2021-09-16
Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates
League : MLB

Pittsburgh Pirates vs Cincinnati Reds Prediction & Preview



 

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Pitching Matchup

Cincinnati: Tyler Mahle (RHP) 11-5, 3.73 ERA

Pittsburgh: TBD

The Cincinnati Reds have been trying to stay in the NL Wild Card race as they are currently 75-70 this season. They have right-hander Tyler Mahle on the mound here and he is coming off a no-decision against the St Louis Cardinals where he went six innings and allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking forward to the future as they are last in the NL Central with a 53-91 record. They have not announced who will be on the mound here but according to Fangraphs, right-hander Cody Ponce is expected to be on the mound. He is coming off a no-decision against the Washington Nationals where he pitched three no-hit innings with a walk and two strikeouts. 

Reds are Ice Cold

The Cincinnati Reds have been one of the best offensive teams this season as their .756 OPS is tied with the Chicago White Sox for fifth in baseball. A big reason for their offensive output is the fact they are eighth in MLB with 197 total home runs. Cincinnati has been brutally cold in the last seven days (five games) as they are scoring just 2.6 runs per game with a .628 OPS (28th in MLB in that span). Right fielder Nick Castellanos has been doing great at the dish as he has a .944 OPS with 29 home runs and 82 RBI while stealing two bases in three attempts. If the Reds can figure out how to get back to hitting as well as they have this year, they will be in the playoffs.

Tyler Mahle has been doing pretty well this season according to his Baseball Savant page as he is in the 83rd percentile in hard hit percentage, 79th percentile in strikeout percentage, 72nd percentile in whiff percentage, and 67th percentile in average exit velocity. His 33.9 hard hit percentage is the lowest since 2017 for him. Mahle throws three different pitches (fastball, slider, splitter) and his best pitch has been the splitter as it had a .176 batting average with a .240 slugging percentage. He faced the Pirates twice this season as he went 2-0 in 12.1 innings and allowed three runs on 10 hits with four walks and 17 strikeouts.

 

Pirates Life for Me

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been arguably the worst offensive team in the majors as they have a .670 OPS this season, which is last in MLB. Pittsburgh has been struggling to score runs as they are averaging 3.66 runs per game this year. Looking at the month of September, the Pirates are an average offensive team as they have a team slashline of .258/.339/.394 while scoring 4.92 runs per game this month. Center fielder Bryan Reynolds has been hitting well this year as he has an .895 OPS with 23 home runs and 85 RBI while stealing five bases in seven attempts. If the Pirates can manufacture some early runs, they will be in a great spot.

 

Cody Ponce has been struggling this season according to his limited percentile rankings on Baseball Savant. He is in the 16th percentile in curveball spin, 26th percentile in fastball spin, 54th percentile in max exit velocity, and 62nd percentile in fastball spin. Ponce has a six-pitch arsenal (fastball, curveball, cutter, slider, changeup, sinker) and his changeup has a .500 batting average and a 1.250 slugging percentage. This will be the first time he is facing the Reds in his career so it will be interesting to see how he attacks this lineup.







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