Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati Ohio
When: Monday, May 27, 2019 1:10pm Eastern
We have a National League Central matchup to consider when the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds meet under partly cloudy skies and temps in the mid-eighties for game two of a scheduled doubleheader. This preview is written prior to the conclusion of Sunday’s MLB action and all opinions are based on the stats from the conclusion of Saturday night’s MLB contests.
Pittsburgh is third in the NL Central and plans on starting righty Mitch Keller against the Reds on Monday. Cincinnati is last in the Central division and plans on sending righty Sonny Gray out to the bump on Monday night. I’m the Flash and will be discussing this contest with you today.
Keller Making Big League Debut
The Pirates are a middle of the pack MLB club this season but one of the bright spots has been the play of first baseman Josh Bell. Bell is batting .341 on the year with 16 home runs and 47 RBI to go along with a .407 OBP this season. The problem is that it hasn’t been enough but perhaps when Corey Dickerson, Jung ho Chang and Lonnie Chisenhall return in mid-June from injury, the Pirates can whittle down their minus 55 run differential and put up some big numbers this season.
— Pirates (@Pirates) May 26, 2019
Aside from the injuries previously mentioned, the Pirates are listing catcher Francisco Cervelli as doubtful for Sunday with concussion-like symptoms. Cervelli is the Pirates everyday catcher and has pedestrian numbers this season.
Keller is making his first big league start and posted a 3.44 ERA with a 5-0 record down at AAA this season. Keller was striking out 10.72 per nine innings pitched with 3.83 walks and just under one bomb over 47 innings pitched this season. Keller posted a 44 percent fly ball rate and that could spell doom for him at Great American Ball Park on Monday night.
Second Best Bullpen in Baseball
The Cincinnati Reds are one of eight National League clubs with a positive run differential and the main reason for this is the pitching staff because the Reds don’t hit the baseball very well at this point of the season. Cincinnati has the second-best ERA in the National League along with the second-best bullpen in all of baseball. First baseman Joey Votto shoulders much of the blame for the miserable offense and has gone from a career .300 hitter to a .226 hitter seemingly overnight. If the Reds ever figure out how to score some runs, they will continue to reside in the last place in the NL Central.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 26, 2019
Cincinnati isn’t listing any significant injuries going into Sunday’s game with the Chicago Cubs.
Gray (1-4, 3.78 ERA) has lasted five innings or more in seven of his last ten starts and his 3.78 ERA looks encouraging and even more so next to his 3.23 xFIP that suggests maybe Gray has been unlucky this season. Gray strikes out 10.34 per nine and could see some regression against the Pirates and their 20 percent strikeout rate. Gray walks 3.60 per nine innings and that might be okay against a Pirates team with an eight percent walk rate and .313 OBP. Gray is predominately a groundball pitcher against a team with a .156 ISO and that is going to be helpful at Great American Ball Park on Monday night.
- Reds are 3-7 in their last 10 Monday games.
- Reds are 1-11 in their last 12 second games of a double-header.
- Pirates are 5-0 in their last 5 second games of a double-header.
- Pirates are 5-1 in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Gray has struggled at home this season and that isn’t a good thing against an opportunistic offense such as the Pirates are. Keller making his debut might make things interesting, but I don’t think he’s going to have that much trouble against the Reds on Monday night. Especially with the Reds 25 percent strikeout rate. Cash with the Flash and play the Pirates to beat the Reds on Monday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
I suppose the best play here would be to expect more than seven runs and since we won’t see a total until likely late Monday, we are going to expect at least eight runs on Monday night. Great American Ball Park is clearly a hitters park so we should see some runs scored. Cash with the Flash and play the over on Monday night.