CIN vs. PIT, Sept. 14: Odds, preview, prediction

September 14th, 2021

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Reds vs. Pirates Odds

Reds Odds: -163

Pirates Odds: +137

Over/Under: 8.8 (-110)

Time: Tuesday, 6:35 p.m. ET


Odds as of Sunday and via FanDuel NJ.

The Cincinnati Reds are currently tied with the San Diego Padres for the second NL Wild Card spot, and both teams are just one game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are far behind the Reds, and both the Pirates and Reds are 4-6 in their last 10 ballgames. They will each send southpaws to the hill in Tuesday evening’s affair: Wade Miley for the Reds and Dillon Peters for the Pirates. This sets up for a low-scoring game as these are two of the worst hitting teams in the league against lefties since the beginning of August.

Do the Pirates have an edge, or will both teams lack the hitting capabilities to put on an offensive show?

Cincinnati Reds

Wade Miley has been one of the bright spots in the Reds pitching staff this season. He owns a 2.89 ERA, which is below his 4.03 xERA. He has been lucky, but part of that “luck” has been his elite ability to induce weak contact. He ranks in the 94th percentile in the league in average exit velocity (85.8 MPH).

The Pirates cannot hit cutters (especially since August 1), and the cutter is Miley’s number-one pitch. Their .226 xwOBA on this pitch implies more of the same results for Miley when he toes the rubber.

The Reds struggle when facing lefties this second half. Their 70 wRC+ as a team is tied for last in the MLB since August 1st. Joey Votto and Nick Castellanos carry the reins as the only two bats keeping their collective stats off of southpaws alive.

In addition to those two, Tyler Naquin in the only other consistent bat in the lineup with the ability to get on base at a solid clip (.340 OBP). Otherwise, there’s a massive drop-off after him. I guess the one redeeming factor for Cincinnati is all of their healthy hitters. They might as well be at full strength to give themselves a semblance of a shot in this game once Dillon Peters exits.

In that same timeframe, the Reds bullpen has also been underwhelming. They own a 4.71 ERA, so at least their 4.20 xFIP indicates they should see a bit of positive regression.

Losing Tejay Antone hurt, but Luis Cessa, Lucas Sims, Mychal Givens, Tony Santillan, and Michael Lorenzen have at least all been solid options, as of late for Cincy. Getting an off-day Monday will give the Reds relievers an assist, too as they all should be available.

Pittsburgh Pirates

For the Pirates, Peters has been pretty strong. He only has four appearances and has yet to allow more than three runs, but his largest shortcoming is durability. He will only go about four or five innings, but given how Cincinnati despises facing left-handers, this should play into his hands.

The Reds are fine at hitting changeups overall, and this is Peters’s number one pitch as he throws it about 34% of the time. When this pitch comes from the left side, though, they do have a bit more success with it. Peters just needs to utilize the other pitches in his arsenal, and he will succeed.

His fastball use is 32.1%, and Cincy holds a .312 xwOBA on that pitch. If he increases his fastball usage here, do not be shocked.

The Pittsburgh lineup is better than Cincinnati against lefties this season, but not by much. Their 82 wRC+ ranks 26th in the MLB since the start of August. Hoy Park, Ke’Bryan Hayes, and Bryan Reynolds all have .340+ OBPs facing southpaws in that same date range. Kevin Newman and Yoshi Tsutsugo are above the 130 wRC+ mark since then, as well. They have a few more bats than the Reds do, but this lineup does not scream firepower.

Losing Duane Underwood to the Injured List does not help this team. David Bednar has been phenomenal in the second half, but the Bucs need a couple other arms to step up in relief of Peters. It could be Anthony Banda or Chris Stratton, but these are the only other reliable arms…and reliable is a stretch.

They also have an off-day Monday, so this will help provide some rest to an already short-handed set of relievers.

Reds-Pirates Pick

Neither of these teams jumps off of the page as an auto-bet here. However, both bullpens are rested, both starters have shown their abilities in keeping offenses in check, and both offenses struggle mightily with lefty pitching.

This all leads to one place: the under. Take the under 8.5 (-110) and play to 8 (-120).

Pick: Under 8.5 (-110), play to 8 (-120)