Friday, Aug. 19, the Pittsburgh Pirates (46-72) start a three-game weekend series with their division rival Cincinnati Reds (46-70) at PNC Park. Can this hodgepodge crawl its way out of the National League Central basement and surpass the Reds? I wonder what Dennis Eckersley would say?
The weather at PNC Park for first pitch (7:05 p.m.) looks to be partly cloudy, with the temperature around 82 degrees. Wind will blow around 5 mph from the south.
The game will air on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh and 93.7 The Fan
Starting this series for the Pirates will be Bryse Wilson (2-7, 5.93 ERA). Wilson, in his last outing, had a middle-of-the-road outing against San Francisco last Friday. Wilson went 5.1 innings and gave up four runs on six hits.
The Pirates will have to contend with rookie Graham Ashcraft (5-3, 3.96 ERA) of the Reds. Ashcraft offers a four-pitch mix but will stick mainly to his cutter (51%) and slider (28%). He will also throw a sinker (20.2%), and maybe a changeup (0.8%).
The Pittsburgh Pirates open as slight underdogs at +102 on the moneyline, whereas the Reds are listed as -120 favorites. Pittsburgh’s run line of +1.5 can be had at -172 odds, while Cincinnati’s -1.5 can be had at +142. The over/under currently sits at 7.5 runs.
Who’s Hot/Who’s Not
Who’s Hot: I feel like it’s blasphemous to say anyone other than Bryan Reynolds. With two two-run homers Thursday night in an 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox, Reynolds has found his power swing in August.
Who’s Not: The Bligh Madris experiment has gotten even more sour he went hitless at the plate again Thursday. That dropped his batting average to .167
- Thursday night, J.T. Brubaker became the first Pirates’ pitcher to pitch seven-plus innings, give up two or less hits, no walks, and no runs in an outing since Nick Kingham did it in 2018 against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 29 in his MLB debut.
- Reynolds now has three career multi-homer games, as well as two this season (three homers on June 29 at Washington; two homers on Sept. 5, 2019 vs. Miami). It was the fifth multi-homer game of the season by a Pirates player: Michael Perez (three) on June 30 vs. Milwaukee; Reynolds’ Jack Suwinski (three) on June 19 vs. Giants; and Michael Chavis (two) on Aug. 9 at Arizona.
- Reynolds’ second home run Thursday night was the 3,000th in PNC Park history.
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