The last time the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates met, in October of last season, it was the National League Wild Card Game
. The Pirates won the game 6-2 and sent Cincinnati home early.
The two division rivals are set to meet tonight, which is opening of a three-game series in Cincinnati.
What was nice to see, is that during the Pirates’ return from contention after over two decades away from the postseason is a tense rivalry with the Reds. Pittsburgh took the season series 11-8. However, the games were so close though. Twelve of the games were decided by two runs or fewer, and that is due to great pitching by both sides.
“Even when we were outplaying them for playoff spots, they always played us tough the four years that I’ve been here,” said Reds manager Bryan Price, who was previously the team’s pitching coach. “I anticipate them continuing to play us tough and they turned the corner to get into the playoffs last year and beat us. I’m sure they’re very confident in their ability.”
There is some bad blood developed between the two teams as last season batters were hit by pitches a combined 28 times, the most between two teams in the Majors during 2013. There were five different Reds hitters hit 12 times by eight Pirates pitchers while seven Pirates hitters were hit 16 times among 10 Reds pitchers.
Both teams enter the series dealing with their own issues. The Reds, who won yesterday to avoid being swept by the Rays, started out this season with a 4-8 record. The Pirates were just handed a three game sweep by the hottest team in the league in the Milwaukee Brewers
“It would be a great time for us to do what I know what we’re capable of doing and go out there and put some runs up and play some good games in this series,” Price said.
Reds pitcher Homer Bailey will be making his third start of the season when he faces Wandy Rodriguez in the series opener. Bailey doesn’t have much momentum going as he is 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA through two starts vs. the Cardinals.
The common issue in his previous starts was that Bailey gave back early leads. He had a 3-0 first-inning lead in his first start and a 4-0 lead after the second inning of the second start. Both leads were blown quickly.
Lifetime vs. the Pirates, Bailey is 8-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 16 games, which includes a no-hitter.
First pitch is at 7:10pm on FSN OHIO, Radio (700 WLW).