Monday, September 10, 2012

10 facts about the Pirates series

The first-place Reds (84-57) conclude a 9-game homestand as they welcome the Pittsburgh Pirates (72-67) to town for a 3-game series beginning Monday night.

Clint Hurdle's bunch is fighting for their playoff lives as they continue to drift farther and farther away from the top of the standings. They enter the series losers of seven of their last nine games and currently sit a full 11 games off the pace for first, but just two games behind in the NL Wild Card. They aim to pick up a couple of victories in Cincy to help keep their postseason dreams alive.

The Reds on the other hand, continue to inch closer to clinching their second division crown in the past three seasons. A series win over the third-place Pirates would certainly help that cause.

Here are 10 facts about the weekday series vs the Buccos:

1. All games are slated to begin at approximately 7:10pm ET.

2. Here are the pitching probables:

Mon - CIN Mat Latos (12-4, 3.69) vs PIT Wandy Rodriguez (10-13, 3.71)
Tue - CIN Mike Leake (7-9, 4.73) vs PIT Kevin Correia (10-8, 4.28)
Wed - CIN Homer Bailey (10-9, 4.03) vs PIT A.J. Burnett (15-6, 3.68)

3. The season series is tied between them at 6-6. The foes will play one more series after this one and that comes September 28-30 in The Steel City.

4. Latos has made five starts in his career against the Pirates and all five have resulted in victories for his team. He is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA overall in those starts including 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA in two starts against them in 2012 (13.1 IP, 6 H, 16 K).

5. Cincinnati's 8.5 game lead in the NL Central is the largest cushion for any team in Major League Baseball. Their magic number stands at 14.

6. ESPN gives the Reds a 99.9% chance to advance to the postseason at this point and a 16.4% chance for Pittsburgh.

7. The Bucs are mired in a streak of 19 consecutive losing seasons dating back to 1993, the longest such streak in North American professional sports history.

8. The Pirates have stolen the fewest bases in the league this season (58) while the Reds rank 13th with 79.

9. This series will feature two of the top three bullpens in the National League. Cincy leads the league with a team ERA of 2.74 for relievers while Pittsburgh ranks third with a 3.11 bullpen ERA.

10. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 1,003-1,042. The Reds are 50-40 all-time against PIT at GABP.

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