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Reds attempt to right ship in doubleheader vs Pirates

Sportsnaut
Cincinnati Reds non-roster invitee pitcher Connor Overton (71) delivers during a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants, Sunday, March 20, 2022, at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz.San Francisco Giants At Cincinnati Reds March 20 0158
Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

After rain washed out Friday’s scheduled series opener between the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds, the teams will begin their shortened three-game series Saturday with a split doubleheader.

The twin bill was part of the adjusted schedule that was released by Major League Baseball after the end of the labor stoppage. The two clubs were originally scheduled to play in Cincinnati’s season-opening, six-game homestand before the three games were reassigned throughout the schedule.

The game rained out Friday will be rescheduled as the opener of a day-night doubleheader in Cincinnati on July 7.

The Reds enter the Saturday doubleheader having lost nine straight and 20 of 21 after a 2-2 beginning to the season. Their 3-22 record stands as the worst 25-game start in franchise history. The Reds are 20-9 against Pittsburgh dating back to the start of the 2020 season, including a 9-1 record last season in Cincinnati.

The Reds are coming off a three-game sweep at Milwaukee in which they were outscored 34-12.

“We just have to keep getting better in every area, every one of us,” Reds manager David Bell said. “That’s what we’ll continue to do. We look for every little adjustment, every edge we can to improve.”

In their first 25 games, Reds starters are 3-19 with a major-league-worst 8.91 ERA, allowing 22 home runs in 100 innings. Cincinnati is the only team in the majors that has yet to have a starter go at least six innings in a game, the longest such streak dating to 1893.

“I’m impressed with every single guy in this clubhouse and the way they’re handling it,” Bell said. “It’s not easy. It’s a huge challenge that we have in front of us. They’re handling it better than I would (as a player). It’s impressive to me.”

Right-hander Connor Overton (0-0, 1.69 ERA) is scheduled to start Game 1 for the Reds against Pittsburgh righty JT Brubaker (0-2, 6.20). In his Reds debut on April 30 in Colorado, Overton held the Rockies to one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Overton is making his fifth career start and first against the Pirates, for whom he appeared in five games last September. He is still looking for his first major league win.

Brubaker will be making his sixth start of the season. Pittsburgh’s Opening Day starter is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in his three starting assignments on the road. The Pirates have won each of his past two outings.

Lifetime against Cincinnati, the 28-year-old is 1-2 with a 4.87 ERA in four starts. He was 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts vs. the Reds last season.

In Game 2, the Reds will send right-hander Robert Dugger (0-0, 5.06) to the mound against Pittsburgh right-hander Mitch Keller (0-4, 5.32). The start is Dugger’s debut for Cincinnati, which claimed him off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

Pitching for the Miami Marlins in 2019, Dugger allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in his only career appearance against Pittsburgh.

Keller is 1-3 lifetime against Cincinnati with a 6.69 ERA in eight career starts. The 26-year-old went 1-2 in four starts vs. the Reds in 2021.

The Pirates will be playing in their second straight doubleheader after off days on Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday in Detroit, Pittsburgh dropped the first game 3-2 before bouncing back for a 7-2 win in the nightcap.

The win was just the second in eight games for Pittsburgh.

“We pitched well enough to win two games, but we need to tighten up our defense,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We made mistakes in both games, but it cost us runs in the first one.”

–Field Level Media