Date/Time: September 27th, 7:10 PM ET
Television: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Probable Starters: Burnett (Pittsburgh) vs. Bailey (Cincinnati)
Moneyline: Reds -128
The series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds might not turn out to be quite as possible as it seemed it might be at the start of the week. The two teams are separated by a game of each other though, and whichever teams wins this series is going to be hosting the one-game playoff that these two clubs play against each other next week.
The Bucs have fought hard to get into this position, but they just haven't been good enough to keep up with the Cards. Sure, if St. Louis gets swept in its final three games of the season, and the Pirates win their last three games of the season, they can still win the NL Central, but the likelihood of that all happening is virtually nil. The chase here is to get one more game back at PNC Park. RHP AJ Burnett is going to be getting the ball on Friday, and he is looking to make it three straight excellent starts. The righty has allowed two runs in each of his last two outings. He actually got the loss against the San Diego Padres in spite of his good effort, but he beat these Reds in his last start six days ago by allowing just four hits and those two runs over seven innings. Burnett is only 9-11 on the season, but you wouldn't know it when you look at his 3.39 ERA and his 203 strikeouts in 183.0 innings of work this year.
Cincinnati is in the best position that it probably ever could have hoped to ask for. The team is in the driver's seat, needing to win just two out of three games to ensure that these teams can just stay right here in the Queen City to get ready for the one-game playoff next week. The good times hope to keep on rolling for RHP Homer Bailey, who has been fantastic over the course of the last month and a half. We wouldn't even be all that surprised if Bailey plays a role in the one-game playoff if need be, though he wouldn't be the starter in the game. Bailey has posted a 2.06 ERA in his last seven starts, and truthfully, he has been a bit unlucky not to lead his team to better than a 5-2 record in those clashes as a result. Bailey was the tough luck loser six days ago in this game against Burnett, as he allowed two earned runs in 5.2 innings of work but was handed the loss thanks to two unearned runs.
Bailey has the better stuff off these two pitchers, and though both have the ability of pitching great games, Cincinnati should get the better of these two to pull level in the chase for the Wild Card, and swinging the very slight edge in favor of the Reds.
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Cincinnati Reds Pick: Cincinnati Reds -128