Pittsburgh Pirates Seek First Series Victory of the Season Against the Reds

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

On Sunday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will seek something that has eluded them so far this season – a series victory over the Cincinnati Reds

Even though the Cincinnati Reds are in last place in the National League Central they have had plenty of success against the Pittsburgh Pirates this season. The Reds enter Sunday’s series finale with a record of 8-3 against the Pirates in 2017. This includes having won each of the first three series of the season between the two teams.

The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to buck this trend on Sunday afternoon. After defeating the Reds by a score of 1-0 on Saturday night the Bucs now have an opportunity to earn a series victory over Cincinnati with a win on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday night’s Pirate victory saw starting pitcher Gerrit Cole turn in one of the best starts of his career. In 7 shutout innings he held the Reds to just five singles, no extra base hits, no walks, and he struck out six. The fact this came at arguably the best hitter’s park in baseball made his outing that much more impressive.

He also accounted for the game’s lone run with a lead off home run in the top of the 6th inning. This was made Cole the first pitcher since Nathan Karns in 2015 to hit a solo home run in a game then ended with a 1-0 score.

Now on Sunday afternoon the Pirates will hand the ball to young righty Jameson Taillon. In 19 starts this season Taillon is averaging 8.74 K/9, 3.26 BB/9, and is allowing just 0.79 HR/9 in 102 innings pitched. His 3.54 FIP, 3.75 xFIP, and 2.1 fWAR are all very strong as well.

However, due to three of his last six starts being complete disasters his ERA for the season has ballooned to 4.85. Taillon owns a 9.31 ERA and a 4.51 FIP in just 29 innings pitched in these six starts. His .402 BABIP suggests that he has not pitched quite as poorly as the results would indicate.

His control, however, has suffered in these starts and that has been his biggest issue. On top of averaging 4.02 BB/9 in these six starts, he has thrown a lot of poor pitches, especially with two strikes, that have caught too much of the strike zone and have been very hittable. Hopefully, Taillon can get back on track today and finish 2017 with a strong September.

For the Reds, right-handed pitcher Tyler Mahle will be making his Major League debut this afternoon. The 22-year old Mahle has split time between Double-A and Triple-A this season. At Double-A he owned a 1.59 ERA and a 2.53 FIP while averaging 9.21 K/9 and just 1.80 BB/9 in 85 innings pitched.

In 59 1/3 innings pitched for the Triple-A Louisville Bats he was averaging 7.74 K/9 and 1.97 BB/9 to go along with a 2.73 ERA and a 3.26 FIP. Combined between the two levels he allowed just nine home runs and he hit four batters.

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The Pirate lineup this afternoon will be as follows:

  1. Starling Marte – LF
  2. Josh Harrison – 2B
  3. Andrew McCutchen – CF
  4. Josh Bell – 1B
  5. David Freese – 3B
  6. Adam Frazier – RF
  7. Jordy Mercer – SS
  8. Elias Diaz – C
  9. Jameson Taillon – SP

As for the Reds, they will go as follows:

  1. Billy Hamilton – CF
  2. Zack Cozart – SS
  3. Joey Votto – 1B
  4. Adam Duvall – LF
  5. Scooter Gennett – 2B
  6. Jose Peraza – 2B
  7. Scott Schebler – RF
  8. Chad Wallach – C
  9. Tyler Mahle – SP

First pitch from Great American Ballpark is scheduled for 1:10 this afternoon. Hopefully, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be victorious and earn their first series victory of the season over the Cincinnati Reds.