Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds
|Date & Time||Thursday March 28, 2019, 4:10 PM (EDT)|
Great American Ballpark
Cincinnati Reds -130 / Pittsburgh Pirates +107 -- O/U: 8.5
The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds meet in MLB opening day action from the Great American Ballpark on Thursday.
The Pittsburgh Pirates come into the 2019 season looking to bounce back after an 82-79 regular season that saw the Buccos finish 4th in the NL Central, missing the playoffs for the 3rd straight season. The Pirates made some moves in the offseason, trading for former Indians infielder Erik Gonzalez, who is expected to replace Josh Harrison after Harrison left in free agency. Jordan Lyles was brought in as a potential 5th starter for Pittsburgh after Ivan Nova was traded to the White Sox in the offseason. The rotation seems to be pretty much set otherwise, with Jameson Taillon leading the charge, followed up by Trevor Williams, Joe Musgrove and Chris Archer. Only time will tell if Pittsburgh can get back to the postseason and win their first playoff series since 1979. Jameson Taillon will start game one and was 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA and 179 strikeouts last season. In his career, Taillon is 4-4 with a 4.30 ERA and 63 strikeouts against Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati Reds will look to rebound after yet another disappointing season, finishing below the 70-win mark for the 4th straight season, ending 2018 with an overall mark of 67-95, 15.5 games behind 4th place in the NL Central. The Reds made a huge splash in the offseason, sending prospects and Homer Bailey to the Dodgers for a package including Alex Wood, Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to help strengthen the squad. Wood will be looking for a bounce back year after going 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA and 135 strikeouts while Kemp hit .290 with 21 homers and 85 RBIs and Puig belted 23 homers and 63 RBIs while batting .267. The Reds also return Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez, Scooter Gennett and Scott Schebler to form a solid lineup bookmarked by Jose Peraza and Tucker Barnhart. The rotation also looks improved with Luis Castillo leading the charge while Anthony DeSclafani, Sonny Gray and Tanner Roark fill out the rest of the rotation. It will be interesting to see if all of these big moves can help Cincy return to the postseason or if it will be another disappointing year for the Reds’ faithful. Luis Castillo will start game one and was 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA and 165 strikeouts last season. In his career, Castillo is 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA and 24 strikeouts against Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is 7-1 in Taillon’s last 8 starts and 8-2 in their last 10 games against a right-handed starter while the under is 13-6 in their last 19 road games. Cincinnati is 4-1 in Castillo’s last 5 division starts and 9-3 in Castillo’s last 12 home starts while the under is 14-2-1 in their last 17 games overall. Pittsburgh is 8-1 in the last 9 meetings between these two teams and 5-1 in the last 6 meetings between these two teams in Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh and the plus money is tempting considering that arguably their best pitcher in on the mound in Taillon and the Pirates have had a lot of success in this matchup. However, Castillo has been solid in his own right for the Reds, and I’m excited to see all of the new acquisitions for the Reds get involved. I think Cincinnati bucks the trends and starts the year on a high note with a win here.