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!
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.
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]