The Pittsburgh Pirates are 5-1 in their last six games against the Cincinnati Reds, including a win in last year's NL Wild Card play-in game.
The Reds and Pirates play the third and final game of a three-game series in Cincinnati on Wednesday with two excellent pitchers taking the mound. Cincinnati is a -135 favorite at home against the Pirates, who are going off at +115 on the upset, according to the MLB betting lines at Sports Interaction this morning.
The Pirates picked up where they left off last season, getting off to a strong 6-3 start through their first three series of the season. But over their last five games, the Pirates are just 1-4 after being swept by Milwaukee and splitting the first two games against Cincinnati.
Francisco Liriano is set to start this afternoon and has an 0-2 record and a 4.00 ERA this season. Liriano was brilliant last season with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.
Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati begins at 12:35pm ET at the Great American Ball Park on Wednesday afternoon.
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Cincinnati is off to a surprisingly slow start, going just 5-9 through its first 14 games. The Reds got off to a slow start on offense averaging just 2.5 runs per game through their first 11 games, but their bats seem to be heating up with 26 runs scored in their last three games.
Cincinnati will try to earn some run support for Johnny Cueto, who is off to an 0-2 start despite a dazzling 2.14 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first three starts.
Each of the last three games between these two games has gone OVER the total, including the Wild Card game between the two NL Central rivals that pit these two pitchers against each other last year. That total was set at 6.5 and Pittsburgh won the game 6-2. Wednesday's total is set at seven runs.
On paper, this looks to be a pitcher's duel between two strong pitchers, but if Cincinnati's offense can stay hot against the Pirates, Johnny Cueto could finally pick up his first win of the season.