The Cincinnati Reds (75-69) have not been playing their best baseball, but the Reds took over sole possession of the NL second wild card spot during the off-day yesterday when the Padres lost 9-1 to the Giants. The Reds control their own destiny now with a half game lead in a crowded race. The Reds magic number is 19.
The Reds have finally made it to the Pittsburgh Pirates (52-91) part of the schedule. The two teams will begin the first of nine remaining games in 2021 (50% of the Reds final 18 games), tonight at 6:35 PM at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Reds are 9-1 against the Pirates this season. The Reds are 12-1 against the Pirates dating back to the final series of 2020.
The Pirates have won back-to-back series (Tigers and Nationals), but they are 12-27 since the trade deadline. The Pirates are 1-6-1 in their 8 series post-trade deadline vs teams above .500. They are 30-59 overall against teams above .500 on the season.
The 2021 Wade Miley show rolls into Pittsburgh. He was absolutely dominant in his last start coming at Wrigley Field: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K. Miley has not allowed a run in 13.0 innings this season against the Pirates. Miley has a 2.91 road ERA this season.
Nothing scares Reds fans more than a below average, soft-tossing left-handed pitcher. They’ll get just that tonight with Dillon Peters. He was DFA’d by the Angels this spring, out-righted to AAA and traded to the Pirates mid-season. He has pitched in the big leagues every year since 2017 (just 1.2 innings in 2020), but has a career 5.53 ERA/5.56 FIP in 151.1 innings. He has never faced the Reds.
Peters was not pitching well for the Angels AAA team (4.35 ERA/6.38 FIP in 8 starts) before he was traded. For whatever reason, that has changed so far in the Pirates organization. He only allowed 2 ER in his 2 starts with the Pirates AAA team before being called up. He has made 4 starts for the Pirates, and overall it has gone well. He has only allowed 1 home run in 18.2 innings. He has not thrown more than 78 pitches in game however.
|1. Jonathan India (2B)
2. Kyle Farmer (SS)
3. Nick Castellanos (RF)
4. Joey Votto (1B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Aristides Aquino (LF)
7. Delino DeShields (CF)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Wade Miley (P)
|1. Ke’Bryan Hayes (3B)
2. Kevin Newman (SS)
3. Bryan Reynolds (CF)
4. Yoshi Tsutsugo (1B)
5. Jacob Stallings (C)
6. Anthony Alford (LF)
7. Ben Gamel (RF)
8. Wilmer Difo (2B)
9. Dillon Peters (P)
Bryan Reynolds (140 wRC+) is the guy that you clearly don’t want to let beat you. He is one of the best hitters in baseball and the only good proven Pirates hitter. Yoshi Tsutsugo is the other player to watch out for. ZiPS only projects him to have a 105 wRC+, but he is hitting .279/.375/.721 in 72 PA since the Pirates acquired him.
Kyle Farmer returns to the Reds lineup. This is the second time in Farmer’s career that he is batting second (the other was on August 14th of this season). Farmer is hitting .266/.317/.500 vs LHP this season.
News and Notes
Jesse Winker will begin a rehab assignment tonight
The Cincinnati Reds sent outfielder Jesse Winker on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Louisville tonight where he’ll join the Bats in Memphis.
David Bell said Jose Barrero will continue to do some pregame work in the outfield, but he plans to try to find him more starts in the infield. #Reds
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) September 14, 2021
It’s go time. All year, we have been looking ahead to these nine remaining games against the Pirates as the Reds security blanket. The Pirates are not only a bad team, but they currently have one of the worst rosters that you will ever see in a major league baseball game. The Reds aren’t likely to go 9-0 in these games, but they need to win the majority. Hopefully that starts tonight.
It’s easy to be frustrated and disappointed by the Reds recent play. I certainly get and feel that, but it is important to remember that over the last 10 weeks, the Reds have gained 10 games on the Padres in the standings. It was remarkable turnaround to get the Reds back in the hunt. For the majority of my lifetime, the Reds have been very far away from any sort of hunt this time of the year. Hopefully they can finish the job. Go Reds!