Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#903 Pittsburgh Pirates vs.
#904 Cincinnati Reds
Monday, May 27, 2019 at 1:10pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy

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When and where: May 27, 2019, Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, OH, 1:10 PM ET

There are few better ways to bring in Memorial Day than an MLB doubleheader between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. The second game later in the day will be a make-up game of a March 30 meeting that was washed out and postponed. So this game was moved up 1:10 to ensure a time slot for both games was available. Reds right-handed pitcher Luis Castillo will start off the festivities against Pittsburgh’s Nick Kingham.

Musgrove calling for help in Pittsburgh

Things are starting to reach a level of desperation for the Pirates, where even pitcher Joe Musgrove is starting to call for action from the front office. The Pirates are barely keeping their head above water despite the losses in their pitching rotation.

Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon are both out with injuries, leaving the team with a lack of standout talent to contend in a division with the Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and St. Louis Cardinals.

Of course the name Dallas Keuchel came up.

“It would be nice to have another starter that we can run out there,” Musgrove told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette late Saturday night. “Not to say that [Steven] Brault and Rookie [Davis] — I heard [Mitch] Keller’s coming up — can’t do it. But if you look at the staffs around the league and the division we’re in, it’s tough. We have to be running out the best thing we have every night. That’s what we’re trying to do right now.”

Keuchel, a free agent, would be a huge addition to the lineup, although a long-shot with other bidders out there. The Pirates still haven’t even decided on who will take the mound first in Monday’s game against the Reds. They are already coming off a couple of series losses in three-game meetings with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado Rockies. A bad series against the Reds could potentially force them to the bottom of the division.

Kingham gets the start on Monday after a pair of horrendous performances against the Rockies and Diamondbacks. He spent a total of eight innings on the mound combined in both games and allowed 19 hits and 13 runs, including two homers. His season ERA sits at 8.76, along with a 1.99 WHIP and a 1-1 record.

Reds hanging tough in a rough stretch

The Reds have somehow turned a murderer’s row stretch into respectable outings that have at least kept them in the hunt of improving from being the worst team in the NL Central. They currently sit at the bottom of the division with a 24-28 record and a four-game meeting with the Pirates next on the itinerary.

They managed to knock off the Cubs at home before stealing one game against the Dodgers in a three-game series. They then went on to split even with the Milwaukee Brewers on the road and take two games in a three-game meeting with the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Those strong showings have put them in a position to close the gap on the fourth-place Pirates on Monday.

Reds fans will be glad to see Castillo on the mound. The 26-year-old righty is pitching a 2.38 ERA with a 1.04 WHIP so far this season. He carries a 5-1 record and a chip on his shoulder after a disappointing two-plus inning showing against the Brewers, who lit him up for five hits, four earned runs and two homers. In his last home game, he only allowed two earned runs in five-plus innings pitching against the Cubs.

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The momentum has completely shifted for the Pirates and Reds. After sweeping the Padres, the Pirates are now 1-5 in their last six games after getting a return sweep at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Meanwhile, the Reds dropped 10 points on the road on Sunday to close out the Cubs. The series win over the Cubs makes me even more confident the Reds will come into Monday’s game with more fight to dig themselves out of last place.

They can find solace in the fact that Castillo will be on the mound. His mere presence typically signals good things for the Reds. He has a decent track record against the Pirates with 4.00 ERA and 12 earned runs in 27 innings pitched. However, the primary concern with this game will be the Pirates pitching rotation. Granted, they faced one of the best batting teams in the league in the Dodgers, but they were also getting pummeled by unacceptable margins. They gave up a combined 28 runs in three games.

The Reds will be able to find success against the Pirates’ defense and eventually pave a path to victory through the arm of Castillo and the bullpen. In Kingham’s last seven appearances on the mound, the Pirates are 0-7 in those games. I like the Reds to take the series opener.

Prediction: Cincinnati Reds (-208)

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The Pirates and Reds are clearly playing over their heads at the plate right now. Despite being one of the worst run-scoring teams in the league, the Pirates are averaging six runs in their last three outings, while the Reds have put up an average of seven runs. Both teams had that sort of offensive success against two of the best teams in the league in the Dodgers and Cubs. They should be able to replicate it on Monday considering both of their defensive shortcomings. I like the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (9)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

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