August 23: Reds (51-71) @ Pirates (51-70)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

While the offense has largely been highlighted during the Pirates’ current five-game winning streak (the Bucs have averaged 6.8 runs/game in the stretch), it’s unfair not to also credit the pitching end as well. In all, the Pirates have allowed just 12 runs in the last five games. 

In 11 innings, the bullpen has two of those runs. And keep in mind this comes after the Pirates lost Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio to injury and as the team has been without Jeff Karstens (away to be with ill grandmother) this weekend.

On the starting end, Pirates starers each went at least six innings the last time through the rotation, and all five of these consecutive wins have been credited to the starters. In all, the group of five has allowed 10 earned runs in 34 innings. Four of those five starts were quality ones, upping the Pirates’ total this season to 65. That number has them tied for sixth in the Majors in that category.

Also of note, as mentioned in the gamestory last night, the last time Pirates starters won five straight games was back in July 2004 when Oliver Perez, Josh Fogg, Kris Benson, Sean Burnett and Kip Wells accomplished the feat during the team’s 10-game winning streak.

As for today’s news, notes and randonmness…

  • Lefty Donnie Veal (sprained left index finger) continues to work through his Minor League rehab assignment with Double-A Altoona. After pitching two scoreless innings in his first appearance for the Curve, Veal tossed another two shutout innings for them on Friday. In that outing he allowed one hit, walked one and struck out one.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Garrett Jones has tied the club rookie record for most homers in consecutive months. Jones has combined to go deep 14 times in July/August, with nine games still remaining this month. Dick Stuart hit 14 homers in July/August 1958.
  • With a win on Sunday, the Pirates will bump their winning streak to a season-high six games. The team had one winning streak of six games under manager John Russell last year (May 6-12).
  • Pittsburgh has homered in each of the last five games, a season-best streak as well. The Pirates, who are 33-27 at PNC Park this season, have gone 23-13 at home when the team has gone deep at least once.
  • The “You Score as the Bucs Score” promotion is back again. For every run the Pirates score against the Phillies this week (Tuesday-Thursday), $1 will be taken off the price of left and right field box seats for the Sept. 4-6 series against the Cardinals. The regular price of those tickets are $24, so it would take 24 runs being scored in that three-day span for the tickets to be free. There will be 2,500 tickets for each of the three games against St. Louis set aside for this promotion, and those tickets will be available beginning at 9 a.m. ET on Friday.
  • Outfielder Lastings Milledge, who is 7-for-18 in his last five games, is hitting in the cleanup spot for the first time this year. He becomes the ninth different Pirates player to hit fourth this season.
  • Brian Bixler gets his first start since being recalled from Triple-A. All he can hope is that it starts better than his last appearance with the big-league club earlier this season. When Bixler was up in April/May, he struck out 18 times in 25 at-bats. He’s filling in at short on Sunday, with Ronny Cedeno still out with the broken pinky finger.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Garrett Jones (1B)
  4. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Brian Bixler (SS)
  9. Kevin Hart (RHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Chris Dickerson (CF)
  2. Paul Janish (SS)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  5. Scott Rolen (3B)
  6. Laynce Nix (LF)
  7. Jonny Gomes (RF)
  8. Ryan Hanigan (C)
  9. Homer Bailey (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

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