Pirates look to bust out of slump against Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, who open a weekend series Friday at PNC Park, did not get off to great starts coming out of the All-Star break.

Philadelphia might be breaking out of it. With a 7-6 comeback win Thursday against the Los Angeles, the Phillies picked up their 50th win and have won two of their past three games after going 1-3 to open a post-break, seven-game homestand against the Dodgers and Washington Nationals.

"It's big for the confidence of the guys in (the locker) room," Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins told MLB Network. "We knew this was going to be a big week for us. ... Confidence is still sky-high here. We're not panicking. But it feels good to get a win going on the road."

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Pittsburgh is 1-5 since the All-Star break after piling up 12 wins in the 17 games before the respite. So even though it's only been six games back -- granted, all on the road -- the Pirates were looking forward to Thursday's idle day going into a seven-game homestand that begins Friday.

"The off-day couldn't come at a better time. Obviously, these first two series haven't been great," said Pittsburgh's Chris Archer, who started the latest loss, Wednesday at St. Louis. "Plenty of season left. I like our team. I like our guys. We're much better than what we've shown."

In the series opener, Philadelphia right-hander Jake Arrieta (8-7, 4.54 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh righty Jordan Lyles (5-6, 5.16).

Arrieta, pitching with a painful bone spur in his right elbow, allowed one run and four hits in five innings Sunday against Washington.

"The more pitches I throw, the more difficult it becomes. It doesn't feel good, I'll tell you that," Arrieta said.

At less than 100 percent, affecting his pitch repertoire, he can still be effective.

"What did 85 percent of Jake look like for us? That's it, right?" Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "It's a guy who can fight through some discomfort. It's a guy who can fight through not being at his best but can still give us a chance to win."

Arrieta is 12-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 22 career starts against Pittsburgh.

Lyles, who won five of his first six decisions, now has lost five straight decisions, has a 10.13 ERA over his past seven starts, and has allowed at least one homer in six consecutive starts.

Last Saturday, Pittsburgh's second game after the break, he gave up seven runs in two-thirds of an inning in a 10-4 loss against the Cubs. There apparently is no physical issue to blame.

"I'm in a serious funk right now," Lyles said. "I can't put my hat on one particular thing. I started out the season really well. ... I need to figure a way to get back there, but right now it's the low of lows for me personally. I'm not doing my team any favors, obviously, trying to get back in this race. I have to do a lot better on my end, for sure."

This will be his 16th start, his most since he made 22 with Colorado in 2014.

Against the Phillies, Lyles is 1-1 plus one save with a 3.22 ERA in 10 career appearances. He last faced them May 23, 2017 while with the Rockies, pitching a scoreless inning of relief.

--Field Level Media

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