Series #9: Seeing Red Again

Series Quick Look
Monday, May 1: Reds 4, Pirates 3 (10 innings)
Tuesday, May 2:
Pirates 12, Reds 3
Wednesday, May 3, 7:10PM
Thursday, May 4, 12:35PM
at Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH

The Pirates and Reds will meet for the second time this season and first at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Their three-game series in April was one of the worst series I can remember the Pirates playing in quite some time. None of the games were close and the Pirates made the Reds rookie pitchers look like Cy Young and Warren Spahn. This four game series will be games four through seven of 19 that they will face each other this season. After this series, we won’t see the Reds again until the beginning of August when the teams play 12 times in the final two months of the season.

ALL-TIME RECORD: Pirates lead 1,178-1,168
Last matchup…April 10-12, 2017. Reds swept the Pirates in Pittsburgh, outscoring them 22-5.

About the Reds:
After sweeping the Pirates on April 12, the Reds were off to a 7-2 start. Since then, they’ve gone 4-11 including dropping their next 7-of-9 after the first meeting with the Pirates. But even with the Reds crashing back to Earth, let’s hope the Pirates don’t help them out again and struggle against a lesser-talented team. The Reds pitching has blew up since the first time we saw the Reds as they rank 12th in ERA- and 11th in FIP-. While they’re not getting on base at a great pace (.316 OBP), they’re hitting the ball out of the park still and playing superb defense. The Reds have hit 33 home runs in 24 games that fits their ballpark perfectly. Despite what you think of the Reds, this series will be a difficult test for the Pirates rotation. The Reds have the same 11-13 record as the Pirates, but they’re 2-8 in their past 10 games.


5/1: RHP Gerrit Cole (3.60 ERA/3.99 FIP, 100 FIP-) vs.
LHP Amir Garrett (5.09 ERA/4.41 FIP, 104 FIP-)

Gerrit Cole is set to make his sixth start of 2017 and build on his last start that was his best of the season. Cole struck out eight Cubs over 7.0 innings and allowed just two hits and one unearned run in the hard luck 1-0 loss to Chicago. This will be his first start against the Reds after missing them the first time around. The Bucs will face Garrett again after not having much of an answer against him on April 12 when he picked up the win in 6.2 innings of work with just two runs allowed. Garrett will make his 5th start of his career and is coming off an awful start in which he allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in just 3.1 innings in an 11-7 loss at Milwaukee. That horrid start ballooned his ERA from 1.83 to 5.09. He’ll look to get back on track against a team he had success against last month.

5/2: RHP Tyler Glasnow (7.98 ERA/4.66 FIP, 116 FIP-) vs.
RHP Scott Feldman (3.25 ERA/4.11 FIP, 97 FIP-)

The Glasnow traveling show comes to Cincinnati in what will surely be “we have no idea what to expect” kind of performance. Glasnow has pitched five innings just once in four starts, and that’s something he needs to work on in this start and after. Going right after hitters and trusting his changeup to help get outs and limiting that pitch count from rising to 20+ pitches every inning. There’s been flashes of brilliance, but there’s also been a lot of negatives as TG looks for more consistency. Glasnow faces Scott Feldman, the 34-year-old Hawaii native, who signed a one-year deal worth $2.3M this offseason with the Reds. Feldman will make his sixth start of the season and surprisingly has been a steady arm for the Reds this season at a 3.25 ERA and 97 FIP-. The Pirates haven’t seen Feldman since all the way in 2010 when he was a member of the Rangers in interleague play. Feldman has walked 4.2 batters per nine so far this season. He’s pitching for his sixth team of his 13-year MLB career.

5/3: RHP Jameson Taillon (2.08 ERA/3.58 FIP, 90 FIP-) vs.
RHP Rookie Davis (11.17 ERA/7.37 FIP, 171 FIP-)

Taillon has picked up right where he left off last season in providing the Pirates with great pitching every fifth day and has become one of their most reliable pitchers. After a dominant start on April 16 versus the Cubs, Taillon hasn’t been as sharp in his last two starts out, but still did enough to get 5.0 innings and the win last time out. This will be his sixth start of the season and second against the Reds are getting the no-decision on April 11 with two runs allowed in 6.0 innings. The Reds will counter with Rookie Davis, who believe it or not, is a rookie. Davis is struggling majorly in his first season in MLB and will look to turn it around against a team he faced earlier this season in his most productive start to date. He walked four in four innings, but only gave up one run on April 11 when the Pirates couldn’t come through with a big hit against Davis. Rookie is walked 6.5 per nine and has allowed 18 hits in just 9.2 innings. The Pirates have to get to Davis this time around.

