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REDS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR 8-5 RECORD AGAINST THE PIRATES

9.10.10
BY:MEH
SINK THE BUCS
REDS LOOK TO IMPROVE THEIR 8-5 RECORD AGAINST THE PIRATES

After taking a 5-0 lead after two innings on Thursday, the struggling Reds managed to lose 6-5 to the Rockies and concluded their seven-game road trip with a 1-6 record. The Reds lost their fifth straight game and tied their longest losing streak of the season (April 14-18). Travis Wood pitched well (5IP, 5H, 3ER, 6K), but the Reds' bullpen disintegrated after Wood exited with a 5-3 lead. Ondrusek and Chapman combined for two innings of one-run one-hit ball, but Nick Masset allowed two runs (one earned) in the bottom of the eighth inning as pinch-runner Chris Nelson stole home for the go-ahead run and completed a four-game sweep of the Reds. Nelson's steal of home was the first against the Reds since Eric Owens did it in 1999.

"Iíve never lost a game like that," Dusty Baker said. "When youíre not going good everything seems to go against you. Thatís a tough way to lose."

The Reds will begin a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ballpark on Friday. The Pirates have the worst record in the major leagues (47-92) and have already been eliminated from any post-season action. Pittsburgh's 14-53 record on the road is also the worst in the big leagues and they will be facing a Cincinnati team that is 41-27 at home. After an 11-4 St. Louis victory over Atlanta coinciding with the Reds' loss, Cincinnati's lead over the Cardinals in the NL Central has lowered to five games.



FRIDAY
: Homer Bailey (3-3, 5.00) vs. Paul Maholm (7-14, 5.43) at 7:10pm

Homer Bailey has started five games during his career against the Pirates and owns an unblemished 5-0 record while posting a 1.57 ERA. During his last start against Pittsburgh on May 12, Bailey pitched his first major league complete game as he held the Pirates to only four hits and no runs. In both of Bailey's last two starts, he allowed four runs during each six inning affair.

Paul Maholm has not won a game for the Pirates since he defeated the Reds on August 3 in Cincinnati. In fact, Maholm has posted a 2-7 record in his last ten starts. During 18 career starts against the Reds, Maholm is 6-4 with a 3.81 ERA. This season, the left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.75 ERA against the Reds in three attempts.

SATURDAY: Edinson Volquez (3-2, 6.17) vs. Charlie Morton (1-11, 9.66) at 7:10pm

After striking out 19 batters during 13 innings of work while only allowing two earned runs in two games with the Dayton Dragons, Edinson Volquez seems ready to return to the Reds. A start against the Pirates would be fitting for Volquez as he would basically be facing another minor league organization. Aaron Harang, the Reds' scheduled starter, will likely be set aside after allowing seven runs during just 6.1 innings of work in his last two starts since coming off the disabled list. Volquez has yet to face the Pirates this season. In four attempts during his career, Volquez has a 1-0 record against Pittsburgh with a 3.00 ERA. It would be his ninth start of the 2010 season and would match his start total from 2009. Volquez started 32 games (17-6, 3.21) for the Reds during his 2008 All-Star campaign.

Charlie Morton has received the decision in every start he has made this season. During his two failed attempts against Cincinnati this year, Morton allowed eight earned runs on fifteen hits in eight innings of work. In his last three starts, Morton hurled a total of nine innings and allowed 21 runs (14 earned) on 25 hits.

SUNDAY: Johnny Cueto (12-5, 3.45) vs. Brian Burres (3-3, 5.75) at 1:10pm

This season, Johnny Cueto is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA during four attempts against Pittsburgh. Cueto lost more games in August (2) than in any other month this season and is already 0-1 for the month of September in two starts. In 12 career starts against the Pirates, Cueto is 9-2 with a 2.88 ERA.

Brian Burres has faced the Reds just once during his career and it occurred this season on May 24 in Cincinnati. Burres received the loss as he hurled just 3.2 innings and allowed five runs on five hits while walking four. Burres' second win of the 2010 season was notched on May 6 with his third coming four months later, during his last start on September 6 against the Braves (6IP, 5H, 1ER).

"We've been in this position before," said Joey Votto. "We're going to go through bad stretches during the season and this is one of them. We just have to dig down a little deeper and look for tomorrow, be optimistic and plan on winning. We've done that several times this year."



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