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Game Thread: Taillon leads Bucs into Cincinnati

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MLB: Chicago White Sox at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After stumbling through a weekend series that saw them lose three of four to the San Diego Padres, the Pirates, who dropped to fourth in the National League Central (if only two games out of first) travel to Cincinnati to take on the Reds who have the worst record in the NL and are 11 games behind the Pirates in the standings.

Jameson Taillon (2-3, 3.97) takes the hill for Pittsburgh. Owner of a 0.89 ERA after not allowing a run in two of his first three starts of the year, Taillon has scuffled since, with a 6.48 ERA, 1.72 WHIP and .899 OPS against over his last six starts, totaling only 25 innings. In three of those six he failed to go five innings.

The Reds counter with Matt Harvey, a reclamation project they picked up recently in a trade with the Mets. Harvey had a 7.00 ERA in 27 innings this year, after 6.70 in 93 last year, before the trade. He’s been a bit better with Cincinnati, garnering seven strikeouts without issuing a walk in eight innings, but still he only managed eight innings in two starts.

In his prime Harvey average nearly 96 mph on his fastball, but injuries have taken their toll as his velocity has dropped each of the last three years, and is currently averaging 92.9. He throws a 4-seamer 49% of the time and 2-seamer 11%, with off-speed pitches being slider 18%, curve 11% and change 11%

Harvey has particularly had problems with left-handed batters lately, with Oliver projecting him to allow a .363 wOBA to all lefty swingers, compared to .306 by right-handers. In the friendly confines of the Great American Ball Park, odds are that one or more of the Pirates five left-handed batters could reach the seats.

The Reds will be using a familiar lineup, even with the pitcher Harvey batting eighth as Billy Hamilton had been dropped to ninth earlier in the year.

Francisco Cervelli continues to bat third in the absence of Starling Marte, who is on the disabled list, as rookie Austin Meadows mans center field and hopes to continue to impress.

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PIRATES

1 R Josh Harrison 2B

2 L Gregory Polanco RF

3 R Francisco Cervelli C

4 S Josh Bell 1B

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 L Colin Moran 3B

7 L Austin Meadows CF

8 R Jordy Mercer SS

9 R Jameson Taillon RHP

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REDS

1 R Jose Peraza SS

2 S Tucker Barnhart C

3 L Joey Votto 1B

4 L Scooter Gennett 2B

5 R Eugenio Suarez 3B

6 L Scott Schebler RF

7 R Adam Duvall LF

8 R Matt Harvey RHP

9 S Billy Hamilton CF