The Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Pirates take to the field again after last nights pitching battle. Tonight both teams will race to see who's bats can get hot first, but if last night taught us anything, the 'Under' might be worth looking at.
Chase Utley

Following a Friday night marathon the Phillies and Pirates square off in the second-game of their three-game set in Pittsburgh (Read Joe C's pick for game 3). Kyle Kendrick takes the hill for Philadelphia which will be out to avoid its first four-game losing streak of the year. Charlie Morton will toe the rubber for Pittsburgh. Game time is 7:05 PM ET at PNC Park.

MLB odds were released with the Phillies as -106 favorites with the total at 8 but many of the sharp baseball bettors who have recently jumped on the Bucs bandwagon got their money down on the suddenly profitable and much improved Pirates. Pittsburgh has won three of their past four games overall and are 4-1 against the Phillies in their past five meetings in the steel city.

In Friday night’s game, Jose Kabata’s run scoring single in the bottom of the 12th inning give Pittsburgh a 2-1 victory in the series opener. The Pirates (27-29) managed just five hits but the Phillies weren’t much better putting six hits on the board. There were no extra-base hits in the game which reminds me of the old baseball joke; the game was like most night clubs, a lot of singles but no scoring.

Wasted Time

Cole Hamels pitched perhaps his best game of the year and had nothing to show for it. The Philadelphia lefthander allowed one run and one hit in eight innings to lower his ERA to 2.83.

His opposite number, Jeff Karstens also exited with a no-decision despite a strong seven inning stint in which he allowed four hits and one run. However both pitchers were betrayed by their respective offenses.

Morton Worth his Salt

The Phillies will be facing one tough customer tonight in sinkerballer Charlie Morton (5-2, 2.51) who has put up some eye-popping numbers in his past four starts. The native of Flemington, New Jersey is 2-1 with an ERA of 1.21 and has given up just four runs in his last 29 2/3 innings. However Morton has yet to master Philadelphia going 0-2 with a 9.75 ERA and a .345 batting average against in three career starts.

Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.18) is making a ‘spot start’ but a wise statistical start by Manager Charley Manuel. With Joe Blanton hurt and on the disabled list and rookie Vance Worley having pitched his way from Philadelphia to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, that means Kendrick gets the call. It’s not a bad move on Manuel’s part given that Kendrick is 4-0 against the Pirates with a 2.61 ERA.

June Gloom

The Phillies offense continues to sputter. Last night they had their regular starting lineup intact for the first time this season and proceeded to go 6 for 40. Not to take anything away from the Pirates, but if the Phillies can’t hit their pitching staff, how in the world are they going to be able to handle the Giants and that pitching staff? They’ve scored nine runs in their last four games against the Nationals and Pirates and have scored 63 runs in their past 19 games. Not surprisingly Philadelphia is 5-9 in its last 14 road games.

Chase Utley, who had the Phils lone RBI on Friday night went 1 for 5 and is now hitting .194 (7 for 36) since his season debut on May 23. Ryan Howard took the collar (0-4) to drop to .248 while Raul Ibanez was hitless in four trips to the plate and is now hitting .241. Philadelphia is now 19th in hitting (.248) and scoring (4.02). Just ask Hamels, no matter how well you pitch it’s not worth a thing if the offense doesn’t produce.

Looking Low

The ‘under’ (12-5) has been the play when these two teams meet. Pittsburgh is now 15-8 to the low side at home and 10-3-2 to the ‘under’ in Morton’s last 15 starts at PNC.

Tonight’s weather forecast is calling for an 80 percent chance of thunder storms with hot and humid conditions and temperatures in the 80’s. Winds out of the South Southwest of eight miles per hour are expected.