Reds & Pirates Bullpens Key in Tight Game

Reds & Pirates Bullpens Key in Tight Game

Date:  Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Time: 6:40 p.m. ET

Arena: PNC Park,

The Cincinnati Reds are set to face the Pittsburgh Pirates. With the over/under set at 8.5 total runs, this matchup promises to be an exciting one. In this analysis, let’s see each team’s strengths and weaknesses, examine the starting pitchers’ statistics, and explain why picking under 8.5 total runs is a better bet for this game.

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have had a mixed season so far, with recent struggles contributing to their current standing. They have lost three consecutive games and five of their last seven. Despite these setbacks, Cincinnati has shown resilience and determination, particularly through the performance of shortstop Elly De La Cruz, who leads the league with 37 stolen bases and had three hits in their recent game against the Pirates.

Manager David Bell remains optimistic about his team’s approach at the plate, highlighting their ability to make hard contact even in losses. This attitude is crucial as the Reds look to turn their fortunes around.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates, on the other hand, are riding a wave of momentum, having won three of their last four games. Their success is significantly attributed to their strong bullpen, led by David Bednar. Bednar has returned to form with 14 consecutive save conversions, earning his 15th save in a 4-1 victory over the Reds on Monday.

Pittsburgh’s late-inning trio of Aroldis Chapman, Colin Holderman, and Bednar has been instrumental, helping the team maintain a 28-4 record when leading after seven innings. The Pirates’ confidence is further bolstered by the impressive hitting streak of left fielder Bryan Reynolds, who extended his streak to 15 games with two doubles and an RBI in the series opener.

Starting Pitchers

Nick Lodolo (Cincinnati Reds)

Nick Lodolo will take the mound for the Reds, bringing a season record of 7-2 with a 2.93 ERA. Lodolo has been a reliable starter, boasting a WHIP of 1.20 and a K/9 rate of 8.5. In his last outing, Lodolo allowed two runs over six innings and threw a season-high 102 pitches in a 4-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians. Against the Pirates, he holds a career record of 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts.

Lodolo’s consistent performance and ability to limit runs make him a formidable opponent for the Pirates’ lineup.

Bailey Falter (Pittsburgh Pirates)

Bailey Falter will start for the Pirates, carrying a season record of 3-4 with a 3.86 ERA. Falter has experienced some difficulties recently, allowing a total of eight runs and 16 hits across his past two starts. Despite these struggles, he had a strong month prior, posting a 2.23 ERA in five outings.

Falter aims to regain his form and help the Pirates secure another victory. His ability to navigate through the Reds’ lineup will be crucial in this matchup.

Batting Averages

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have a team batting average of .245. Despite recent losses, they have shown the ability to make hard contact and produce hits, as emphasized by manager David Bell. Elly De La Cruz continues to be a standout performer, providing a spark at the top of the lineup.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates have a slightly better team batting average at .250. Bryan Reynolds has been the driving force behind their offensive success, maintaining an impressive hitting streak and contributing significantly to the team’s run production.

Game Prediction Models

  • FiveThirtyEight: Total runs 8.2
  • FanGraphs: Total runs 8.4
  • Baseball-Reference: Total runs 7.3
  • PECOTA: Total runs 8.5
  • Davenport Translations: Total runs 8.1

Pythagorean Theorem:

    • Cincinnati Reds: Pythagorean Win Expectancy is calculated using runs scored (4.3) and runs allowed (4.6).
    • Pittsburgh Pirates: Pythagorean Win Expectancy is calculated using runs scored (4.1) and runs allowed (4.3).

Why Picking Under 8.5 Total Runs is a Better Bet

Considering the starting pitchers’ statistics and the teams’ recent performances, several factors point towards a lower-scoring game:

  1. Strong Pitching Matchup: Both Nick Lodolo and Bailey Falter have demonstrated the ability to limit runs. Lodolo’s recent performance and Falter’s potential to bounce back suggest a competitive pitching duel.
  2. Bullpen Strength: The Pirates’ bullpen, featuring Bednar, Chapman, and Holderman, has been exceptional, particularly in late innings. This trio’s effectiveness in closing out games further supports the likelihood of a low-scoring affair.
  3. Team Trends: The Reds have struggled offensively in recent games, and despite making hard contact, they have not translated those efforts into runs consistently. The Pirates, while having a slight edge in batting average, have also been involved in several close, low-scoring games.
  4. Weather Conditions: The expected partly cloudy weather with mild temperatures should not significantly impact gameplay, allowing the pitchers to maintain control.
  5. Pythagorean Theorem and Strength of Schedule: Both teams have faced moderately challenging schedules. The Pythagorean Win Expectancy, considering the runs scored and allowed, supports the prediction of a close game with limited scoring.

Final Pick

The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates game on June 18, 2024, is poised to be a tightly contested matchup with strong pitching and effective bullpens likely keeping the scoring in check. Based on the analysis of the starting pitchers, bullpen strength, team trends, and additional factors, the best pick for this game is under 8.5 total runs. The combination of strong pitching performances, particularly from Lodolo, and the Pirates’ reliable bullpen, points towards a low-scoring contest.

PICK: under 8.5 total runs WIN