This Monday, the (59-93) Cincinnati Reds and the (56-96) Pittsburgh Pirates will play game one of this three-game series. The first pitch will be thrown out at 6:35 PM EST inside PNC Park. The last time that these two teams faced off, the Pirates swept the Reds in a four-game series.
The Cincinnati Reds are coming into this one after losing their previous series to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Reds struggled at the plate in the first three games, as they couldn't consistently reach base safely. They will have to warm up at the plate if they want to challenge the Pirates on the road.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are entering this one after a tough series with the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates looked great in game three, though. They won 6-0, as they had it rolling on the mound and at the plate!
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Can the Reds Finish Strong?The Cincinnati Reds will not be playing in the postseason, as they are currently in fourth place in the NL Central. They trail the Cardinals by 29.5 games, as they have continued to slide in the wrong direction. Cincinnati is 3-7 in their last 10 games played and they are also 24.5 games back from the Philadelphia Phillies for the third and final NL Wild Card spot.
At the plate, the Reds are scoring 4.23 runs per game and they are hitting .238 as a team. This is the 21st most runs scored per game and the 20th highest overall team batting average. They have struggled to consistently make contact with the ball and reach base safely, as this has made it much more difficult to score. The Reds have also realized that they don't have a crazy amount of power inside of their lineup. They are only hitting 1.00 home runs per game, which is the 18th most in the MLB. I would watch for Kyle Farmer at the dish, as he leads the team with 13 home runs this season. Cincinnati has only stolen 56 bases this season, as well. This is the 24th most, as the Reds have stayed conservative on the base paths.
According to MLB.com, the Reds will be starting Chase Anderson on the mound in this one. He is currently 2-3 with a 5.21 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. In his last start, he pitched for 5.0 innings and only gave up one earned run to the Red Sox. He is also 1-1 on the road this season, with a 3.00 ERA. The Reds bullpen hasn't performed as well, though. They have the second-highest bullpen ERA in the league. As a team, the Reds are allowing 5.14 runs per game, which is the fourth most.
Can the Pirates Show Up at Home?The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently in dead last place in the NL Central, as they trail the first-place St. Louis Cardinals by 32.5 games. They are also 2-8 in their last 10 and 27.5 games back from the third NL Wild Card Spot. Pittsburgh will not be playing in the playoffs this season.
At the plate, the Pirates are scoring 3.69 runs per game and they are hitting .220 as a team. This is the 27th most runs scored per game and the second lowest team batting average in the MLB. They have struggled to reach base safely this season, as they have not given themselves enough opportunities to score. They have also realized that they don't have a ton of power inside of their lineup. The Pirates are averaging 1.04 bombs per game, which is the 17th most in the league. This is the easiest way for them to score. I would watch for Bryan Reynolds at the plate, as he leads the team with 25 home runs this season. Pittsburgh has also stayed aggressive on the base paths once they have reached base safely. They have stolen 83 bases this season, which is the 15th most.
According to MLB.com, the Pirates will be starting Roansy Contreras on the mound. He is currently 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP. In his last start, he pitched for 4.2 innings and he gave up six hits and six earned runs to the Yankees. He has been decent at home this season, though. He is currently 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA inside PNC Park. The Pirate's bullpen has had issues all season, though. They have the highest bullpen ERA in the league. As a team, Pittsburgh is allowing 5.20 runs per game, which is the third most.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
I'm going to stick with the home team in this one. The Pirates will be starting Roansy Contreras on the mound, as he has been decent inside PNC Park. The Reds are also really struggling at the plate and their bats aren't going to wake up for this one either. This game has nothing to do with the postseason, but the Pirates will still want to finish strong at home. Contreras is currently 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA and his ERA drops to 3.22 at home. The Reds are also only hitting .193 vs. RHP in their last 10 games. They won't be able to consistently reach base and they will continue to fail to bring men in when they are in scoring position. The Pirates are also hitting the 17th most home runs per game, as I wouldn't be surprised if they showed off their power in this game. Chase Anderson has continued to struggle this season and he currently had a 5.21 ERA. He won't be able to pitch deep into the game, which means the Reds bullpen will have to enter. This is not good for Cincinnati, as their bullpen has the second-highest ERA in the MLB. They will allow the Pirates to consistently score throughout this game and this one won't stay close for long.
Hammer the Pittsburgh Pirates ML.
Full-Game Total Pick
I will be riding with the under (8.5) in this matchup between the Pirates and the Reds. I'm not a huge fan of Chase Anderson, but the Pirates have still struggled at the plate all season. Pittsburgh will be able to produce a few runs off of him, but they won't be able to carry this total over the number by themselves. They are also averaging 3.69 runs scored per game, which is the least in the MLB. They have continued to struggle all season and they will leave runs on the base paths. I also see Roansy Contreras pitching well in this one. He is 3-3 at home this season and he only has a 3.68 ERA. The Reds have also been horrible against RHP in their last 10, as they are only hitting .193 as a team. They will continue to struggle and Contreras will pitch very deep into this game. He will continue to keep the Reds off the scoreboard and Cincinnati won't score enough runs to push this total over (8.5). If your book doesn't have your total set at (8.5), then I would recommend buying to it. Cincinnati will continue to struggle at the plate and this game will remain low-scoring.
Hammer the under (8.5) and don't expect a whole lot of action at the plate in this game.