Francisco Liriano (12-7, 3.27 ERA) and Keyvius Sampson (2-6, 6.46 ERA) take the hill in the first of a three-game series between the Pittsburgh Pirates (96-63) and the Cincinnati Reds (63-96) at PNC Park. The Reds come into this series hoping to snap a 12-game losing streak. Action begins at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday, Oct. 2 and can be seen on FSOH and RTPT.
Liriano pitched 7.2 innings in his last outing, surrendering zero runs, striking out nine and walking three in a 4-0 win over the Cubs. Andrew McCutchen (.293, 89 Rs, 22 HRs, 95 RBIs, 11 SBs) went 1 for 3 Wednesday. Sampson went 2.2 innings, surrendering two runs (three unearned) and striking out two in an 8-1 defeat to the Mets in his most recent start. Joey Votto (.317, 94 Rs, 29 HRs, 79 RBIs, 11 SBs) has been successful at the plate for the Reds, going 2 for 5 yesterday with one RBI.
This one isn't expected to be close when Pittsburgh, a big -235 favorite, takes on Cincinnati. The Over/Under (O/U) is sitting at seven runs for this matchup. The Pirates have recorded an overall money line of +2,129 and have shown high-level performance as a favorite this season with a record of 76-37. Pittsburgh is an impressive 6-2 as the favorite over its last 10 games. The Pirates have no trouble scoring as they rank fifth in the NL in offense with 4.3 runs per game. The Pirates are one of the best in the NL in terms of hits with a phenomenal 9.1 per game. Turning to the pitchers, opposing offenses have been stifled by the Pirates, who have a team ERA of only 3.26.
As for their opponent, Cincinnati is coming in with an overall money line of -3,025 and a disappointing record of 34-70 as the underdog. They have been on a bit of a dry streak over their last 10 games. They were winless, managing a 0-10 record when playing as the underdog. Offensively, the Reds have really sputtered in the last 10 games. They have decreased their season average of 4.0 runs per game by averaging 2.1 during that stretch. The Reds are an excellent base-stealing team with an MLB-best 132 stolen bases. The Reds allow 4.7 runs per game, but have damaged those numbers in the past 10 games, allowing 7.0 runs per game during that span.
The Reds lead the season series, 10-6. The Pirates have a 78-48 record against right-handed starting pitchers on the year, which is what they'll be facing when Sampson takes the mound. Liriano (LHP) will be on the hill against the Reds, who have inferior records against left-handed starting pitchers on the road and overall of 5-14 and 14-24, respectively.
Predictions: SU Winner - Pit, O/U - Over
The Pirates and the Reds both sit at records of 32-41 this season against teams in the NL Central Division.
When leading after 7 innings, Pittsburgh is 37-35, while Cincinnati is 23-37.
The Reds are coming off of a hot pitching game where they recorded 12 strikeouts. The Pirates have a record of 7-6 when they are struck out that many times or more.
When they outhit their opponents, the Reds are 48-19. The Pirates have a 69-7 record when outhitting opponents.
Ranking 25th, Cincinnati sits near the bottom of the league in runs, scoring 633 this season. Pittsburgh ranks in the top half at 11th with 686.
Ranking 17th, Pittsburgh is in the bottom half of the league in walks, notching 452 this season. Cincinnati ranks in the top 10 at eighth with 487.
When the Pirates hit at least one home run, they are 63-28. When the Reds hit at least one homer, they have a 54-45 record.