MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Phillies vs. Pirates: Crowe Could Struggle With Philadelphia’s Offense (Friday, July 30)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Phillies vs. Pirates: Crowe Could Struggle With Philadelphia’s Offense (Friday, July 30) article feature image
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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Andrew McCutchen.

  • MLB's two Pennsylvania clubs open a three-game series when the Phillies take on the Pirates on Friday night.
  • Vince Velazquez will start for Philadelphia opposite Pittsburgh's Wil Crowe, with neither arm proving worthy of bettors' backing of late.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down where he sees betting value in this matchup below.

Phillies vs. Pirates Odds

Phillies Odds -130
Pirates Odds +110
Over/Under 9
Time Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Friday and via PointsBet

The Fightin’ Phillies sure have a flair for the dramatic this season. After falling behind 7-0 in the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against the Nationals, Philadelphia came roaring back with three runs in the final frame to tie it before capping off the comeback with a walk-off grand slam.

It was the ninth walk-off of the season for the Phillies, the second most in MLB. Heading into the final weekend of July, Philadelphia might not want this month to end. They have gone 14-10 during July, tied for the most wins by any team this month.

On the other side of the Commonwealth, the Pittsburgh Pirates are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and with the second-worst record in the National League, they have started selling off assets. It could be a long end of the season for yinzers, but at least Steelers training camp is underway.

Philadelphia Phillies

Part of the Pirates’ trade-deadline selling included trading pitcher Tyler Anderson, originally reported to have been traded to Philadelphia, before a medical issue squashed the deal. That move would have likely resulted in Vince Velasquez being bumped back to the bullpen, but instead he will remain in the rotation and start on Friday.

Through 10 starts, Velasquez had been surprisingly productive, posting a 2.95 ERA and allowing just a .191 batting average against. Well, the wheels have fallen off a bit as his ERA has risen to 5.54 with a 5.59 FIP. In his four starts in July he is 0-3 with a 10.91 ERA and teams are batting .333 against him.

Since the start of July, no team has scored more runs than the Phillies. They have the third highest wOBA this month and have hit the second-most home runs with 38 in 24 games.

Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins have both been red hot all month, with Harper hitting .342 with a 1.043 OPS and Hoskins at .310 and 1.163. Both of them left early on Thursday, and their status is something to monitor when lineups leading up to this game. Harper said he was playing, but Hoskins’ status is more up in the air.

Another guy having a strong campaign is former Pirates fan-favorite Andrew McCutchen. The 2013 MVP already has 20 home runs, which is the third most in his career prior to August. He has homered in three of his last four games, including an opposite-field three-run walk off blast on Monday.

This weekend will be just McCutchen’s second time back at PNC Park since he was traded, and his first time back since 2018. He ranks fourth all-time in Pirates history in home runs.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Pittsburgh will send 26-year old Wil Crowe to the mound on Friday against the Phillies. The Buccos acquired Crowe from the Nationals as part of the trade package for Josh Bell. He was ranked as Washington’s fifth-best prospect.

Entering the season with just three starts, Crowe has gone 2-5 with a 5.89 ERA and 5.79 FIP in his first season in the big leagues. The Pirates haven’t stretched Crowe out too much, he is averaging just shy of 4 2/3 innings per start and has completed six innings just once.

In his last outing, Crowe was able to rack up a career-best nine strikeouts against San Francisco and earn his second career victory.

The Pirates are clearly in a rebuilding mode and their lineup reflects that. They rank dead last in the league in runs scored and home runs. They are 29th in wOBA and last in wRC+.

Things could get even worse down the stretch since they just traded their best hitter in Adam Frazier to the Padres. The All-Star infielder leads the league in hits this season.

Without Frazier, the Buccos will rely on Bryan Reynolds and rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes to carry the load. So far, the Pirates have scored just three runs in three games since the trade.

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Phillies-Pirates Pick

Philadelphia is clearly the better team here but there are much better ways to spend a Friday night than betting on Velasquez.

If you want to make a play on this game, I would just back the Phillies’ offense. Since the start of July they have averaged 5.33 runs per game and rank third in the league in wOBA.

They should have a ton of momentum coming in off their thrilling comeback win yesterday. Crowe is still fairly inexperienced and has struggled giving up home runs early in his career. He has not lasted long in games this year and once he exits, the Pirates bullpen ranks 24th in ERA over the last two weeks.

McCutchen has been on fire, batting .346 with a 1.145 OPS and three home runs in the last week and should feel right at home in the ballpark he spent the first nine years of his career in.

I like Cutch and the rest of the Phillies offense to continue to hit the ball well, and be able to go over their team total today.

Pick: Phillies Team Total over 4.5 (-121)

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