The Cincinnati Reds try to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first of a three-game series between National League Central rivals on Tuesday night. The first pitch for the series opener is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. ET at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
The Reds dropped the final two games of a weekend series with the St. Louis Cardinals, falling to 75-69. Cincinnati is in second place in the NL Central, trailing the first-place Milwaukee Brewers by 14 games. The Reds are currently in the second Wild Card spot in the National League, but they are only a half-game ahead of both the San Diego Padres and the Cardinals.
Pittsburgh won two out of three against the Washington Nationals in their weekend series at home. The Pirates are in last place in the NL Central, trailing the fourth-place Chicago Cubs by 12½ games.
The Reds have dropped six of their last nine and 12 of 18 games, but they still feel confident they’re going to be in the postseason. Cincinnati has a favorable schedule, with nine games against the last-place Pirates and four against the Washington Nationals, who are in fourth in the NL East.
“We’re not down on ourselves at all,” Reds second baseman Jonathan India said after Sunday’s loss. “It’s tough, for sure. We’re going to come through; I know we are. I know we’re going to make that playoff spot. At the end of this, we’re going to laugh at it. We’re going to laugh at these losses.”
Left-hander Wade Miley will get the start in the series opener. Miley is 12-5 with a 2.89 ERA and will be making his third start against the Pirates.
In those previous two starts against Pittsburgh, Miley is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA over 13 innings. The 34-year-old is coming off a win against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 7 in which he went seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits, including a home run.
The Reds’ offense was quiet on Sunday, managing just five hits and no runs in the loss to the Cardinals. India had one of those hits and he should be excited to see the Pirates again, as he’s batting .346 with two home runs and 11 RBIs against Pittsburgh this season.
Outfielder Tyler Naquin had four home runs and 12 RBIs against Pittsburgh, but his status for this game is uncertain. Naquin sat out Sunday’s loss against St. Louis with a rib injury suffered when he collided in the outfield with teammate Jose Barrero on Saturday.
Playing It Out
The Pittsburgh Pirates has won four of six on its current homestand, taking the first two games of each of the last two series. The Pirates have been out of the playoff hunt for a while now, so a number of young players are getting their chances to gain experience.
Left-hander Dillon Peters will be on the mound for the Pirates. He’s 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA, making a total of four starts.
Peters is coming off a no-decision against Detroit on Sept. 7, as he allowed two runs on three hits over four innings in a 3-2 win. His worst outing was an Aug. 27 start against St. Louis, in which he went five innings and allowed three runs on six hits, including a home run, in a 4-3 Pirates loss.
Outfielder Bryan Reynolds has been the most consistent offensive threat for the Pirates, leading the team with a .299 batting average, 23 home runs and 85 RBIs. He’s batting .321 against Cincinnati with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and five RBIs.
Cincinnati has dominated the season series, winning nine of the 10 meetings. The Pirates’ one win against came in the only series played in Pittsburgh.
Vladimir Gutierrez (9-6, 4.05 ERA) will get the start for Wednesday’s game for Cincinnati, with Tyler Mahle (11-5, 3.73) to follow on Thursday. The Pirates will counter with Mitch Keller (4-11, 6.29) and Steven Brault (0-3, 5.86).
The MLB series prices for this three-game set have the Reds at -230, while the Pirates are listed at +180.
Reds Win Opener
Cincinnati has dominated Pittsburgh and that should continue throughout this series. The Reds have much more incentive to win, as they could find themselves out of the Wild Card lead with just one loss.
When doing your MLB betting, take Cincinnati to win on the road.