Pittsburgh Pirates (68-80; 59-83-6 O/U) vs. Cincinnati Reds (64-84; 77-65-6 O/U)
MLB: Sunday, September 17, 2017 at 1:10pm EST
Line: Pittsburgh -108/Cincinnati -102
The Cincinnati Reds will host the Pittsburgh Pirates as the NL Central rivals close a three game series Sunday afternoon from the Great American Ball Park. The Pirates will hand the ball to 27-year old right-hander Gerrit Cole, and the Reds will counter with 24-year old right-hander Robert Stephenson. The Reds own an 11-6 lead in the season series.
Cole Bounced by Brewers in Tenth Loss of Season
Gerrit Cole will toe the rubber of the 31st time of the year, targeting his first win of the month. Cole was hit-hard by the Brewers in his previous start, conceding five runs in six innings and took the loss. The 6-foot-4 right-hander has been roughed in two out of his last three starts, and now stands at 11-10 with a 4.04 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 187 innings of work. He shut down the Reds in two of three meetings this season, conceding a total of eight runs in 19 innings, and now possesses a 1-7 record with a 4.79 ERA in 11 career starts against Cincinnati. Adam Duvall is 3 for 12 with six RBI’s against Cole, while Scooter Gennett is 11 for 26, and Joey Votto is 5 for 23 with three RBI’s. David Freese has enjoyed success against the Reds pitching this season, recording a hit in 15 of 37 at bats with five RBI’s. The 34-year old third baseman is having a decent season, posting a .268 average with 10 homers and 47 RBI’s. Freese owns a terrific .375 average this month.
The low-scoring Pirates are only averaging 4.11 runs per game, ranking them down at 28th overall, and are hitting .245 as a team. The Pittsburgh pitching owns a solid 4.13 team ERA, positioning them 13th overall.
Stephenson Targets Fifth Win in Last Six Starts
Robert Stephenson will make his 23rd appearance and ninth start of the season, looking to bounce back from a rough outing. Stephenson conceded six runs (four earned) in three innings to the Cardinals in his previous start, and was charged with the loss to drop his record to 4-5. The rookie right-hander has looked good in five out his last six starts, but still owns a 5.45 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP in 67.2 innings pitched. He has been effective against the Pirates this season, limiting them to seven runs in 16 innings, however he has served up a total of 15 runs in 24 career innings against Pittsburgh. Andrew McCutchen is 2 for 8 against Stephenson, while Adam Frazier is 1 for 6, and Starling Marte is 2 for 7. Zack Cozart continues to produce at a high level, smashing four homers along with seven RBI’s over his last seven games. The 32-year old shortstop is having a career-year, currently hitting .302 with 22 homers and 60 RBI’s. Cozart is only 8 for 39 with two RBI’s against the Pirates this season.
The Reds are averaging a solid 4.74 runs per game ranking them 13th overall, and own a .255 team batting average. The Cincinnati pitching is continues to falter, posting a 5.22 team ERA, positioning them 29th in the Major Leagues.
The Pittsburgh Pirates
- 1-10 in Cole’s last 11 starts against the Reds.
- 1-6 in Cole’s last 7 road starts against the Reds.
- 1-5 in Cole’s last 6 starts.
- 1-8 in their last 9 games overall.
The Cincinnati Reds are:
- 5-0 in their last 5 home games.
- 5-0 in their last 5 home games against a right-handed starter.
- 7-1 in their last 8 home games against a team with a road winning percentage less than .400.
I am siding with the Reds in this contest. Cole has been shaky as of late, conceding five runs in two out of his last three starts, and the Reds were able to plate five runs against him earlier this month. Furthermore, Stephenson has been steady, allowing two or fewer runs in six out of his last seven starts, and he limited the Pirates to one run in 5.2 innings in the previous meeting. The Pirates are only averaging a measly 2.3 runs over their last ten games, giving me more confidence in the Reds.