MLB Picks: Pirates at Phillies Odds and Betting Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 7/29/2011
The biggest news of the week in baseball probably should have been Ervin Santana’s no-hitter, but in most circles it has been overshadowed by the blown call in the 19th inning of the Pirates loss to the Atlanta Braves. The Pirates are still within shouting distance of first place in the National League Central, but that loss was definitely a tough one to swallow. The Phillies continue to pile up the wins. Philadelphia has the best record in the majors at this point. These teams are both from the same state, and this game hasn’t meant much in the past because of the Pirates recent woes, but this year it is an entirely different story.
How the Teams Enter
The Pirates are 7-6 since the all-star break. During the past two weeks they were able to grab the lead in the NL Central, but they have since given it back to the Milwaukee Brewers. The real difference between this year’s Pirates and last year’s team is their ability to win on the road. The Pirates enter this game with an impressive 27-24 mark away from home. It can’t be overstated how surprising that is; especially when you consider that last year the Pirates went 17-64 on the road. Joel Hanrahan has converted 29 of his 30 save attempts this year, and you could make a solid argument that he has been the most reliable closer in baseball this year.
The Phillies are 8-5 since the all-star break. Philadelphia continues to win with what has been the most dominant starting pitching staff in all of baseball. Not surprisingly, the Phillies have 68 quality starts, which is the best mark in the majors. The Phillies offense has been mediocre this year, but they have struggled with quite a few injuries. Placido Polanco is out of the lineup now, but Chase Utley seems to really be finding his hitting stroke of late. When everyone is healthy, the Phillies have one of the best lineups in baseball. The Phillies have been absolutely dominating at home this season. Philadelphia is 38-17 at Citizens Bank Park in 2011.
Pirates vs. Phillies Betting Storylines
The Pirates managed to take two out of three games from the Phillies in early June. Surprisingly, the Pirates also went 4-2 against the Phillies in 2010. Typically at this time the Pirates are in the cellar of the division. In 2011, they have just as much to play for as their intrastate rivals. Despite the two tough extra inning losses in Atlanta, the Pirates still managed to split the series with the Braves.
Philadelphia does have the best record in baseball, but they know they need to keep winning because the Atlanta Braves aren’t far behind them in the National League East standings. Teams have been underestimating the Pirates all year long, but will the Phillies be ready for the feisty Pirates?
Pirates vs. Phillies Pitching Probables
Charlie Morton (8-5, 3.69) has been one of the best turnaround stories in all of baseball this year. Morton had a 7.57 ERA in 2010, but he has been able to come up with the big pitches to get himself out of trouble this year. Morton pitched seven innings of two-run baseball in a 6-3 Pirates win over the Phillies earlier this season.
Roy Halladay (12-4, 2.55) will be on the mound for the Phillies. He has been baseball’s most consistent pitcher for the last few years. Halladay has great command of all his pitches, and he is extremely efficient with his pitches. Halladay pitched seven innings and allowed just two runs in the Phillies 7-3 victory over the Pirates on June 5.
Pirates vs. Phillies MLB Betting Odds
Philadelphia opened as huge moneyline favorites, and the money continues to pour in on the Phillies. Philadelphia opened at -250, but most books now have the Phillies listed at -265 or -270. The posted total is set at seven runs.
MLB Picks: Pirates vs. Phillies Picks and Predictions
Halladay is an absolute machine and I certainly think the Phillies will win this one, but I can’t ever justify laying -270 in baseball. Morton has an ERA of just 3.00 on the road this year. Halladay has a stellar 2.44 ERA at home this season. I think the ‘under’ is the best way to play this game.
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