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Series Preview: Pirates at Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

The Phillies have the worst record in Major League Baseball. This should be easy! What could possibly go wrong?

Philadelphia went 9-18 in June and lost two of three on the road to the Mets over the weekend, winning on Sunday, 7-1. The Phils called up highly-rated prospect Nick Williams on Friday.

The Pirates (37-45), of course, got swept in three games by the Giants.

Season Series: 2-1 Pirates

At Pittsburgh:

May 19: Phillies 7, Pirates 2

May 20: Pirates 6, Phillies 3

May 21: Pirates 1, Phillies 0

Schedule

Monday, 7:05 p.m. - Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.08 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (5-5, 4.13), TV: Root

Tuesday, 4:05 p.m. - Jameson Taillon (4-2, 2.97) vs. Mark Leiter Jr. (1-0, 4.20), TV: Root, ESPN

Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (6-7, 4.51) vs. Ben Lively (1-3, 3.72), TV: Root

Thursday, 6:05 p.m. - Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.26) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.48), TV: Root

Phillies

27-53 (31-49 Pythag, 3.90 RS/G, 5.04 RA/G)

Offense

The Phillies are second-last in the majors in runs scored (to the Padres, who are bad and play in a tough hitters park, as opposed to just being bad). Aaron Altherr (.282/.353/.524, 13 HR) is still good, though he’s running a .348 BABIP. Cesar Hernandez and Howie Kendrick, two of the team’s other decent hitters, are on the disabled list. Odubel Herrera (.247/.286/.385) is still having a bad year offensively. Nick Williams is 4-for-11 (.364) with a walk in three games since his call-up. What else? Daniel Nava? Andrew Knapp? It’s not all that exciting. (The two guys I called boring (or at least old, inferring some boredom) in the last preview, Denard Span and Hunter Pence, mashed the Pirates. Sorry.)

Pitching

Jerad Eickhoff, the staff’s co-leader in fWAR, has an unlucky 0-7 record. The Pirates will miss him. Aaron Nola (8.82 K/9, 3.03 BB/9) is at the top with Eickhoff. Ben Lively has neither struck out nor walked a lot of guys over six major-league starts, Jeremy Hellickson’s done that over a much longer time. Reliever Pat Neshek (8.63 K/9, 1.11 BB/9, 1.39 ERA) is the team’s all-star.

Outlook

The Pirates’ season could take an ugly turn with three or four losses in Philadelphia, whether that come in the form of an actual hit in the weak NL Central or just pushing management further towards a more extreme trade-deadline sale. The Bucs have managed to stay within shouting distance in the division, oddly. They’ve repeatedly failed to gain ground where the schedule seemed to allow it, but they’ve also bounced back from bad runs, as well. A bad series could be a turning point in the season; a good one would just maintain the status quo.

Poll

Handicapping the Holiday Hoedown: How does this series go?

This poll is closed

  • 16%
    Pirates sweep!
    (17 votes)
  • 27%
    3-1 Pirates
    (28 votes)
  • 31%
    2-2 split
    (32 votes)
  • 13%
    3-1 Phillies
    (14 votes)
  • 10%
    Phillies sweep
    (11 votes)
102 votes total Vote Now