Cincinnati (47-50) @ Pittsburgh (51-44)
CIN Johhny Cueto (5-3, 2.01 ERA) vs Jeff Karstens (8-4, 2.34 ERA)
Pre-Game Notes from PNC
— The Pirates look for the sweep this afternoon and have won 16 of 23, propelling into first place in the National League Central.
The Pirates hold a half game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers (52-46).
The Pirates are 7-1 against the Reds, winning six straight against Cincinnati.
— Jeff Karstens takes the mound for the Pirates. Karstens is third in the National League in ERA and since June 1, has posted a 1.26 ERA.
Karstens is coming off an 83 pitch complete game shutout Friday night against the Houston Astros.
Karstens has allowed 3 earned runs or less in 16 straight starts.
Karstens though has struggled against the Reds in his career. He is 0-4 with a 6.46 ERA in five starts.
— Neil Walker looks to extend his hitting streak to 14 games today. Walker is hitting .453 (24-for-53) during the streak. Walker is batting .417 against the Reds and is 7th in the NL with 62 RBI’s.
— Andrew McCutchen has just one hit since the All-Star break, going 1-for-19 but has drove in four runs during that span, including RBI’s in back to back games.
— Alex Presley is hitting .462 in his last three games. Presley has recorded a hit in six straight home games. He’s batting .351 on the season and .433 at home.
— Shortstop Chase d’Arnaud returns to the lineup
— Manager Clint Hurdle said during today’s media session that closer Joel Hanrahan will not be available for today’s game. Hurdle hinted at Jose Veras being the closer. He said Chris Resop will be look at in a situational role today, according to Hurdle.
— Hurdle had no comment on reliever Jason Grilli but the Pirates are expected to make an announcement on the signing following the game. Chris Leroux figures to be sent down to Triple-A Indy.
— On the injury front, Jason Jaramillo has been activated by Triple-A Indianapolis. He’s expected to replace Eric Fryer on the Big League roster at somepoint in the near future.
— The Reds look to Johhny Cueto today as the Reds could fall 6 games out of first place with a loss.
Cueto has not won in his last four starts but has been extremely effective this season, allowing 3 runs or less in all 13 starts this season.
Cueto ranks 4th in the NL with 2 complete games.
Cueto is 3-2 on the road with a 1.92 ERA. He is 0-1 against Pittsburgh this season but was 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in 5 starts against Pittsburgh in 2010.
— Reds 3B Scott Rolen returns to the lineup after sitting out the first two games of the series. Rolen is hitting .242 with 5 home runs and 36 RBI’s this season.
Rolen is batting just .188 (3-for-16) against the Pirates this season
— Jay Bruce will also be back in the starting lineup.
— 2B Brandon Phillips gets the day off. He is 0-for-7 in the series and is hitless in his last 4 games.
1. Heisey, CF
2. Renteria, SS
3. Votto, 1B
4. Rolen, 3B
5. Bruce, RF
6. Hernandez, C
7. Gomez, LF
8. Cairo, 2B
9. Cueto, P
1. Presley, LF
2. d’Arnaud, SS
3. Walker, 2B
4. McCutchen, CF
5. Overbay, 1B
6. Jones, RF
7. Wood, 3B
8. McKenry, C
9. Karstens, P