Posted August 02, 2012 on
AP on Fox
This weekend's three-game series between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates is probably the most important one between these teams since the 1990 NL championship series.
The Reds have won 13 of 14 to establish baseball's best record as they host the team chasing them in the NL Central - the wild card-leading Pirates - on Friday night.
Cincinnati (64-41) and Pittsburgh (60-44) could both be headed to the postseason for the first time since the Reds eliminated the Pirates in six games in the 1990 NLCS en route to their last World Series title.
Pittsburgh has won 11 of 16 since July 16, but Cincinnati has taken 14 of 17 in that same span - all without injured star Joey Votto - to build a 3 1/2-game lead in the division.
The Reds took three of four at home from San Diego capped by Thursday's 9-4 victory. Todd Frazier homered in a six-run second inning and finished with three RBIs.
"You want to have big innings every game," said Frazier, who has homered in three of his last five contests. "We had the big six-run second, and everybody contributed. We batted around.''
Second baseman Brandon Phillips has missed the last two games with a strained left calf, and it's unclear if he will return for this series.
The Pirates are 5-4 against the Reds this year. These teams haven't met since early June, and Pittsburgh is eager for the chance to gain ground.
"We know when we go in there this week, it's time to win," reliever Jared Hughes told the Pirates' official website. "There's no other option. We're going in there, and we're winning."
The Reds have fared well against Andrew McCutchen, whose .231 average in the season series is his second-worst against an NL club. McCutchen raised his major league-best average to .373 by going 6 for 11 with three walks this week as the Pirates took two of three on the road from the Cubs.
The Pittsburgh star is 0 for 1 with two walks against Mat Latos (9-3, 4.17 ERA), who is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA in four career starts against the Pirates. Latos struck out 11 over six innings May 6 in a 5-0 victory in his lone start versus Pittsburgh this year.
The right-hander won his second straight outing Sunday by allowing two runs over eight innings in a 7-2 victory at Colorado.
Latos will be opposed by Wandy Rodriguez (7-9, 3.82), who will make his second start for the Pirates since being acquired last week from Houston. Rodriguez faced his former team in his first outing, giving up three runs with a season-high five walks over six innings Saturday as he did not get a decision in a 4-3 victory.
"I thought he was probably excited to get out there and pitch," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I have never seen him walk five in a game all of the years I have watched him pitch. I'm sure he had some emotion or adrenaline.''
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against the Reds this year with the Astros. He won't miss facing Votto, who hits .378 against him, while Jay Bruce is 2 for 29 with 15 strikeouts.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
@mbandi Right, because J-Mac buzzing someone is going to make them see the error of their ways. That has a good track record.
— Ed Giles (@InClementeWthr) August 4, 2012
It is an argument that has been had numerous times. Should you retaliate if your opposition drills your best player?
Friday night, Andrew McCutchen faced off against Reds’ closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs...
Last night, the Reds won their second in a row against the Padres.
Bronson Arroyo had a little trouble on the mound, but he manned his way through 6.0 innings to give the bullpen a break last night. He allowed 4 runs (earned) on 7 hits and 2 walks. Then came the parade of once and future closers: Sean Marshall pitched the seventh, Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth, and Aroldis...
Seth Mejias-Brean, the Hitting Machine
Charlotte 8 Louisville 1
Bats (43-70), Last place International League West, 26.0 GB
-Todd Redmond (L 7-8, 3.44) lost after two unearned runs scored in his five innings. Will Ohman, Nick Christiani, and J.J. Hoover each tossed scoreless inning.
-CF Denis Phipps went 2-4, with a double and a solo home run (8). SS Didi Gregorius...
NEW YORK (AP) -- Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco has been suspended for three games and fined by Major League Baseball for making contact with an umpire during an argument.
The commissioner's office announced the penalty Wednesday. Unless he appeals, Mesoraco will begin serving his suspension Wednesday night against San Diego.
The rookie was ejected for arguing balls and...
CINCINNATI The absurdity of a meaningful Cincinnati Reds-Pittsburgh Pirates series in August manifested itself by who is missing in the Great American Ball Park press box this weekend.
Three beat writers who are regularly assigned to the Reds aren't covering any of the three games this weekend between the Reds and Pirates in a land dispute over first place in the National League...
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer and Johnny Cueto overcame a pair of rare long balls to pitch into the eighth inning Thursday and lead the surging Cincinnati Reds to their 13th win in 14 games, 9-4 over the San Diego Padres.
Scott Rolen had three hits, Frazier had three RBIs and Jay Bruce drove in two runs, helping push the Reds to 23 games over .500 (64-41) for...
It was a banner month for the Redlegs in July. They ripped off a 10-game winning streak, reclaimed the top spot in the division and boasted the best record in the majors as of 11:59 PM ET on the 31st. If you discount the injury sustained to Joey Votto, you might even say the month was one of the best ever for the franchise.
With that in mind, here are 12 fast facts about the...
TOP OF THE SYSTEM
A look at how the current top 20 prospects did today. Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. Rankings are from the mid-season update.
1. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Altoona (2-4, 3.94) - DNP
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Bradenton (5-7, 4.09) - DNP
3. Alen Hanson, SS, West Virginia (.316) - 3-for-4, 3B, BB
4. Josh Bell, RF, West Virginia (...
It was only a matter of time until some intrepid Pittsburgh Pirates fan decided to create a parody television opening to celebrate the team's season.
The show of choice?...."The Brady Bunch":
Just like the final series before the All-Star break, the Padres took game one from the Reds only to drop the final three in the long series. The series saw plenty of offense supplied by the Friars as they totaled 25 runs over the series, scoring at least four runs per game.
Former Friar Ryan Ludwick shined against San Diego pitching, going 6-12 with two homer runs and 10 RBIs in...
The Major League Baseball Trade Deadline has come and gone with the usually flurry of deals as some teams prepared to make a final push to lock up a playoff spot while others made deals with an eye to the future. This is the same strategy you should be using over the final two months of your fantasy baseball season, too, especially if you are in a dynasty, keeper or a league which...
Exploring the Arsenal will run prior to each game, providing you with a brief scouting report on the starting pitcher expected to oppose the Pirates. The chart below shows the horizontal and vertical movement of every pitch thrown by that particular pitcher in 2012. This chart is from the catcher’s point of view. Click here for a general guide to pitch types and classifications...
It might be a little too early in the season to hype any series as a big one. However, the fact of the matter is that the Pirates will be playing their biggest series in 14 years when they travel to Cincinnati to meet the Reds in a three-game set beginning on Friday night at Great American Ball Park. The Pirates are in second place in the National League Central and trail the...
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Over the course of the last week the Pirates have won five games, but I've been saying ad nauseum that they haven't really played that well. Part of the reason for that is that they've been winning close games while leaving tons of runners on base and most of their wins have felt like they more stumbled into them than beat their opponents. Last night bucked the trend...