Sports Magazine

BUCN Perfect : My Pirates Vs Reds Preview

By Kipper @pghsportsforum
What is at stake this weekend for the Reds/Pirates last matchup of the season? The Pirates are 3 games back from the Cardinals. The Reds are one game back from the Pirates. The Pirates have a sliver of hope to claim the NL Central title, however; the Cubs would have to sweep the Cardinals and the Pirates would have to sweep the Reds. The Reds cannot win the NL Central.
Here are the two scenarios, given the Cardinals win the NL. If the Pirates win two out of three games this weekend, the WC game will be held in Pittsburgh on Tuesday. If Reds win two games this weekend, the WC game will be held in Cincinnati on Tuesday.
Here’s how the games will stack up in Cincinnati:
Friday 7:10pm, Burnett (9-11, 3.39 ERA) vs. Bailey (11-11, 3.40 ERA)
Saturday 1:05pm, Morton (7-4, 3.14 ERA) vs. Arroyo (14-11, 3.60 ERA)
Sunday 1:10pm Cole (10-7, 3.22 ERA) vs. Cueto (5-2, 2.82 ERA)

Pirates Pitching
AJ Burnett has pitched 3 games against the Reds this year, going 1-2, with 28 STFDs, 8 BBS, and let up 2 HRs. Charlie Morton pitched one game against the Reds, which he won. He had 2Ks, 0 BBs, and ) HRs. Gerrit Cole has NOT pitched against the Reds this season at all. In Cole’s last five starts, he’s 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA, 38 Ks, 10 BBs, and 0 HRs.

Reds Pitching

Homer Bailey has pitched three games against the Pirates this year, one no decision and two losses. He has 23 Ks, 5 BBs, and 3 HRs in those games. Bronson Arroyo has one no decision and one win, 6Ks, 5 BBs, and 2 HRs. Johnny Cueto has one win and one no decision, with 9Ks, 2BBs, and 0 HRs.

Pittsburgh Pirates GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG

Andrew McCutchen 155 575 95 183 38 5 20 83 76 100 .318

Pedro Alvarez 149 549 68 126 22 2 34 97 47 185 .230

Marlon Byrd 145 524 72 149 34 5 23 84 31 144 .284

Cincinnati Reds GP AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG

Joey Votto 159 573 100 174 30 3 24 73 132 137 .304

Brandon Phillips 149 599 79 156 24 2 18 102 39 98 .260

Jay Bruce 157 617 89 163 42 1 30 107 61 181 .264

Offensively, we have seen the Pirates struggle to score all season. It seems as though there are days where they hit everything, and days where they hit nothing. Offensively, the Reds have more production in almost every category. The Reds are 10th in RBIs and the Pirates are 22nd; offensive ability for the Pirates is going to make them or break them. Also, defensively, the Pirates need to step it up. The Reds have 75 errors to our 106, and they are 6th in fielding percentage to our 21st.

The Dusty Baker Factor
“Just put them in a room, let them box and let it be over with. I always said this, let it be like hockey, let them fight, someone hits the ground and it’s over with. I’m serious about that…If you’ve got something to say, you go over and tell them. Johnny ain’t running. That guy can say what he wants to say, but he can say it to his face.”
That my friends, is Dusty Baker’s philosophy about talking trash and fighting in baseball games. He also thinks swearing should be banned… So take all that with a grain of salt. He’s no stranger to controversy; the Reds have plunked Cutch four times already this year. Let’s not forget that 101 mph fastball my “favorite” Reds pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, sent flying at Cutch’s arm last year. The NL Central Division seems hell bent on hurting one another. Check out Tim William’s interpretation of the Reds plunking Cutch and the stats about HBP. Tim seems to think the Reds plunking Cutch is unintentional, but I’ll leave to you guys to decide. His article is here:
My guess? No less than five batters are HBP this weekend because these two teams are bitter rivals, and Dusty likes to play dirty ball. If you don’t believe me that Dusty lets his player behave like animals, watch Brandon Phillips flip out at a reporter for pointing out his OPS:
Dusty sits there and does nothing but laugh the entire time. What kind of coach lets a player totally lose it on a member of the media? I know I’m going to get push back about this because AJ Burnett had some choice words for Bob Pompeani a few weeks ago. Take this into consideration: the Reds media member tweeted that Todd Frazier’s spot in the batting order was filled by Brandon Phillips, and that Phillips OPS was .310 to Frazier’s .320. That’s it. AJ was asked about an incident where it was perceived he yelled at Clint Barmes. AJ had already answered reporters’ questions the previous day and smoothed over the incident with Hurdle and Barmes. Pompeani couldn’t let it go.