5/4: RHP Ivan Nova (1.50 ERA/2.69 FIP, 68 FIP-) vs.
RHP Tim Adleman (4.70 ERA/6.09 FIP, 142 FIP-)

What else is there to say about Nova right now? He’s been Mr. Efficient in 2017 and fired a complete-game shutout last time out against the Marlins in what is termed as a Maddux (CGSO in 99 pitches or less). All you need to know about Nova is he has five complete games and four walks through 16 starts with Pittsburgh. He had his worst start of the season against the Reds on April 12 (6.o, 8H, 4R, 3ER, 0BB, 1K) in a 9-2 loss. He’ll look to rebound against the Reds Thursday afternoon on getaway day. Bucs will face Reds starter Tim Adleman, who will make his third start of the season and just 16th of his career. Adleman has struggled this year, but he’s only walked three while striking out 15 in 15.1 innings. He faced the Pirates twice last season and of course, went 6.0 innings with just two runs allowed in each. Adleman started this season in Triple-A Louisville before receiving the call due to the rash of injuries to the Reds pitching staff (Finnegan, DeSclafani, Cingrani and Bailey on all DL).

TV (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday): ROOT Sports Pittsburgh and Fox Sports Ohio
TV (Thursday): ROOT Sports Pittsburgh only.
Radio (All games): KDKA-FM 93.7


Jung Ho Kang (3B): Restricted List (March 11)—Work visa denied.
Starling Marte (OF): Suspended 80 games (April 18)—Use of PED’s.
Adam Frazier (2B/OF): 10-Day DL (April 24)—Left hamstring strain.
Antonio Bastardo (P): 10-Day DL (April 25)—Left quad strain. 
David Freese (3B/1B): 10-day DL (April 29)—Right hamstring strain. 

Nick Travieso (P): 60-Day DL (April 2)—Right shoulder inflammation.
Nefi Ogando (P): 10-Day DL (April 2)—Right thumb inflammation.
Brandon Finnegan (P):10-Day DL (April 16)—Left shoulder strain.
Anthony DeSclafani (P): 60-Day DL (April 5)—UCL sprain in right elbow.
Tony Cingrani (P): 10-Day DL (April 21)—Right oblique strain.
Homer Bailey (P): 60-Day DL (Feb. 14)—Recovering from right elbow surgery.

Josh Bell is heating up after a slow start to the season. In his last 14 games, Bell is slashing .341/.449/.634 with four home runs, seven RBIs, eight walks and 11 strikeouts. This coming after a .138/.219/.207 slow start to 2017. Bell also leads the Pirates in average exit velocity with a 91.8 mph EV, tied with Bryce Harper in the top 35 among MLB hitters.

Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is a great defender and base stealer, however, he is not a great hitter…except for when he plays the Pirates. Hamilton is a career .245 hitter with a 70 wRC+ and a 37 wRC+ this season, but none of that matters when Hamilton sees the Pirates pitcher on the mound. Hamilton hits .320/.365/.376 with 40 stolen bases against the Bucs, and he did it again in the series in April, going 5-for-15 with a couple stolen bases as well. Keep him off base this series!

The Reds may be in a rebuild and not going anywhere this season, but they are showing tons of power through one month this season. Cincinnati ranks third in the National League in ISO (.194) and SLG (.448) behind just the Brewers and Nationals. Joey Votto and Scott Schebler are tied for 5th in the NL with eight home runs each. Adam Duvall has hit seven HRs and Eugenio Suarez has five home runs. Suarez also leads the NL in bWAR along with Harper with a 1.9 WAR.

The Reds feature one of the best defensive units in the NL through 24 games this season. The Reds are first in DRS with +10, second in UZR with 7.1 and first in DEF (Defensive Runs Above Average with an 8.1. Individually, Suarez has already posted +5 DRS at third base which ranks second behind Addison Russell among all NL defenders.

This four-game series is the middle of a stretch of games where the Pirates play 14-out-of-17 games on the road. Following this series, the Pirates play the Brewers for a three-game series in Pittsburgh before heading right back to the road with a seven-game roadtrip out west to Los Angeles and Arizona. The Bucs are 5-7 on the road so far this season.

The Pirates head to PNC Park for a quick three-game series with the Brewers from Friday to Sunday before heading back on the road.

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