Reds look to extend recent dominance over Pirates

MLB Baseball

The Reds continue to smack around the Pirates, and Cincinnati gets two more cracks at them in the ongoing series at Pittsburgh before the teams don’t see each other again until August.

A 14-1 win Monday boosted the Reds to 4-for-4 in the season series, with the victories by a combined 44-9. Cincinnati has beaten Pittsburgh eight straight times overall.

Playing the Pirates means good things for some of the Reds.

Jesse Winker went 2-for-4 Monday to inch his National League-leading batting average up to .359.

One player who could perhaps use more games against Pittsburgh is Eugenio Suarez. He was struggling with a .130 average before going 1-for-4 with a solo home run Monday. His average improved slightly to .134, but he struck out twice more to give him a league-high 49 whiffs.

“He’s struggling for sure,” Reds manager David Bell said. “It can seem so far off, but we all know that it’s usually a small adjustment that you make and everything falls into place. He’s still the same (Suarez), still the same talented guy that’s had really productive seasons.”

While the Pirates’ pitching is getting scorched by the Reds and the Pittsburgh offense is tame — five hits Monday — there is one bright spot. Adam Frazier was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk to extend his season-best hitting streak to 11 games.

On Tuesday, Cincinnati right-hander Jeff Hoffman (2-2, 4.39 ERA) is scheduled to start opposite Pittsburgh right-hander JT Brubaker (2-2, 2.78 ERA).

Hoffman was scheduled to start Monday, but after a rainout Sunday in Cleveland, the Reds pushed everything back a day. That might be disruptive to some starters, who often maintain a strict routine, but Hoffman didn’t balk.

“I was obviously prepared to go (Monday), but for me, getting an extra day allows me to kind of do whatever I feel like I need, whatever I feel like is necessary on that extra day,” said Hoffman.

“I will get a little extra recovery stuff in and, obviously, knowing that we’re about to go on a long stretch without (a scheduled) off day, this could work really good for us.”

Cincinnati isn’t due to be off again until May 24.

Hoffman is 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against the Pirates, both while he was with Colorado.

Brubaker, in his past three outings, has two losses and a no-decision, the latter occurring Wednesday at San Diego. Over his past four starts, he has struck out 27 while walking three.

However, he has not received much run support. On Wednesday, he allowed two runs and six hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and three walks in the Pirates’ 4-2 loss. Pittsburgh also made four errors — including one by Brubaker.

Fielding aside, the Pirates are encouraged by Brubaker’s season so far.

“He continues to get better start after start, and that’s really promising for us,” manager Derek Shelton said.

Against the Reds, Brubaker is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts. He ended up with a no-decision April 5 at Cincinnati when he gave up one run in four innings.

–Field Level Media

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