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Series Preview: Pirates at Reds

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San Diego Padres v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

The Pirates are an ugly 2-8 against the Reds this year, but at least it won’t be what keeps them from winning the division. Cincinnati isn’t doing a whole lot different this year — good offense, bad pitching and wins over the Pirates. The Reds are 11-11 in August — they haven’t finished .500 or better in a month, even with their hot start to the season.

The Reds lost two of three at home to the Cubs during the week, salvaging a 4-2 win on Thursday. The Pirates (61-67) lost three of four to the Dodgers.

Season Series: 8-2 Reds

At Pittsburgh

April 10: Reds 7, Pirates 1

April 11: Reds 6, Pirates 2

April 12: Reds 9, Pirates 2

At Cincinnati

May 1: Reds 4, Pirates 3, 10 innings

May 2: Pirates 12, Reds 3

May 3: Reds 7, Pirates 2

May 4: Reds 4, Pirates 2

At Pittsburgh

August 1: Reds 9, Pirates 1

August 2: Reds 5, Pirates 2

August 3: Pirates 6, Reds 0

Schedule

Friday, 7:10 p.m. - Ivan Nova (11-10, 3.81 ERA) vs. Robert Stephenson (1-4, 6.13), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Saturday, 6:40 p.m. - Gerrit Cole (10-8, 4.16) vs. Luis Castillo (2-6, 3.45), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Sunday, 1:10 p.m. - Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.85) vs. Homer Bailey (4-6, 7.99), TV: AT&T SportsNet

Reds

54-74 (54-74 Pythag, 4.77 RS/G, 5.62 RA/G)

Offense

Joey Votto (.314/.447/.597, 33 HR) has matched last season’s 5.0 fWAR already, ranking eighth among MLB hitters. Zack Cozart (.312/.405/.572, 17 HR) is back from the disabled list. Adam Duvall (29), Eugenio Suarez (24), Scott Schebler (24) and Scooter Gennett (22) are all up there in home runs, too. Devin Mesoraco got yet another tough break with a fractured left foot, and may not return this year.

Pitching

By fWAR, the Reds rank last in the majors by starting pitchers (0.2) and overall pitching staff (1.7), and they’ve allowed the most runs (717). Only their bullpen, all the way up at 24th (1.4 fWAR) keeps the Reds from a clean sweep. Luis Castillo (9.47 K/9, 3.84 BB/9, 56.1 GB%) has emerged in 12 starts since late June. Robert Stephenson’s numbers are still awful (except for strikeouts), but the Pirates made him look good the last time he was in Pittsburgh. Homer Bailey (6.87 K/9, 4.95 BB/9, 7.99 ERA) is still groggy coming back from injuries. Relegated to the bullpen by injuries, closer Raisel Iglesias (11.41 K/9, 3.47 BB/9) is the best pitcher on this staff.

Outlook

Gerrit Cole has struggled against the Reds and in Cincinnati, and he gets the toughest draw in Luis Castillo. The Pirates theoretically have the pitching advantage in the other games (and, well, always against this staff), but we know Great American Ballpark is a launching pad.

Losses to the Dodgers are to be expected. A bad weekend against the Reds could really start to give a sour taste to the home stretch of the 2017 season.

Poll

How does this series go?

This poll is closed

  • 23%
    Pirates sweep!
    (41 votes)
  • 18%
    2-1 Pirates
    (32 votes)
  • 29%
    2-1 Reds
    (51 votes)
  • 29%
    Reds sweep
    (51 votes)
175 votes total Vote Now