Previewing Bucs-Reds 8/1

Gerrit Cole courtesy of USATSI
USATSI

Game 3 of a 4 game series between the Pirates and Reds takes place at 7:10 tonight at the Great American Ballpark (or as my friends and I call it, “That freaking joke of a stadium!”).  Scheduled starters are Gerrit Cole (14-4, 2.24 ERA) goes against Raisel Iglesias (1-3, 5.53 ERA).  On paper, this looks like the perfect time for Cole’s 15th win.  But, as they say, “They don’t play the games on paper, blah, blah, blah.”.  Let’s take a look inside and see how this game may shake down. The Pirates have never faced Iglesias.  So far this season, they’ve struggled mightily against pitchers that they’ve never seen, recent callups, etc..  So it’s kind of a reach to expect the Pirates to torch Iglesias, but there are some things to watch out for; Jung Ho Kang is batting .418 with a 1.148 OPS in his last 10 games, including a 3-4 effort last night with 3 doubles.  Kang has been on fire since Jordy Mercer went down to injury 2 weeks ago. Andrew McCutchen has 3 HR and 9 RBI in his last 10 games, with an .838 OPS.  McCutchen homered last night in the win. Starling Marte has a 10 game hitting streak going.  He’s batted .358 with an .828 OPS and 14 hits during that stretch.  Marte was the hero defensively last night, throwing out Brandon Phillips at the plate in the ninth inning to prevent the tying run from scoring, and making a gem of a catch to end the game. Chris Stewart might just be the best backup catcher in the Majors right now.  Stewart has become Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher, and in his last 10 games, he’s batting at a .355 clip, with a .770 OPS. On the other side of the coin, a handful of Reds have had success against Cole.  Namely Marlon Byrd, who in 13 AB’s, has 6 hits, a 1.462 OPS, 2 HR and 5 RBI.  It’s no surprise that Todd Frazier is 5-14, with 2 HR, 5 RBI, and a 1.400 OPS.  Brandon Phillips is 5-11, with a .909 OPS, and Billy Hamilton has 5 career SB in only 9 plate appearances against Cole. Iglesias has struck out 45 batters in 42.2 innings, with 15 BB.  He hasn’t gone more than 6 innings since May 13 though, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Bucs can be patient, get his pitch count up, and get to the Reds’ bullpen.

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