May 3, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake (44) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: June 17-20 Reds vs. Pirates

After a 5-2 week against the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers, the Reds were able to gain some ground on the division leading St. Louis Cardinals. A task that has seemed beyond impossible at times this year.

This week it’s time to face another team that is trying to establish themselves into a contender, the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Pirates, currently making their third consecutive run at relevancy are getting themselves into this fight with the Reds and Cardinals, stop me if you’ve heard this story before.

All joking aside, the Pirates are a team that has a solid bullpen, a rotation that through a few injuries is still productive, and a lineup that has a lot of power. This is a very important four game set between these two teams, lets look at some important keys to the series.

1. Pitching Matchups

Monday: Mike Leake (6-3, 2.76 ERA, 59 K) vs Francisco Liriano (5-2, 2.36 ERA, 49K)
Tuesday: Mat Latos (6-0, 3.08 ERA, 78 K) vs. Charlie Morton (0-1, 3.60 ERA, 5K)
Wednesday: Bronson Arroyo (6-5, 3.27 ERA, 53K) vs. Jeff Locke (6-1, 2.19 ERA, 60K)
Thursday: Homer Bailey (4-5, 3.80 ERA, 87K) vs. Brandon Cumpton (0-0. 5.40 ERA, 5K)

The Reds will not see rookie sensation Gerrit Cole in this series, nor will they see A.J. Burnett or Wandy Rodriguez. This is good news.

Francisco Liriano pitched very well his last game against the Reds, but was defeated by Mike Leake. Mat Latos should have a couple wins against the Pirates as well, had it not been for his bullpen blowing games in April and June. Not to mention Homer Bailey has made a pretty nice living going against the Pirates.

2. Keep the pressure on
As mention before, the Reds have lost two games against the Pirates in late innings. in their six games this season, Cincinnati has been victorious twice.

The Reds have let the Pirates back into the games they lead, (see April 14 or June 2nd) or have battled back and forth with the team going blow for blow, just to miss the knockout punch.

Keep the pressure on the Pirates, do not let them get back in games. The numbers show that if Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli come into the game this year, the opponent is in trouble.

3. Jay Bruce

The Reds right fielder is very important to the Reds success, no doubt about it. Last week Bruce hit .366 with two home runs, four RBI, and five of the eleven hits he had were for extra bases. Jay has a solid line this year of .283/.330/.495 with twelve home runs and 47 RBI.

This series will start a stretch where the Reds play 19 of their next 26 games against teams with a winning record. Now is the time for a big series from this team.

Tags: Cincinnati Reds Pittsburgh Pirates

comments powered by Disqus