Reds vs Pirates: Pitching preview, prediction and more

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 14: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds congratulates Nick Castellanos #2 after Castellanos hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning.
CINCINNATI, OH – APRIL 4: Kyle Farmer #17 of the Cincinnati Reds congratulates Nick Castellanos #2 after Castellanos hit a three-run home run in the fifth inning. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

To quote Meat Loaf, “two out of three ain’t bad.” Just maybe this is the season where the Reds aren’t playing catch up by the middle of April, as has been the case of recent years. After finishing last in the NL in hitting last year, the Cincinnati bats lit up the GABP scoreboard like a Christmas tree over the weekend.

When he wasn’t causing the entire Cardinals team to lose their minds, outfielder Nick Castellanos blasted a pair of home runs and collected six hits in 11 at-bats while driving in five. Additionally, rookie second baseman Jonathan India made an incredible first impression. India opened his MLB career with a pair of multi-hit games while playing exceptional defense.

India wasn’t the only one to make a splash in his debut Reds series. Outfielder Tyler Naquin received two starts against the Cardinals, and he did not disappoint. The former Cleveland Indian went deep off St. Louis reliever Tyler Webb for a three-run shot Sunday afternoon, which followed a two-run scoring single Saturday.

But it wasn’t all about the hitting, as the Redlegs received a couple of excellent starts from Tyler Mahle and Jeff Hoffman. The pair of right-handers combined to yield just three runs in 10 innings while fanning 15 Redbirds. That’s getting it done.

Prediction

After taking two of three from the St. Louis Cardinals, this is the type of series where Cincinnati needs to assert their dominance versus Pittsburgh. The Pirates are an inferior team in every facet and the Reds need to take advantage of this early-season matchup.

Ump's explanation of Castellanos' ejection is lame. Next

Despite having two of their best starting pitchers (Sonny Gray and Michael Lorenzen) still on the IL, look for the Reds to take two of three before heading to the desert and facing the Arizona Diamondbacks to begin their first road trip of the season.