The Pirates (12-6), having taken Wednesday’s business person’s special at PNC Park, head across the state for a four-game series against the rejuvenated Phillies. You may have heard the cities’ teams are competing in a playoff hockey series, as well.
The Phillies have won seven of their last nine, having rattled off a six-game winning streak with sweeps of the Reds and Rays last week. They lost two of three in Atlanta this week. New manager Gabe Kapler had an iffy start, but appears to be settling in.
Thursday, 7:05 p.m. — Jameson Taillon (2-0, 0.89 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (1-0, 3.38); TV: AT&T SportsNet, MLB Network (out of market)
Friday, 7:05 p.m. — Ivan Nova (2-1, 4.88) vs. Ben Lively (0-1, 5.87); TV: MLB Network (UPDATE: Pittsburgh market included)
Saturday, 4:05 p.m. — Steven Brault (2-1, 4.74) vs. Aaron Nola (1-1, 2.22); TV: AT&T SportsNet
Sunday, 1:35 p.m. — Trevor Williams (3-1, 1.93) vs. TBD; TV: AT&T SportsNet
The Phillies are enjoying several good early offensive performances, starting with Rhys Hoskins (.327/.485/.592, 2 HR), who is off to a strong start in his sophomore campaign. Once unheralded, Cesar Hernandez (.291/.443/.436) and Odubel Herrera (.328/.381/.466) have become fixtures in Philadelphia’s lineup in recent years. Scott Kingery (.255/.311/.491), signed to a six-year contract this spring before having ever appeared in the majors, has surpassed early expectations. Carlos Santana (.136/.260/.288), who I thought was a sneaky-good free-agent signing, has been an exception to the hot early hitting.
Ben has been Lively in the starting rotation, racking up strikeouts (9.98 per nine innings) and limiting walks (1.76 per nine) over three starts. Jake Arrieta has been so-so in two starts. A look at the Phillies pitching ledger shows old friends Drew Hutchison (five relief appearances, more walks than strikeouts) and ... Pedro Florimon (an inning of mop-up duty).
** — Statistics through Tuesday
Both teams are off to good starts that weren’t necessarily expected. If anything, the Phillies were perceived to be the team on more of an upward trajectory going into the season. A few wins out of a trip to Philadelphia would be quite satisfying right now.
Who wins the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia main event?
This poll is closed