Pirates vs. Reds prediction and odds for Saturday, April 1 (Cutch will be clutch vs. lefties)

Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen (22)
Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen (22) / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati used to be the first place a pitch was thrown in the MLB season each year, but as the Reds have fallen into irrelevance, the tradition lost its luster.

Still, there is a celebration of Opening Day in the City each year, but the celebration didn’t last long. The Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4 on Opening Day. 

The Pirates got a huge home run and multiple RBI from their young star, Oneil Cruz in that win, but now Cruz has been dropped from his leadoff spot to sixth in the order facing the left-handed Nick Lodolo of the Reds.

Lodolo may not have gotten the hype that Cruz did for his rookie season, but he did tie him for sixth in ROY voting last season. Which player will make a bigger second year jump? More importantly will the 18-year veteran, 43-year-old Rich Hill be able to outduel Lodolo in Game 2 of this weekend series? 

Let’s get into the odds for this NL Central matchup in Cincy. 

Pirates vs. Reds odds, run line and total

Pirates vs. Reds prediction and pick

Despite his age, Rich Hill has had some pretty productive seasons recently. Last year in Boston he made 26 starts and carried a 4.27 ERA with a 3.92 FIP. He’s a savvy starting pitcher that was a needed addition for the Pittsburgh pitching staff. 

A lot of the Pirates young talent is in the lineup with Cruz and… well mostly just Cruz, but the Reds young talent is predominantly on the mound with Hunter Greene who started Game 1 and Nick Lodolo. Lodolo had a 3.66 ERA and a 3.90 FIP last season in his 19 starts.

However, what’s going to cost them a lot of games is their lineup. 

Kevin Newman is a former Pirates shortstop, one who has had four seasons with an OPS under .600, and just one productive offensive year. Yeah he’s their designated hitter today and is hitting fifth in their lineup. The power threat at the heart of their lineup has hit 20 career home runs in 1545 career at bats. 

There isn’t enough pop in that lineup at all. The Pirates aren’t exactly the Bronx Bombers, but even Andrew McCutchen who reached base four times on Opening Day, had a .738 OPS against left-handers last season.

That’s at least a little bit of pop. I’ll take the Bucs to start 2-0. 

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change