When the Pittsburgh Pirates last visited the Cincinnati Reds at the beginning of August, they were attempting to make a run at the division lead. As the Pirates return to Cincinnati to open a three-game series Monday, they are trying to avoid sliding out of the wild-card race after a lost weekend in which they were swept at home by the lowly Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh remains within 2 1/2 games of the second wild card, but it has lost 20 of its last 29 games.
Cincinnati dropped two of three at home over the weekend to Houston, baseball’s worst team, but still maintains an 8 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central – the largest margin of any division leader. Although the Reds have been limited to three runs or fewer in six of eight games this month, Jay Bruce continues to swing a hot bat. He has six home runs and 15 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.
Pirates Reds Betting
When: 7:10 PM ET, Monday, September 10, 2012
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, ROOT (Pittsburgh), Fox Sports Ohio (Cincinnati)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Pirates LH Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.71 ERA) vs. Reds RH Mat Latos (12-4, 3.69)
Rodriguez has turned things around following an rough start with the Pirates, winning his last two turns while not allowing a run in 13 innings. Acquired at the trade deadline from Houston, Rodriguez went 0-3 in his first four starts with Pittsburgh, including a 3-0 loss at Cincinnati on Aug. 3. He has not fared well against the Reds, going 8-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 27 starts.
Latos bounced back from one of his worst outings of the season to win his last two starts, going seven innings in each and yielding a combined three runs on nine hits. He has provided the Reds with everything they could want as a top-of-the-rotation starter, limiting the opposition to two runs or fewer in 18 of his 28 starts. He has dominated the Pirates in two starts this season, giving up six hits in 13 1/3 scoreless innings.
1. Cincinnati has lost back-to-back series for the first time since June 18-24 against Cleveland and Minnesota.
2. The Pirates were outscored 20-7 by the Cubs in getting swept at home for the first time this year.
3. The Reds are tied with Washington for the most home wins (44) in the majors.