Cincinnati Reds probable pitchers & starting lineup vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, April 21

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Probable starting pitchers

Thank goodness it's Doug Day! While Luke Weaver wasn't as bad as his stat line would suggest, going down 4-0 in the the first inning didn't help this struggling Cincinnati Reds lineup.

Hopefully there's not too much concern on that front with Graham Ashcraft on the bump today for the Reds. Cincinnati will be sending Ashcraft to the hill for a fourth time this season. The right-hander owns a 1.42 ERA and didn't allow a single run during his last outing.

Opposing Graham Ashcraft will be Pittsburgh Pirates starter Mitch Keller. The 27-year-old has 25 strikeouts in 23.2 innings of work, but looked very shaky in his last outing against the St. Louis Cardinals. Keller allowed three runs on seven hits and walked two while punching out just three.

Cincinnati Reds starting lineup

David Bell is going to stick with his revamped lineup for the second day in a row. Jonathan India will lead things off and play second base. He'll be followed by the trio of TJ Friedl, Spencer Steer, and Jake Fraley.

Tyler Stephenson will be behind the plate for the 10th time this season, and he'll be batting fifth. Following Stephenson will be Wil Myers, Jason Vosler, Nick Senzel, and Jose Barrero. The Reds need to get better production from the bottom-third of the lineup tonight.

Which Cincinnati Reds player needs to bounce back in tonight's game?

Let's give Spencer Steer the benefit of the doubt. The Cincinnati Reds third baseman had missed the previous three games due to injury and looked a little rusty on Thursday night. Steer was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, though he did record a sacrifice fly that scored Jonathan India in the eighth inning.

But Steer has to be better than he was last night. It's easy to think that Steer has been in the majors for years due to his calm and mature approach at the dish. But let's not lose sight of the fact that he's barelt begun his major league career. Look for Spencer Steer to get hot tonight against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Which Cincinnati Reds player will be the X-factor in tonight's game?

Jose Barrero has slowly, but steadily shown improvement at the plate this season. While his defense has been less than stellar, Barrero has cut down on the number of strikeouts and has even drawn a considerable amount of walks.

The Reds need that dynamic athletic ability to shine through. Barrero has always been lauded for his defense. While the 24-year-old has a cannon for a right arm and plenty of range, Barrero hasn't looked overly smooth thus far. If Jose Barrero can meld his new hitting approach with the above-average defense he's capable of playing, he could be an X-factor in tonight's game.

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