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Pirates Daily: Pittsburgh & Philadelphia, A Cross-State Rivalry Like None other

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Pittsburgh Pirates

Thursday, July 28 and the Pittsburgh Pirates (40-58) are back from a rare off day and begin a four-game series against their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies (51-47) at PNC Park. Can the Pirates halt their three-game skid? 

Pirates’ Lineup 

  1. Kevin Newman 2B
  2. Oneil Cruz SS
  3. Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B
  4. Ben Gamel LF
  5. Bligh Madris RF
  6. Greg Allen CF
  7. Cal Mitchell DH
  8. Josh VanMeter 1B
  9. Tyler Heineman C

Weather

The weather in Pittsburgh at first pitch (7:05 p.m.) should be hot. The temperature is forecasted to be 83 degrees with a southwest wind of around 8 mph. No rain is expected.

Starters

Starting for the Pirates will be Zach Thompson (3-7, 4.64 ERA). Zack Wheeler (8-5, 2.78 ERA) will pitch for the Phillies.

Thompson is coming off of a very rough start last Friday against the Miami Marlins. Thompson went 5.1 innings while giving up seven earned runs on nine hits. Can Thompson rebound?

In July, Wheeler is carrying a 2.45 ERA in 25.2 innings. Last Saturday, Wheeler pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Cubs. Can the Pirates’ bats get to Wheeler early?     

Betting Odds

The Pirates are opening as +164 underdogs for Thursday’s moneyline, whereas the Phillies are -200 favorites. The over/under stands at 7.5 runs. The run line is the Pirates +1.5 (-110) and Phillies -1.5 (-110). 

Who’s Hot/Who’s Not?

Who’s Hot: In a week’s worth of games, Jason Delay is slashing .333/.400/.500. Delay has shown he belongs on the major league roster.

Who’s Not: Kevin Newman started out hotter than usual after returning from his injury, but in the last seven games he has posted a slash line of .214/.267/.357. Not what you would call ideal. 

Tidbits

  1. Thompson has a very limited sample size against the Phillies, but in eight innings, opponents are hitting just .160 with an OPS of .530. 
  2. In 16 career games against the Phillies, Ben Gamel has put up decent numbers. In 54 at-bats, he is slashing .296/.387/.519 with an OPS of .906. 
  3. Wheeler has only pitched in PNC Park two times and has a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings. A good(ish) sign for the Pirates is they have a .261 batting average against Wheeler.  

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