Reds vs Pirates: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is restrained by Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during a bench clearing altercation in the 9th inning of the gameat Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds is restrained by Colin Moran #19 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during a bench clearing altercation in the 9th inning of the gameat Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Josh Bell is deadly against the Cincinnati Reds
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 28: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Pirates slugger enjoys playing against the Reds

Don’t let the slow start fool you Reds Country. If Josh Bell is going to break out of his early-season slump, chances are it will be this weekend. The switch-hitting slugger rakes every time he enters Great American Ball Park.

Entering tonight’s game, Bell is slashing an ugly .213/.246./328 with two round-trippers. However, lifetime the soon-to-be 28-year-old is hitting .296 with four home runs and nine doubles in 32 games in Cincinnati. His career .376 OBP at GABP is his highest in any visiting park in the NL Central.

Last year was a career year for Bell and he can thank the Reds pitching staff for much of his success. During the 2019 campaign, Bell slashed .297/.343/.625 versus Redleg hurlers. The five homers off Reds pitching was the most he had against any opponent in 2019.

Throughout his career, Bell has absolutely punished the sinker. According to FanGraphs, he’s slashing a  frightening 326/.415/.550 against the pitch. As a result, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray will need to tread carefully when the Pittsburgh first baseman steps to the plate.

If there’s one pitch Josh Bell has struggled with in his career it’s the slider. Per FanGraphs, lifetime Bell’s slashed just .217/.310/.487 against the pitch. If the game is in the balance this weekend, look for Reds manager David Bell to call upon Amir Garrett to have Josh Bell hit from the right side and receive a steady diet of sliders.