Pirates, Reds gear up for doubleheader

MLB

If carryover from a team’s previous game is a real thing, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be lugging some heavy baggage into their doubleheader Monday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

The Pirates (14-30) not only have lost four straight to reach the 30-loss mark in this 60-game season, but also got boonswaggled Sunday in getting swept by the Royals in Kansas City.

Pittsburgh fell 11-0 in an afternoon that was sloppy and frustrating and so disastrous that during a Royals four-run first inning, two runners came home on a Chad Kuhl wild pitch that clanked off the home plate umpire’s facemask.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the game.

Pittsburgh is assured it will fall short of a winning record for the 24th time over the past 28 years.

Cincinnati (21-26) comes into the doubleheader on a much different note. The Reds won a series for the first time in more than a month Sunday by beating the St. Louis Cardinals 10-5.

“That was one of my favorite games I’ve been a part of,” Reds manager David Bell said.

Bell said center fielder Nick Senzel could come off the IL and return Monday. He hasn’t played since Aug. 14, which came just before the Reds shut things down for four days because of a positive COVID-19 test.

Senzel went on the IL without a specific injury designation.

The Pirates didn’t divulge their starters for the doubleheader until Sunday. Right-hander Mitch Keller (1-1, 3.52 ERA) will start one game, and rookie right-hander Cody Ponce (1-1, 3.46 ERA) will be called up as the Pirates’ 29th man and start the other. However, Shelton declined to say which one would pitch which game.

Keller (strained left oblique) will be activated from the 10-day IL and make his first appearance since Aug. 1.

“I’m excited to have him back,” Shelton said. “It’s not going to be fully built up. It’s good to get him back. We need to get him innings.”

Keller is 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two career starts against Cincinnati (none this year).

Ponce’s most recent start, and second of his career, came Sept. 4 against the Reds. In four innings, he gave up three runs and three hits, including two homers.

The Reds had narrowed it to right-handers Anthony DeSclafani (1-2, 7.20 ERA) and Trevor Bauer (4-4, 1.74 ERA), and after Sunday’s game, Bell said Bauer will start Game 1.

Bauer has two complete games, both in scheduled seven-inning starts, a two-hitter Aug. 2 at Detroit and a one-hitter Aug. 19 at Kansas City.

In his career against Pittsburgh, Bauer is 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA in four starts. That includes a 4-3 Reds loss Sept. 4, when he struck out seven in six innings and gave up six hits, but three of the four runs he gave up were unearned, and Bauer yelled at his teammates in the dugout after the fourth inning.

“I was mad,” Bauer said. “It takes a lot of intensity, a lot of focus to win at the big-league level and I was upset with the way that inning transpired, both on my part and our team’s part.”

DeSclafani is 2-7 with a 5.31 ERA in 15 career starts against the Pirates. This year, DeSclafani is 0-1 in two starts against Pittsburgh, giving up 11 runs and four homers in six innings.

–Field Level Media

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