National League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 16th (All times Eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7) at Cincinnati Reds (5-9), 12:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Francisco Liriano (0-2, 4.00) Cincinnati - Johnny Cueto (0-2, 2.14)
(SportsNetwork.com) - Johnny Cueto hopes for a little more luck on the mound Wednesday afternoon when he tries to pitch the Cincinnati Reds to a series victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cueto gets the call in the finale of this three-game set having gone 0-2 through three starts despite a 2.14 earned run average. He has yielded two runs or fewer while going seven innings in each outing.
The right-hander's last start came on Friday versus Tampa Bay and Cueto gave up two runs on five hits and four walks only to take a 2-1 loss and gain a little sympathy from his manager.
"Got another great start from Johnny. It's unfortunate that we haven't been able to win those games. He's given us three chances to win," said Cincinnati manager Bryan Price.
The 28-year-old Cueto has great career numbers versus the Pirates, having gone 13-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 21 previous meetings.
The Pirates, meanwhile, hope that left-hander Francisco Liriano can pick up his first career win over the Reds. He is 0-3 in four previous meetings with a 3.70 ERA.
Liriano also is 0-2 through is first three starts of 2014, but has struggled in back-to-back losses after hurling six scoreless innings of 10-strikeout ball in his season debut on March 31.
The 30-year-old has given up four runs over six innings in each of his setbacks, yielding a total of three homers. Two of those came in Friday's 4-2 loss in Milwaukee.
"I made two mistakes and you can't make those kinds of mistakes at this level," Liriano said.
The Pirates and Reds played 12 innings of baseball on Tuesday as they wrapped up Monday's suspended game before playing out the second contest of this set later in the evening.
The two clubs were tied at 7-7 after combining for 10 home runs on Monday -- a new Great American Ball Park record -- before a lengthy rain delay in the seventh, and the Pirates needed just one run to claim an 8-7 victory on Tuesday.
Cincinnati, though, was able to counter with a 7-5 victory in the second game as Mike Leake pitched into the seventh inning, allowing three runs, while also going 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and a two-run homer.
Joey Votto went 4-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Todd Frazier clubbed a two-run home run and Devin Mesoraco drove in a pair of runs.
Cincinnati won for just the third time in its past eight games.
"We made some mistakes and were still able to win," said Frazier. "After that tough loss from that three-inning game earlier, I think it showed a lot of character from this team."
Gerrit Cole, who came in having won six regular-season starts, was touched for five runs on nine hits over six innings of work to take the loss. Neil Walker hit a two-run home run and Pedro Alvarez scored twice for the Pirates, who have lost four of five.
Walker is 5-for-9 in this series with three homers, four RBI and four runs scored. He is hitting .273 on the season.
"It's hard work, it's commitment, it's believing in him and giving him the work," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle about Walker. "It's early and is a small sample so far, but his swing has improved."
The Pirates won 11 of their 19 meetings with the Reds last season, capping the series with a three-game sweep in Cincinnati from Sept. 27-29.
04/16 10:27:06 ET