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Game Thread: Reds come to Pittsburgh but this afternoon there can only be one

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MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds (59-78), owners of last in the National League Central but only 7.0 games behind the fourth place Pirates (66-71) begin their last visit of 2018 to PNC Park at 1:35 pm Eastern on Monday. The Reds will send out The Dark Knight Matt Harvey (6-7, 4.97) to face The Highlander, The Studly One, Trevor Williams (11-9, 3.30)

Harvey, acquired from the New York Mets in a May trade, has been pitching better of late, compiling a 4.06 ERA in his last 12 starts, but that is tarnished by a game on July 22 when the Pirates tagged him for 8 runs in 3 23 innings. Other than that, his ERA in 11 of his last 12 starts is 3.12. One of the top pitchers in baseball only a few years ago, injuries have taken their toll on Harvey, although this year his fastball still averages 93.7 mph. He throws a slider 19% of the time, change 11% and curve 10%

That however, can’t touch Williams, who includes 8 shutouts among his 11 victories and has only allowed a total of 4 runs in his last 8 starts as he’s held the opposition scoreless 5 times, allowed 1 run twice and 2 runs once. Williams has only faced the Reds once so far this season, allowing 2 runs on 10 hits in 5 13 innings on April 6, in a game the Pirates won 14-3.

The Reds will start five left-handed swinging batters against Williams who doesn’t show any adverse split tendencies, allowing a .668 OPS to lefties this year compared to .666 by right handed batters. Shortstop Blake Trahan will be making his major league debut after hitting 245/320/302 at Triple-A Louisville.

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REDS

1 S Billy Hamilton CF

2 L Joey Votto 1B

3 L Scooter Gennett 2B

4 R Eugenio Suarez 3B

5 L Scott Schebler RF

6 S Tucker Barnhart C

7 R Philip Ervin LF

8 R Blake Trahan SS

9 R Matt Harvey RHP

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PIRATES

1 R Starling Marte CF

2 L Adam Frazier 2B

3 L Gregory Polanco RF

4 R Francisco Cervelli C

5 L Corey Dickerson LF

6 S Josh Bell 1B

7 L Colin Moran 3B

8 R Kevin Newman SS

9 R Trevor Williams RHP