As Pittsburgh Slowly Exits Playoff Race Back Under When They Take On Phillies

Gerrit Cole during a baseball game

Charles Stark

Monday, September 12, 2016 2:47 PM GMT

After winning two games in a row Pirates faded quickly losing the next three against Cincinnati. Right now it looks like they are headed out of the playoffs as they travel to take on the lowly Phillies. We are going to look at the total for our MLB picks for this game as it looks to me like an underrated pitching matchup.

Pittsburgh Pirates
Gerrit Cole makes the start today for Pittsburgh coming off of the DL with a 3.55 ERA and 1.39 whip. His injury definitely hurt Pittsburgh over the past couple of weeks but I look for him to have a quality start today versus a Philadelphia team in which he dominated his one chance this season. In that contest back in mid-July, he allowed just one earned run off of six hits in six innings. 

Prior to going on the disabled list, he was having some struggles allowing 18 earned runs in his last five starts off of 41 hits in just over 26 innings of work. It was really evident that something was not correct with him because in this five previous starts to those games he allowed just nine earned runs in 28 innings of work. At the plate, Pittsburgh has really had issues productivity wise and I don't look for that to get much better today. Although they did score seven runs in one game versus Cincinnati they also went for just three and zero runs in their other two contests. In their last 10 games, they been shut out three times.

 

Philadelphia Phillies
Jeremy Hellickson has had a bit of a resurgent year for Philadelphia with a 3.90 ERA and 1.19 whip. This will be the 29-year-old right-hander's first opportunity to face Pittsburgh but his numbers improve just a bit at home with a 3.74 ERA and batters hitting .251 against him. In his last five home starts he has been both subpar and very good like allowing four earned runs over six innings of work to both the Mets and the Braves, but also allowing just one earned run to Miami, the Braves again, and then two earned runs to St. Louis in his last home start about three weeks ago. 

Considering how poorly Pittsburgh has been swinging the bats this a good spot for Hellickson to pick up a quality start. Offensively Philadelphia has been one of the worst hitting teams in all of the baseball and like Pittsburgh have been shut out in three out of their last 10 games. In their last five games, they are averaging just around three runs and I don't anticipate them to break out any serious lumber today.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs Philadelphia Phillies
Odds makers have set the total for this game at 8 across the board like at Pinnacle sports. For my MLB pick, I'm going to back under this total and look for both of these pitchers to have quality starts due to that neither of these offenses has been doing much recently. Pittsburgh desperately needs this game but in the end, I just don't see these teams scoring consistently enough to get over the number.

 

Free MLB Pick: Under 8 -134
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
July/August record: 30-23-2
September record: 7-5