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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview and Predictions 09-16-2020

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The Cincinnati Reds, who will go for a four-game series sweep of the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, can feel their momentum building as they make a charge at a spot in the postseason.

The Reds (24-26) have won four straight and, at the very least, are enjoying the ride.

"It feels so good to be playing meaningful games, because if anybody were to throw a uniform on and play any sport, be competitive in anything, it feels so much better to feel like you have a shot, to feel like the games are meaningful, to feel like you're playing in front of people that care," Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto said. "It feels great."

The Reds have been dominant in a few areas in this series with Pittsburgh, sweeping a doubleheader Monday and then winning 4-1 Tuesday.

They have outscored the Pirates 16-6 and have struck out 34 Pittsburgh batters.

"I think our team understands, clearly understands what we're playing for right now," Cincinnati manager David Bell said.

Pittsburgh (14-33) clearly understands what it has at stake, too, and that is primarily setting the stage for 2021. Jobs are at stake, and that is especially true with the rotation.

There seems to be a glut of options there for next year, with Jameson Taillon set to return from Tommy John surgery and young pitchers pushing for spots, including rookies Cody Ponce and J.T. Brubaker, along with second-year starter Mitch Keller, who missed much of this year because of injury. Throw in a couple veterans who have struggled this season and it's a cramped group.

"We've just got to get better," Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. "I'm not so much worried about numbers or how many we have for how many spots. We've just got to get better as a pitching group. The more competition we have, the more talent we have as part of that competition, the better chance we have to keep getting better."

Brubaker (1-1, 5.34 ERA) is scheduled to start against Cincinnati right-hander Luis Castillo (2-5, 3.44) Wednesday, and Brubaker would seem to need to bounce back from his most recent outing.

Last Wednesday in a loss against the Chicago White Sox, he gave up seven runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, with five strikeouts and two walks.

That left his ERA over his six starts at 6.39.

"I'm still learning," Brubaker said. "I'm just trying to take it one start and one outing at a time, just get better each time."

Brubaker will be facing Cincinnati for the first time as he makes his seventh big league start, and ninth appearance.

Usually, Castillo practically lives by the strikeout, averaging 11.4 per nine innings, which would seem to be ideal for this series. But he had far fewer than that his last time out.

Friday he pitched a nine-inning complete game, a two-hitter in a 3-1 win at St. Louis. He struck out six.

"Attacking the hitters," Castillo said of his first career complete game. "When you attack the hitters, you can set the game. ... That's what really worked."

That game gave Castillo wins in consecutive starts after he did not get a win over his first seven starts. The first of those two wins in a row came Sept. 4, a 4-2 win against the Pirates when he gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings, with eight strikeouts and two walks.

Against Pittsburgh, Castillo is 3-3 with a 3.00 ERA in nine career starts.

--Field Level Media

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Stadium

Great American Ball Park
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Capacity: 44,599

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Last Injuries

Cincinnati Reds

  • Brian Goodwin

    Groin
    Ques Thurs | questionable

    Goodwin is dealing with right groin irritation, and it is unknown if he will play against the Braves in Game 2 of the NL wild-card round.

  • Curt Casali

    Wrist
    Out Thurs | out

    Casali will not suit up for Game 2 of the NL wild-card round versus the Braves due to left wrist soreness.

  • Archie Bradley

    Back
    Prob Wed | probable

    Bradley is expected to be ready for Game 1 of the National League wild-card round against the Braves despite lower-back tightness.

  • Brian Goodwin

    Groin
    Out Wed | out

    Goodwin is dealing with right groin irritation, and he will not play against the Braves in Game 1 of the NL wild-card round.

  • Wade Miley

    Shoulder
    Early Oct | 10-day IL

    Miley has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder sprain and is not expected to return until the start of October.

  • Sonny Gray

    Back
    Prob Tues | probable

    Gray has been activated from the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain, and is expected to make his scheduled start Tuesday versus the Brewers.

  • Cody Reed

    Finger
    out for season | 45-day IL

    Reed has been shuttled to the 10-day injured list with a sore pinky finger, and he will miss the remainder of the season.

  • Tyler Thornburg

    Elbow
    out for season | 45-day IL

    Thornburg has been ticketed for the 45-day injured list due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and will not pitch again this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates

  • Cole Tucker

    Concussion
    out for season | 10-day IL

    Tucker has been sent to the 10-day injured list with a concussion, and he is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

  • Keone Kela

    Forearm
    out for season | 45-day IL

    Kela has been shifted to the 45-day injured list with tightness in his right forearm, ending his season.

  • Yacksel Rios

    Shoulder
    out for season | 45-day IL

    Rios is experiencing inflammation in his right shoulder, and the team put him on the 45-day injured list for the remainder of the season.

  • Jason Martin

    Back
    out for season | 10-day IL

    Martin has been entered on the 10-day injured list with a season-ending upper-back strain.

  • Kevin Newman

    Knee
    out for season | 10-day IL

    Newman will spend the remainder of the season on the 10-day injured list due to a peroneal nerve contusion in his left knee.

  • Kyle Crick

    Back
    Out indefinitely | 10-day IL

    Crick has been designated for the 10-day injured list with a lat strain, and he is in danger of missing the remainder of the season.

  • Chad Kuhl

    Finger
    Prob Fri | probable

    Kuhl is dealing with cuticle issues and a blister on his right finger. He will make his next scheduled start Friday against the Cardinals.

cincinnati-reds Stats 2020

Hitting Statistics
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Pitching Statistics
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Field Statistics
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB

pittsburgh-pirates Stats 2020

Hitting Statistics
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Player G GS AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB SB K CS Avg SP OBP
Pitching Statistics
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Player G GS OP ST HBPA HA HRA IWA RA SFA SHA SBSA WA PT
Field Statistics
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB
Player GP GS CI SABC SCBC FE OA PB