The Cincinnati Reds and the Pittsburgh Pirates are meeting up for the fourth time this season. Cincinnati is sort of got it together lately, rolling into Monday night’s opener of a four-game set in Pittsburgh while the struggling Pirates are searching for answers.
After an 8-7 loss last Monday at home against Pittsburgh, the Reds took the next two and have won four of five, matching their win total from their first 13 games. Cincinnati’s starters have posted a 0.98 ERA in the last four victories after Homer Bailey tossed six scoreless innings in Sunday’s 8-2 win over the Cubs.
A number of Reds hitters are starting to get in a groove, with Joey Votto hitting .368 with 10 runs in his last 11 games after going 6 for 25 through his first seven games of the season. He has reached base in 17 of his last 18 against Pittsburgh and was 6 for 10 in last week’s series with two homers, including one off Francisco Liriano, who will start tonight.
Billy Hamilton is 7 for 18 with five stolen bases during a five-game hitting streak. Devin Mesoraco was 3 for 4 yesterday afternoon with his sixth double, and he’s hit safely in all nine games after starting the season on the disabled list with a strained oblique.
The Pirates meanwhile, have lost eight of 10. They lost to the Milwaukee Brewers in 14 innings yesterday 3-2.
Outfielder Travis Snider was ejected for his role in a third-inning benching brawl, which was ignited when Gerrit Cole took exception to Carlos Gomez’s bat flip following a two-out triple. Snider likely faces a suspension, on the real Gomez’s bat flips are pretty damn uncalled for, that’s just me.
Reds will have Mike Leake on the mound tonight (2-1, 2.95 ERA) in his last start he limited the Pirates to three runs and matched a career high with eight strikeouts over 6 2-3 innings of a 7-5 Reds victory last Tuesday. Leake, who also doubled and hit a two-run homer off Cole, has won four straight starts against the Pirates while posting a 2.49 ERA.
Liriano is in danger of losing a fourth straight start. He’s has a 5.21 ERA in three outings since throwing six scoreless innings on Opening Day.
Liriano, who beat the Reds in the wild-card game, fell to 0-4 in five regular-season matchups against the Reds on Wednesday by allowing three runs over seven innings in a 4-0 loss. Votto’s seventh-inning homer was the fourth Liriano has allowed in 25 innings this season.
Cincinnati Pitchers have to do a better job in containing McCutchen, Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez were a combined 14 for 36 (.389) in last week’s series with Walker homering three times. Walker has seven homers in his last eight meetings with the Reds, he’s becoming a new “Reds Killer.”
First pitch from PNC Park is at 7:05pm, catch the game on FSN Ohio or ESPN, radio always on 700 WLW.