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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 14th (All times Eastern)

Pittsburgh Pirates (6-6) at Cincinnati Reds (4-8), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 5.73) Cincinnati - Homer Bailey (0-1, 7.71)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will try to avoid a third straight loss to open the season as he takes the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night in the opener of a three-game set with the Cincinnati Reds.

Both of Rodriguez's 2014 defeats came at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, who got to him for seven runs on 14 hits and four walks over 11 innings. He also yielded three homers in the two games, two of those coming in last Wednesday's 7-5 setback in Chicago.

The 35-year-old is 8-12 with a 4.36 earned run average in 30 career meetings with the Reds, who counter with righty Homer Bailey.

Like Rodriguez, Bailey will make his third start of the season against just a second opponent. He made consecutive starts versus the St. Louis Cardinals to begin the campaign, going 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA.

The 27-year-old allowed four runs over 4 1/3 frames in a home loss to the Cards on April 3, then did not factor into a 7-5 setback in St. Louis on Tuesday. Bailey yielded four runs on nine hits and two walks over five innings.

Bailey will try to turn things around against a Pirates club he failed to beat in four starts a season ago. He went 0-3 with a 4.30 ERA, but owns a career mark of 8-5 with a 2.91 ERA versus the Pirates. That includes a no-hitter on Sept. 28, 2012.

The Reds are coming off just their fourth victory in 12 games to begin this season as they bested the Tampa Bay Rays 12-4 on Sunday. Chris Heisey highlighted the offensive rout with a grand slam.

Devin Mesoraco added a three-run homer and drove in four runs, Joey Votto hit a two-run shot and Jay Bruce drew four walks and scored four runs to help the Reds avoid a three-game sweep.

"We understand that we're a good team, and everyone in there knows it," Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Tony Cingrani allowed two runs -- which came on a Ben Zobrist homer -- among five hits while fanning six over 6 1/3 innings to pick up his first win of the season.

Unlike the Reds, the Pirates were unable to avoid a three-game sweep over the weekend, falling 4-1 to the Milwaukee Brewers in Sunday's finale.

Andrew McCutchen drove in the lone run on a fourth-inning sac fly for the Pirates, who have lost four of five, while starter Charlie Morton surrendered four runs -- two earned -- on six hits through seven frames.

The two unearned runs came in the sixth frame when catcher Tony Sanchez threw the ball into right field on a dropped third strike.

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.

04/14 10:30:17 ET