by Steve Mancuso

RC+ Preview: Reds vs. Pirates (July 29) – Sonny Gray back on the mound

The Reds (48-55) have won two series in a row. They’ve opened up a modest 3-game lead over the last-place Pirates. But Pittsburgh holds a 7-3 edge on the Reds this season. It’s a 3-game series ending with a daytime game on Wednesday.

Feel free to discuss the game in the comments as it goes on. We’ll be around to chat!

Pitching Matchup

Heavy, heavy advantage to the Cincinnati Reds.

Sonny Gray continues to have a tremendous season for the Reds. His xFIP of 3.35 ranks 10th in baseball out of all starting pitchers. His xwOBA of .277 ranks twelfth out of 112 pitchers with at least 350 balls put in play. He leads Luis Castillo in both those categories.

For the third game in a row, the Reds face a pitcher with few major league starts. Alex McRae was a last-minute replacement for Jordan Lyles who the Pirates traded to the Brewers this afternoon. McRae made 16 starts for the Pirates AAA team (4.63 xFIP) and has five relief appearances for the Pirates. It’ll be his first major league start.

Batting Order

David Bell is going with a LH-heavy lineup. Jesse Winker and Joey Votto lead off. Winker is playing CF allowing the hot-hitting Josh VanMeter to play LF and bat 5th. Scooter Gennett, another LH bat, bats sixth and plays 2B. Jose Iglesias at SS, Tucker Barnhart behind the plate.

Nick Senzel sits. Is it a punishment for getting thrown out of yesterday’s game? Is he not feeling well? Is it just a choice David Bell has made to play Scooter Gennett (and Jesse Winker and Josh VanMeter) ahead of him? We don’t know. There hasn’t been any reporting out of the clubhouse this afternoon about it. At least as of 5 p.m. We’ll update if we hear anything.

Starling Marte, Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds make up a tough 3-4-5 for the Pirates. Bell’s offensive production (143 wRC+) is just a hair below MVP levels.

[Graphic: Baseball Press]

Pirates Hitter Stats

Reds Hitter Stats

[Graphics: Baseball Savant]

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Matt Wilkes
1 year ago

Petition for the Reds to score 10 runs every inning.

R Smith
R Smith
1 year ago

This may be the series the Reds pass the Pirates and end last place in the NL central. Go Reds. Onward.