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Pirates vs. Phillies - 7/31/2021

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Can the Pirates take game two of the series?

MLB: New York Mets at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies (51-52) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (39-64), July 31, 2021 @ 7:05pm

Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA

TV: AT&T Sports Pittsburgh

Radio: 93.7 the Fan

Phillies SB Nation Site: The Good Phight


Projected Starters

Phillies: Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.37 ERA)

Pirates: JT Brubaker (4-10, 4.67 ERA)

Projected Lineups (subject to change)

Phillies

  1. Jean Segura (2B)
  2. J.T. Realmuto (C)
  3. Bryce Harper (RF)
  4. Andrew McCutchen (LF)
  5. Brad Miller (1B)
  6. Alec Bohm (3B)
  7. Didi Gregorius (SS)
  8. Travis Jankowski (CF)
  9. Aaron Nola (P)

Pirates

  1. Ben Gamel (LF)
  2. Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B)
  3. Bryan Reynolds (CF)
  4. Gregory Polanco (RF)
  5. John Nogowski (1B)
  6. Jacob Stallings (C)
  7. Rodolfo Castro (2B)
  8. Kevin Newman (SS)
  9. JT Brubaker (P)

After a crazy trade deadline, the Pirates showed life in a 7-0 win last night. They were able to get the offense going early against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. Tonight, Pittsburgh will have a tougher assignment against starter Aaron Nola.

Although Nola does not have an elite ERA this season (4.37), he has still been solid. Luck has not exactly been on his side as he has an xFIP of 3.41. His fWAR of 2.6 ranks 16th among all pitchers. Strikeout-wise, Nola is up near 30 percent, well above league average. A big difference between Nola this season and in past seasons is the ground ball rate. Before 2021, Nola had never had a ground ball rate lower than 47.6 percent. This season, it is 39.5 percent. He is allowing more fly balls and therefore more home runs. At 18 home runs given up this season, he is on pace to at least match his career-high 27 home runs allowed in 2019. That season, Nola allowed hard contact much more frequently than he has this season. Against a team such as the Pirates, fly balls and home runs may not be as huge of a concern as they may be against other squads.

Pitching for the Pirates is JT Brubaker. Simply put, July has been a nightmare for the 27-year-old righty. Over four starts, he has an 8.20 ERA. At the start of this month, Brubaker had an ERA of 3.82. It is now 4.67. Home runs have been an extreme issue as he’s allowed eight over his last 18.2 innings pitched. Perhaps tonight he can end the month of July on a better note. After watching the Phillies muster up just one hit total last night against Wil Crowe and company, a solid outing from Brubaker is not out of the question.

In roster news, new trade acquisitions Hoy Park (INF) and Bryse Wilson (RHP) have been activated to the major league roster. OF Jared Oliva was optioned to AAA.

Go Bucs!