Pirates and Reds kick-off a crucial three-game set in Cincinnati
Pittsburgh took two of three from the Cubs this week including an 8-4 victory on Wednesday as a 121 road favorite to stay within three games of Cincinnati in the heated NL Central race. The Pirates come into this series 60-44 overall and 27-28 on the road. The total has gone ‘over’ in four of their last six games.
The Pirates have not been known for their offensive firepower this season but they have pounded-out a total of 40 runs in their last eight games while going 6-2. They will try and close the gap with the Reds by sending Wandy Rodriguez to the mound in Friday’s Game 1 of this crucial three-game set. The left-hander made his first start for his new team after going 7-9 in 21 starts for Houston this year. His overall ERA is 3.82 and he has a 1.30 WHIP. Rodriguez is 8-10 against Cincinnati with an ERA of 4.42.
There is no team hotter in the Majors right now than the Reds. Since mid-July, they have lost just once to go 12-1 in their last 13 games. They kicked-off the month of August with a 6-4 victory over San Diego as 175 home favorites and close-out the extended four-game series on Thursday. Cincinnati is now 63-41 overall and 33-19 at home. The total has gone ‘over’ in five of its last seven games.
Everything has been clicking for this team even with its top slugger Joey Votto still on the mend with a knee injury. The Reds are ranked seventh in the NL in scoring, but their overall pitching has carried the load with a team ERA of 3.37. They will go with Mat Latos as their starter in this one. The right-hander is 9-3 this season with a 4.17 ERA in 21 previous starts. He has given-up three or less earned runs in eight of his last 10 outings and looked especially sharp in eight innings of work this past Sunday against Colorado. Latos is 3-0 against the Pirates with a 2.16 ERA.
Both teams come into this division showdown in excellent form as two of the best teams in the NL. The edge in this matchup goes to Cincinnati with Latos on the mound, but stick with the Pirates to draw first blood in this series to improve to 7-1 in their last eight games at the Great American Ballpark. Pittsburgh 6 Cincinnati 4