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Phillies vs. Pirates MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Pittsburgh in First 5 Innings (Friday, July 29)

Phillies vs. Pirates MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Back Pittsburgh in First 5 Innings (Friday, July 29) article feature image
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Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jose Qunitana.

  • The Pirates host the Phillies in Friday's National League showdown.
  • Pittsburgh sends pitcher Jose Quintana to the mound, which analyst Doug Ziefel believes gives Pittsburgh the edge in this meeting.
  • Check out below why he's backing the club via a First 5 Innings prop wager.

Phillies vs. Pirates Odds

Phillies Odds -125
Pirates Odds +105
Over/Under 8
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will have a chance to punch back in Friday’s matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies after they fell just short in Thursday’s opener.

After another dominant outing by Zack Wheeler, the Phillies led 8-2 entering the ninth inning. However, Pittsburgh would rally for five runs, then have the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position before reliever SerAnthony Dominguez put out the fire.

Tonight, ace Jose Quintana will get the ball for the Pirates. Quintana has had a career renaissance this season and is rightfully one of the hottest names on the market ahead of the trade deadline. This very well could be his final showcase in a Pittsburgh uniform, and he’s in line to make it a good start.

Opposing Quintana will be fellow left-hander Bailey Falter. He has been relied on by Philadelphia for multiple starts. However, the club’s trust hasn’t been met with much success and his outlook for this outing isn’t so bright either.

So, can the Pirates rally again and even up the series? Let’s dive into this matchup and find out what could be in store.

Philadelphia Phillies

As I alluded to above, Quintana has been excellent for Pittsburgh. He enters with a 3.70 ERA and 1.28 WHIP this season. When you look at Quintana’s underlying metrics, nothing really jumps off the page. However, it’s that counterbalance that explains his success.

At this point in his career, Quintana isn’t going to overpower hitters or produce a great deal of swings and misses, but what he’s excelled at this season is creating soft contact. As a result, he ranks in the top 20 percent of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity allowed and chase rate. His chase rate is essential, because it shows how he uses his arsenal to create that soft contact.

Quintana has increased his change-up usage, throwing it 10 percent more often than last year. Since Quintana is left-handed, his fastball has a natural tail. Also, his circle change-up perfectly mimics that tail of his fastball, only it’s coming in an average of six miles per hour slower and changing planes in the zone. So, while his change-up has been hit, what it’s done is make his fastball more effective.

When looking at the Phillies’ hitters, they are no pushovers against left-handed pitching. They rank 10th in wRC+, eighth in wOBA and eighth in ISO this season. Quintana has done a fine job against righties, holding a 3.59 FIP, and they’re only hitting .259 off of him. He’s been lights out against lefties, which will come in handy against the likes of Kyle Schwarber and Darick Hall.

Philadelphia will be putting the ball in play, but most of it will be soft, and Quintana has proven to wiggle out of trouble on multiple occasions.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have been dreadful at the plate for the majority of the season, but they showed some sign of life Thursday and are now in an excellent spot to get on the board early if they can carry over that momentum.

Falter has been faltering in the big leagues this year. He enters this start with a 5.18 ERA, with a Baseball Savant page bluer than the Allegheny River. All those metrics, including his 6.18 FIP, point to his struggles continuing in this outing.

It all stems from Falter just not having big-league caliber stuff. He’s primarily a two-pitch pitcher with his fastball-slider combination. His fastball is in the bottom one percent of all qualified pitchers in spin rate, plus his breaking stuff isn’t much better as it sits in the bottom five percent.

In addition, his slider (which is supposed to be his out pitch) has a .407 BAA on the year. So, if there’s ever a matchup for the Pirates to breakout, it’s here against Falter.

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Phillies-Pirates Pick

I get that the market is down on the Pirates, and they should be in general, but not in this matchup. They have their ace going against Falter, who probably should be in Triple-A in my opinion.

That said, I’m banking on Pittsburgh carrying some momentum from Thursday’s rally into this game and getting its bats going against Falter so that the host is up halfway through this latest showdown.

Pick: Pittsburgh — First Five Innings (+105)

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