Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#5955 Cincinnati Reds vs.
#5956 Pittsburgh Pirates
Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Jordy

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With the regular season series tied 5-5, the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates aim to take the lead in Saturday’s NL Central divisional showdown. It took a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the ninth inning for the Pirates to get the win on Friday night. They’ll try to stay on the winning track in the second game of the ensuing series in their bid to avoid a last place finish in the NL Central division. Justin Dunn is set to start at pitcher for the Reds against Pittsburgh’s Tyler Beede.

Bullpen flounders for Reds

The Reds blew it late.

They had the Pirates on the ropes with a chance to put the game away on Friday night, but in the bottom of the ninth inning, Kevin Newman and Michael Chavis bulldozed over those plans with a pair of clutch at-bats.

It’s no surprised with the Reds having a bullpen with the worst ERA in the league. Letdowns happen when you can’t trust the relief help to hold up down the stretch. So that puts even more pressure on the starters, particularly pitcher Justin Dunn (8.64 ERA) in Saturday’s game. Can he limit the Reds offensively enough to give his struggling bullpen a fighting chance?

Dunn has only had two starts on the mound this season, and this start will come on the road against the Pirates. Perhaps he’ll finally be able to put the pieces together against a Pirates team only averaging the second-most hits in the league.

If the Reds jump out in front this time around, they have to hold on for dear life for a victory to help salvage a still winnable series.

The Pirates rally to even the series

The Pirates and Reds are split right down the middle in their regular season series meetings. So naturally, Pittsburgh will be looking to pull out another victory to keep from being deemed as the worst team in the division. The fight not to be in last place is fierce in this divisional tilt.

But there’s no certainty the Pirates will continue to find their bats. They’re averaging the third-least runs in the league with the team slashing a pitiful .220/.288/.363 on the season. But they came to life against a Reds team that ranks among the worst defensively in the league. Let’s see if they can handle their business without the offensive dramatics in the rematch.

Tyler Beede will be starting at pitcher with a 3.72 ERA and 1.47 WHIP on the season. He has clearly struggled when throwing at PNC Park this season. The last thing Pittsburgh needs is a pitching meltdown and the Reds regaining confidence.

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It’s hard trusting either one of these teams considering the struggles of both. This series pits two of the worst teams in the National League against one another.

However, PNC Park has been no safe haven for Tyler Beede. Sure, the Pirates are playing better at home this season, but the team’s starting pitcher isn’t pitching his best baseball under his own roof. When playing in Pittsburgh, he’s throwing a 4.71 ERA on the season with 12 game appearances and one start. Those home struggles will come back to haunt him against a Reds team that’ll be eager to respond after Friday night’s letdown game.

If not for a ninth-inning meltdown by the bullpen, the Reds would have won in the opener and been on a two-game winning streak against the Pirates. There will be no such heroics in Saturday’s rematch as the Reds hit their offensive stride and put forth a stronger and more reliable defensive showing. Justin Dunne doesn’t have to be perfect. He just needs to hang touch. I’m taking the Reds to cover as dogs.

Prediction: Cincinnati Reds (+1.5)

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There are legitimate concerns with both pitching rotations heading into this game, but there hasn’t been enough consistency at the plate to hang your hat on an offensive shootout in Pittsburgh on Saturday. Both teams are ranked in the bottom-half of the league in run-scoring offense with the Reds averaging 4.19 runs per game, while the Pirates are averaging 3.64 runs.

These two teams have failed to go over nine runs in their last five consecutive head-to-head meetings. There isn’t much hope of change on Saturday, either. Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Under (9)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.