The Cincinnati Reds put a hurting on the Chicago Cubs in the series finale at Wrigley Field on Sunday. They’ve been playing better baseball recently and reached double digits for the first time in 2019. The Reds have been slow starters this season following the signing of Yasiel Puig in the offseason, but I still see this team getting hot at some point.
Puig has been heating up lately, and I think with that, the rest of the team is going to follow as well. The Cubs were winners in two of three games against the Cubs in Chicago. That could be a nice confidence booster to get this team on track.
Cincinnati are currently last in the NL Central with a record of 24-26. Back by 6.5 games, they’re not out of anything yet, though. If the Reds aren’t in a position to go to the postseason as we draw closer to the postseason, though, they may get some calls about Puig’s availability at the trade deadline.
The Reds aren’t exactly big spenders, so it’d likely make sense to shed his contract if they aren’t going to be playing October baseball. The way I see it, the Reds are going to be a fringe team around then, so they may be left with a difficult decision.
Puig has 5 hits and 4 RBI’s, along with 2 home runs in the last three games. He’s been playing well, but he’s already had a nice three-game stretch like this and then immediately went cold thereafter. We’ll see if he can keep it rolling against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day.
The Pirates are coming off a 11-7 loss on Sunday against the Dodgers. It wasn’t a nice weekend for the Bucs, as they suffered a three-game sweep without providing much of a threat for the Dodgers. Sonny Gray will get the nod for the Reds on the holiday Monday.
He’s been seeing a resurgence on the bump with a new club after getting hit hard in the Bronx as a Yankee. His time as a Yankee was a major failure, though he appears to be getting his career back on track. Rookie Mitch Keller is expected to counter for the Pirates. Note that this is for the evening game of a double-header. Head below for our free Pirates vs. Reds pick.
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Cincinnati Reds Pick *Game 2:
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Mitch Keller is making his much anticipated debut with the Pirates on Monday. He gets a road start against the Reds to begin his career. Keller went a perfect 5-0 in Triple-A in Indianapolis. His numbers were adequate, with an ERA of 3.45 and 1.42 WHIP. A 1.42 WHIP in the minor leagues is worrisome, but the Pirates are more interested in letting him get some experience. Not only hasn’t he pitched in the major leagues, he also hasn’t pitched an inning in spring training, either. The Pirates weren’t able to get him any experience in an exhibition game before the season began.
It’s a tough chore to go on the road for your first ever start in the big leagues. The Reds are on the heels of their best offensive performance of the season yesterday as well. With Puig hitting the ball better and a nice showing Sunday, perhaps that carries over into this week.
That would be big for the Reds, who can get over .500 with a strong week. After their slow start out of the gates, it’d be a small victory for them before June got here. Sonny Gray has been doing his job after getting a second life in Cincinnati.
Gray was chased out of New York after flaming out in the Bronx. He posted an ERA of 4.90 in his only full season with the Yankees. When he was laughing about getting pulled after getting killed on the mound again during an outing in 2018, the writing was on the wall for his future as a Yankee.
He enters with a respectable 3.78 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 50 innings. He’s had success against the Pirates in his career, as their roster is hitting .227 with 2 home runs against him in 75 at-bats. The bullpen has helped the Reds early in the season while the offense has tried to get on track. They’re 4th in the majors with an ERA of 3.54. Conversely, the Pirates have struggled in 23rd with an ERA of 4.57 from their relievers. I like the Reds to use the confidence they gained on Sunday to stay the course today and at least get a win in the night game on double-header day in Cincinnati.