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Philadelphia Phillies (72-50) at Pittsburgh Pirates (51-71).
Joe Blanton (8-6, 3.86 ERA) starts vs. Ross Olendorf (11-8, 4.15 ERA).
The Phillies travel to Pittsburgh to face the lowly, last-place Pirates. In the midst of a 10-game winning streak, the Phillies swept the Pirates in July. The Pirates are completely different team than they were in July; they're worse.
Freddy Sanchez, Jack Wilson and Adam LaRoche, and others have all been traded away. Right now, their centerpiece is rookie Andrew McCutchen, who is batting .284 with an .822 OPS. He has seven homers and 14 stolen bases.
For some reason, the Phillies do not fair too well at PNC Park. They are 8-11 there since 2002. The Phillies have a history of falling to last place teams in the past, and they can't let that happen during this series.
As hot as Ryan Howard has been, he struggles at PNC Park. In 14 games, he is batting .159. He has hit the Pirates this season, including a ninth inning, game tying home run against Matt Capps.
The Phillies will give the ball to a hot hand in Joe Blanton. Since May 26, Blanton is 6-3 with a 2.45 ERA. He hasn't been very lucky in the win column, despite eating innings and putting up solid numbers. Blanton pitched 7.1 innings against the Pirates earlier this year. He gave up one earned run on four hits.
Ross Olendorf pitched 5.2 innings against the Phillies in July. He gave up three earned runs on five hits and walked four.