While on the Morning Twitter Troll today, I came across this tweet by Jason Mackey, who covers the Pirates for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, regarding this weekend’s series between the Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park:
This is a sneaky big series for the Pirates. Second-place Reds are 8-10. Pirates can be 3-17 and in a heap of trouble if they’re swept. But if they win three or four, they can be 6-14 or 7-13 — not pretty but at least part of the playoff conversation in the NL Central.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) August 13, 2020
Unsurprisingly, this take was answered like so by the Pirates Twitterverse:
Mackey tried to walk it back, but with little success. It got a reaction, which is all that matters in the end.
Could it happen, though? What could possibly be on the side of the
raging dumpster fire ragtag crew known as the 2020 Pittsburgh Pirates? History. The Bucs beat the Reds twelve games out of nineteen in 2019. In 2018, they had a 14-5 record against the Reds. Trevor Williams, who has been pitching somewhat better than his woeful record would indicate and is the starter tonight, has gone 3-1 in five starts against the Big Red Machine. Chad Kuhl and Steven Brault, the next two Bucs starters, have also historically done well against the Reds. In 28.1 innings, Kuhl has a 2-1 record with a 2.51 ERA and 31 strikeouts. Brault’s numbers are even better—in four career starts, he’s 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 21 Ks in 20.1 innings. Derek Holland, Sunday’s starter, doesn’t seem to have much of a record against the Reds since he’s spent most of his career in the American League, but what comes down must go up and I’m sticking to that.
We’re well aware that they’re in current possession of the second-worst team batting average in the National League at .209. But guess which team has the worst, albeit by one point? The Reds. The Reds’ projected starters for this series, Anthony DeSclafani, Sonny Gray, Trevor Bauer and Luis Castillo, haven’t had the best track records against the Pirates either, and their bullpen and defense have been politely described as trainwrecks. But they are 8-10 coming into tonight and the Pirates ... are not.
It does seem, though, that no matter how bad a team is, there’s always one team that they dominate. All we can do is hope.