In the Battle of Pennsylvania we find the Pittsburgh Pirates with bragging rights and a surprising 38-33 record contending for the NL Central while the Philadelphia Phillies are currently residing in the NL East basement at 34-40
These two teams meet up tonight at 7:05 pm ET at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
MLB odds have the Phillies as a -142 favorite and the total for the game is 8 runs.
Have the Phillies packed it in this early before the All Star break or will we see the Fightin Phils make a run before this season is over? That remains to be seen but a win in this intra-state game would go a long way as a momentum builder for the Phils because at the moment, the Pirates are competing for the division lead
and have declared supremacy of the state of Pennsylvania.Hitter's delight
Tonight's starting pitching matchup leaves a lot to be desired as Jeff Karstens (0-1,4.50) takes the mound for Pittsburgh while an underachieving Jeff Blanton (6-6, 5.04) takes the rubber for the Phillies.
For the Pirates, Karstens is coming off of the injured reserved list in where he hasn't seen action since April 17th but his last outing was poor and he's a career 21-37 pitcher. Joe Blanton on the other hand has been consistently lousy all season for Philly
. Out of his last 7 starts, only one of them is considered to be "quality".
Look for a possible high scoring game in this situation. These lineups aren't stacked but there are players on both sides that are definitely capable of capitalizing off of poor pitching.Breakout star
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't had one of these for decades until they signed outfielder Andrew McCutchen as the 11th pick in the first round of the 2005 MLB Draft. McCutchen started to show signs of stardom but this season it's confirmed; Andrew McCutchen is the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. The Pirates management has never been able to pay their players as they're near the bottom of the list where payrolls are concerned. This is a 5-tool player that the Buckos can't let go.
On the season McCutchen is batting an eye raising .340 with 13 HR, 45 RBI, and 14 SB. In his last 8 games, he's 16 for 32 with 2 HR and 8 RBI. He had a rough Sunday but Andrew McCutchen is always a threat when he steps to the plate, especially against a pitcher like Joe Blanton. McCutchen is also a good fantasy league play tonight as he can be gotten at a 2nd tier price.Pirates trends to watch and ignore
Due to the poor pitching history of Jeff Karstens, the Pirates are 8-3-1 in Karsten's last 12 starts. The Over is 7-2 in the Pirates last 9 games as a road underdog. Pirates are 5-1 in their last 6 games as an underdog.PLEASE IGNORE!Pirates are 8-24 in their last 32 meetings in Philadelphia
. What we have to remember was they were facing a top level Phillies team and now the Phillies are struggling mightily.Under the radar
Sometimes the catcher's position is often ignored offensively and they're more looked upon regarding their defense. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz has quietly had a superstar-like season offensively and without Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, it couldn't come at a better time.
On the season, Ruiz is batting an eye popping .348 with 9 HR and 39 RBI. This is a much need pleasant surprise for the Fightin Phils who are fighting to get out of the basement and back to respectability.
Ruiz hasn't shown much power as of late but is 12 for 34 in his last 10 games with 5 doubles, 1 HR and 6 RBI. Unless 42 year old Jim Thome is going to hit a walk off home run every game, the Phils need players like Ruiz to keep producing as this is an injury hampered team.Back to MVP form?
Jimmy Rollins may never regain the form that brought him the 2007 NL MVP Award but he's still a vital part of this team in the leadoff position. Rollins who is not known for power, has regained his stroke. He's hit 3 HR and 4 RBI in his last 4 games alone. In Rollins' last 10 games, he's 15 for 41.
This is a player that knows how to get on base and is a nuisance to the opposing pitcher on the basepath. Look for Rollins to continue his veteran leadership along with Hunter Pence as the Phillies try to spoil the Pirates run while creating one of their own.Outcome of the gameIn my MLB picks I am looking for a high scoring game
as the starting pitching in this game leaves a lot to be desired. Although players like Jimmy Rollins and Jim Thome have been able to go yard, this game should still go over the total in a National League small ball style of play with the ability to get on base and using speed.Monday night pick:
Phillies/Pirates OVER 8