Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies Odds, Preview & Prediction -- 09/26/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
Where to watch: AT&T SportsNet-PIT, NBCSP

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Phillies -200, Pirates +170
Caesars: NL

Season record
Pirates: 57-97 (Last place, NL Central)
Phillies: 81-74 (2nd place, NL East)

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Pirates - Phillies preview and analysis

Recent form
Pirates: lost 3 straight
Phillies: won 5 straight

We’re about to find out starting Sunday if the Philadelphia Phillies have ran out of gas in their attempt of catching the Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

Despite a five-game winning streak that has given Phillies fans a good amount of hope, the Phillies are 1.5 games back of the Braves entering the last week of September and the last week of the regular season.

Did I mention the Phillies and Braves are playing three times in Atlanta on Tuesday? That will decide things.

But before we get there, the Phillies will try to extend their winning streak to a half-dozen as they close a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.

The Phillies are coming off a 3-0 win on Saturday that saw Ranger Suarez throw a complete game while giving up only four hits and striking out seven. More impressively, no walks and 97 pitches. Pittsburgh’s bullpen did all it could after Wil Crowe gave up three runs in 4.2 innings of work, but to no avail.

NL MVP frontrunner Bryce Harper hit his 34th home run of the season in the third inning, and outfielder Matt Vierling hit his first big-league homer to add a bit of insurance for the victory.

But if there’s any player in particular that’s giving the Phillies reason to think they can win the division, it’s Suarez, who was a reliever-turned-starter and has dominated since. He has four saves this season and a 1.45 ERA over 99 innings pitched. He’s gone at least six innings in his last four starts and has given up only five runs in that span.

“I obviously want to exceed expectations,” Suárez said. “But I have to give a lot of credit to people in the clubhouse, like J.T. [Realmuto] behind the plate, Neris, Alvarado, Bradley, [Kyle] Gibson. These are pitchers that have helped me a lot to develop my pitches, to become a better pitcher. Everyone in the clubhouse has done a tremendous job with me.”

Because of Suarez, and of course Harper and others, the Phillies are knocking on the door with a chance to make something happen.

“I’ve always thought that he was probably the nastiest guy in our system that I’ve faced,” Vierling said. “I always thought he was disgusting. He throws hard enough, and everything just comes out the same spot and everything looks the same. And he’s just so smooth with the way he throws that he kind of lulls you to sleep a little bit, then it gets on you.”

The Phillies have yet to name a starter for the mound in Sunday’s game, but that pitcher will face Pirates right-hander Max Kranick, who is 1-3 with a 7.28 ERA this season.


It’s not quite the level of the St. Louis Cardinals, but who wants to face the Phillies right now? We can’t get to Tuesday quick enough. That series is going to be awesome, so of course you should expect the Phillies to win this one. Phillies win 6-0

Betting trends

The Pirates are 28-50 when an underdog of at least +150 this season.

As a favorite of -200 or more, the Phillies are 6-4 this season and 8-10 in the last three seasons.

Players to watch

Pirates: Bryan Reynolds is batting .283 in the past 18 games with three homers and 11 RBI.

Phillies: In 21 games in September, Harper is batting .387 with nine home runs and 20 RBI to further cement the MVP case.

Projected lineup

Ke'Bryan Hayes (R) 3B
Kevin Newman (R) SS
Bryan Reynolds (S) CF
Yoshi Tsutsugo (L) 1B
Anthony Alford (R) LF
Wilmer Difo (S) 2B
Cole Tucker (S) RF
Taylor Davis (R) C
Max Kranick (R) P

Matt Vierling (R) CF
Jean Segura (R) 2B
Bryce Harper (L) RF
J.T. Realmuto (R) C
Brad Miller (L) 1B
Andrew McCutchen (R) LF
Didi Gregorius (L) SS
Ronald Torreyes (R) 3B

Statistical leaders

Batting average: Bryan Reynolds (.295)
Hits: Bryan Reynolds (158)
Home runs: Bryan Reynolds (24)
RBI: Bryan Reynolds (88)
Stolen bases: Ke’Bryan Hayes (9)
Wins: Chris Stratton (6)
Saves: Chris Stratton (6)

Batting average: Bryce Harper (.313)
Hits: Jean Segura (147)
Home runs: Bryce Harper (34)
RBI: Bryce Harper (82)
Stolen bases: Bryce Harper & J.T. Realmuto (13)
Wins: Zack Wheeler (14)
Saves: Hector Neris (12)
ERA: Zack Wheeler (2.79)

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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