AJ Burnett: The Dark Knight
AJ Burnett, Batman, The Dark Knight. Creator of the infamous #STFD and veteran leader of the Pirates pitching, as well as the clubhouse. He strikes fear into batters with his tattoos, long hair, and IDGAF attitude. He uses his nasty fastball and curveball to tell batters to STFD. He has personified the city and they have come to love him for it.
He started with the Marlins, who let him go because of his lack of control on the bump and off the bump. Coaches complained he was a discipline case and traded him to the Yankees. Unfortunately the spotlight of being a Yankee and the pressure of Yankee stadium weren’t suited to Burnett either. He made one last stop with the Blue Jays before he finally found his baseball home in the Steel City.
Jeff Locke and Gerrit Cole never leave his side in the dugout. They hang on his every word and movement. Why wouldn’t they want their mentor to be AJ Burnett? He’s a 36 year old, 6’4” 225lb strikeout machine who’s been pitching for fifteen years. His record is 146-132 with 23 complete games, 10 shutouts, 2345.2 innings pitched, and 2,174 STFDs in his career. His SO/9 this season is 10, which is a career high. He’s learned to be more disciplined since his younger days, although he still has that crazy look in his eyes. This maturity has allowed the younger guys to view him as their baseball idol.
He’s won two ALDS and one World Series with the Yankees. Going into this season, AJ had mentioned he was 50/50 about retiring at the end of the year. Saturday September 21st could’ve been his last game at home in a Pirates uniform. Tonight could be his last night pitching for the Pirates ever. Let that sink in for a few moments… He has said if he plays next season, he wants to stay with the Pirates organization, and the Pirates have said they will do everything in their power to keep him. One of his teammates, during the playoff celebration, told him he had to come back next year. AJ flashed that devilish grin and went back to spraying champagne. Is he gonna be back next year? Will The Dark Knight rise again in the Steel City? You bet your *** he will.
He’s my favorite pitcher and favorite Pirate’s player ever. Some people ask why since he’s only been here for two years. He gave the Pirates stability in the clubhouse and rallied them together with his STFD attitude and leadership skills. Cutch might be the face of the franchise, but AJ Burnett is the attitude. Cutch wears the beautiful smile, but AJ Burnett gives the iciest glares possible.


Since yinz are always asking my opinions of games and matchups, I think that AJ, Chuck, and Cole have the pitching prowess to sweep the Reds this weekend. The offense is going to be the biggest factor in determining the winners of these last three games. If we go 1-2 against the Reds, I think it fuels the fire to bring home a big win Tuesday. If we go 2-1, I’d rather suffer the loss on Sunday. These guys seem to be motivated by a loss and come out the next day guns blazing.
Although our offense struggles when AJ is pitching, I think we can take down Bailey, ESPECIALLY if AJ’s curve is as good as last Saturday. Arroyo’s last game against us was a little sketchy from the first inning. I give Ground Chuck the win here too. The Cueto v Cole matchup is going to be great. I love these two against each other, and with Cole 45 dealing his past few games, he’s our best shot at beating Cueto. But, he gets a little rattled before he settles in. If he makes it through the first few innings unscathed, he brings home a win. If the Reds and Cueto get up on us early, I’m not confident our offense can recover against Cueto.
Final Prediction: 2-1 in favor of the Pirates and a home WC game on Tuesday.
**I know yinz want my opinion on Tuesday’s game too but I want to wait till at least Sunday to provide better insight.

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