get the bats going and for the pitching staff to build up some confidence. It will be a welcome relief after facing off against some of the better arms that the National League has to offer.

Beat Them While They’re Down

The Pirates are also on a cold skid that the Phillies need to take advantage of. Over their last ten games, the Pirates have lost seven of them. Taking advantage of struggling and non-contending teams is what the Phillies need to capitalize on if they want to get back in the hunt. At a minimum, the Phillies need to take at least two games in this series but should come in aggressive and go for a sweep. 

Right now the playoff picture does not look good for the Phillies. They sit eight games out from the Braves for first place in the NL East, and they are currently tied with the Brewers for the second and final Wild Card spot. If the Phillies want to see the field in October, these are the kinds of series they can not afford to flop in. Creating distance from Milwaukee and trying to get back within striking distance of the Braves is a must, and beating down on the struggling Pirates is how they do that. Hopefully, they take this series as an opportunity to get hot. 

Stats to keep an eye on 

  • The Pirates’ pitching staff has a home ERA of 5.27, which is higher than their road ERA which is 4.76.
  • Bryce Harper is 4 for 9 (.444) with seven RBIs over his last three games.
  • Maikel Franco is batting .368 with four RBIs over his last seven games.
  • Josh Bell is batting .300 with a .372 OBP at home this season.
  • Over his last seven starts, Jordan Lyles has a 10.13 ERA.