Reds vs. Pirates: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 07: Tyler Naquin #12 of the Cincinnati Reds crosses home plate. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 07: Tyler Naquin #12 of the Cincinnati Reds crosses home plate. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch.
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – JULY 10: Vladimir Gutierrez #53 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Pirates

Sonny Gray (3-6 4.26 ERA) kicks things off for the Redlegs tonight as he opposes Wil Crowe (3-5 5.40 ERA) of the Pirates. Let’s hope Gray’s last start is a harbinger for the remainder of the 2021 campaign.

Tossing six innings of one-run ball against the New York Mets, the Cincinnati right-hander dominated the Metropolitans by striking out seven in earning the victory. April of 2019 was the last time the Pirates defeated Gray, and the Vanderbilt alum has allowed more than one earned run only once in his last five starts against Pittsburgh.

Rookie Wil Crow will be making his first start against the Reds. The right-hander has struggled to keep opponents off the base paths. In 71.2 innings of work this season, 108 batters have reached safely via a hit or base on balls. So don’t expect Crow’s debut at Great American Ball Park to be an enjoyable one.

More from Blog Red Machine

Friday night finds Wade Miley (8-4 2.92 ERA) taking the mound as he squares off against JT Brubaker (4-10 4.49 ERA). The Reds left-hander was his typical bulldog self holding the Mets to three runs on four hits over seven solid frames in his last start.

The Cincinnati southpaw dominated the Bucs earlier this season, allowing just two hits in six shutout innings. Look for Miley to keep the ball in the park Friday night. Pittsburgh has failed to take Miley deep the last five times they’ve faced each other.

JT Brubaker has proven to be a  tough customer for the Redlegs. The 27-year-old right-hander has allowed just three runs in 15.1 innings in his three career starts versus Cincinnati. Joey Votto is hitless in five at-bats with two punch outs against Brubaker. It’s time for that to change.

Saturday night’s all right for Vladimir Gutierrez (6-3 4.39 ERA) as he toes the rubber facing Mitch Keller (3-8 7.05 ERA) of the Bucs. So, which rookie pitcher who made their debut in 2021 leads MLB in victories? That’s right. It’s Vladimir Gutierrez. Not bad for a guy who made his MLB debut on May 28th.

The Cuban right-hander was sensational his last time on the bump.  Gutierrez seeks to have similar success back home in the Queen City after bewildering the Mets in the Big Apple with seven innings of three-hit one-run baseball. This will be his first time facing Pittsburgh.

How does Mitch Keller fair against Cincinnati? In a word, awful. Making four career starts versus the Redlegs, the right-hander has surrendered 22 hits, 17 runs, and five gopher balls in 16.1 frames. In addition, Tucker Barnhart and Nick Castellanos have each taken the former second-round draft pick deep twice.

Sunday’s matinee series finale will feature Tyler Mahle (8-3 3.86 ERA) battling Pittsburgh’s Bryce Wilson (2-4 4.42 ERA). Following an outstanding performance versus the Chicago Cubs, Mahle could not duplicate that success in his last start facing the Minnesota Twins.

Working five innings, the Reds’ right-hander allowed four runs on six hits, including a back-breaking two-out three-run blast to Twins catcher Mitch Garvey in Mahle’s final frame. However, the sight of the Pirates should give the California native confidence. Mahle has yielded just a single run over his last 10.1 innings against the Bucs with a dozen punchouts.

Newly acquired right-hander Bryse Wilson will be making his first start against the Redlegs. This will be Wilson’s second start as a Pirate after being obtained from Atlanta in the deal that sent reliever Richard Rodriguez to the Braves on July 30th.