The Pittsburgh Pirates have a shot Wednesday at a series win against the visiting Cincinnati Reds, something that seemed pretty unlikely just a couple days ago.
The Pirates had lost eight straight, nine of 10 and, this year, their first four games against Cincinnati before they pulled off a 7-2 win Tuesday. That came on the heels of a 14-1 loss Monday as the Reds held a 44-9 runs advantage in running up that 4-0 record against Pittsburgh.
“Sometimes it happens that way, that there’s a certain team that gives you fits,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told AT&T Sportsnet.
Pittsburgh also can look to get back on track overall. After eclipsing .500 by one game, the Pirates nosedived to 2-9 before Tuesday’s win.
Cincinnati will be without reliever Amir Garrett, who on Tuesday began a suspension for instigating a benches-clearing brawl in a May 1 game against the Chicago Cubs.
Garrett, who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings Monday while he appealed the suspension, had the disciplinary term reduced from seven games to five games. He leaves Cincinnati with an eight-man bullpen.
“We’re going to miss him … but no use dwelling on it at this point,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We’ll try to keep him working and create a simulated game in these five days to keep him on track and have him back Sunday in Colorado.”
In the series finale, Cincinnati right-hander Sonny Gray (0-2, 3.92 ERA) is scheduled to square off against Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Cahill (1-4, 6.75 ERA).
Gray’s claim to fame is his active streak of 48 straight regular-season starts without allowing more than six hits, a mark that dates to Aug. 25, 2018.
However, he is more concerned with the state of the Reds in 2021 and the road trip they kicked off over the weekend in Cleveland. It was to be a 10-gamer before a rainout Sunday, but now Cincinnati is 2-2 on a nine-gamer.
“I think we’ve shown spurts of great baseball,” Gray said. “I think we’ve shown spurts of some not-so-great baseball, but that’s just probably a lot of teams have gone through this.
“This is a trip where we need to come in and play baseball.”
Gray is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA in seven career games, six of them starts, against Pittsburgh.
Cahill reached 1,500 career innings his last outing, but beyond that it wasn’t overly memorable.
He picked up his second loss in as many starts Friday when he gave up three runs, two of them earned, and eight hits against the Chicago Cubs, with one walk and two strikeouts. He worked with baserunners in each of those five innings.
Wednesday, he will be facing a Reds offense that has wreaked havoc on Pittsburgh pitching.
“I think we have to execute pitches in the (strike) zone,” Shelton said. “So far this year, it’s been kind of strange — we’ve done a really nice job of that except for the Reds games. We need to isolate on that and make sure we locate pitches.”
Against the Reds, Cahill is 0-3 with a 5.64 ERA in 16 career appearances, three of them starts.
–Field Level Media