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3 key things to watch for in the Reds upcoming series with the Pirates

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) eyes a tag.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson (37) eyes a tag. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds (3-22) limp back home having lost six straight games on their road trip to Denver and Milwaukee and nine consecutive games overall. Maybe some home cookin' will help the Redlegs regain some semblance of a winning attitude as they're set to entertain the Pittsburgh Pirates for four games over the next three days.

Pittsburgh was on the docket for Cincinnati during the first week of the 2022 season, but due to the MLB lockout pushing back Opening Day until April 7th, some creative scheduling had to take place. The Reds and Pirates will play a double-header on Saturday at Great American Ball Park.

While few fans expected the Reds to compete for the division title this season, I doubt anyone could have foreseen the train wreck that is Cincinnati's 2022 campaign. The Reds can't seem to hit, pitch, or even field the ball properly over the first month-plus of the season.

But at some point, the bats will show up, the team will be healthy, and the wins will come, right? Perhaps this weekend will be the starting point of a special month of May for the Reds. Let's breakdown three things to watch for in the upcoming series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds.

1. Can Reds RHP Connor Overton give David Bell a quality start?

I don't think anyone throughout Reds Country knew the name Connor Overton until he took the ball to begin Cincinnati's game last Saturday at Coors Field. Overton was signed to a minor league contract this past spring and was sent to Triple-A Louisville prior to joining the team last weekend.

Overton went 5.1 innings last week against the Rockies, allowed three hits and only one run dented the plate. The right-hander struck out three batters and walked two before leaving the mound with the lead. Unfortunately, the bullpen was unable to maintain it.

Given that the Reds will be entertaining the Buccos for four games over the next three days, Cincinnati manager David Bell needs to get a quality start (six innings of three runs or less) from Connor Overton on Friday evening. The starting pitching over the last four games has only covered 11 of 27 innings and allowed 25 runs. Ouch!

The Reds bullpen has been taxed ever since the season began, and with four more games over the next three days, you know the relief corps is going to put in some work. Cincinnati's bullpen has not been the greatest, so let's hope the former Pirates' hurler can take out some frustrations against his old team and eat some innings on Friday night.

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