Cincinnati Reds vs. Pittsburgh Pirates: Full Series Preview

Kyle Kauffung@KyleKauffungContributor IIIMay 31, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 27: Shin-Soo Choo #17 and Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrate Choo's home run in the first inning of the interleague game against the Cleveland Indians at Great American Ball Park on May 27, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds (33-21, third in NL Central) are set to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates (34-20, second in NL Central) in a three-game series starting on Friday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.

Coming into the series, the Pirates and Reds have the second and fourth best records, respectively, in the majors but are still chasing the St. Louis Cardinals, which own the best record in baseball at 35-18. 


Pitching Matchups

Friday, May 31 at 7:05 p.m. ET

Reds' RHP Johnny Cueto (2-0, 2.76 ERA) vs. Pirates' LHP Wandy Rodriguez (6-2, 3.58 ERA)

Cueto is scheduled to make his third start since coming off the disabled list. He is 1-0 in those two starts, getting a win against the New York Mets on May 20 and a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. He pitched well in both games, allowing seven hits, four earned runs and 10 strikeouts.

Rodriguez has 10 starts for Pittsburgh this season. The Pirates have won eight of those games. He is 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA in his last five starts, striking out 23 batters while only walking two. 


Saturday, June 1 at 7:15 p.m. ET

Reds' RHP Mike Leake (4-2, 3.02 ERA) vs. Pirates' LHP Francisco Liriano (3-1, 2.35 ERA)

Mike Leake went 3-1 with a 1.87 ERA in five starts in May. He has only given up one earned run in his last three starts. He had 26 strikeouts and walked four during the month.

Liriano is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA and 19 strikeouts in his last three starts. He has never pitched to the majority of the Reds lineup. Shin-Soo Choo leads Cincinnati with 19 at-bats against him, putting up two RBI.


Sunday, June 2 at 1:35 p.m. ET

Reds RHP Mat Latos (5-0, 3.01 ERA) vs. Pirates' RHP Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.30 ERA)

Latos is undefeated so far this season and is also undefeated in his career when pitching against the Pirates, going 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 45 innings of work.

Gomez had his longest outing this season in his last start, throwing seven shutout innings against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday.


Things to Watch on the Offensive Side

Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati's Joey Votto and Choo are first and second in the majors in base on balls and on base percentage. Votto has been walked 44 times and owns a .466 OBP, while Choo has walked 40 times and has a .449 OBP.

Votto is tied for first in runs scored with 44, and Choo is tied for sixth with 40. Votto has the fifth best batting average at .345 and is tied for sixth in hits with 70.

Brandon Phillips is tied for fourth in RBI with 43.


Pittsburgh Pirates

Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte are tied for the team lead in batting average at .290 and OBP at .351. They are tied for fourth in the majors in steals with 14.


All stats from