Game 43: Pirates (19-23) @ Reds (25-18)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Oddly enough, the Pirates are wrapping up their time in Cincinnati this year with today’s afternoon game. This is the earliest the team has finished all its games in Cincinnati since 1981, and the Pirates will do it before they ever host the Reds in 2011. It’s not until after the All-Star break that the Reds travel to Pittsburgh — and they’ll do so three times before the end of the year.

In other “first time since…” news, the Pirates’ three complete games in Cincinnati this year marks the first time since 1991 that the club has had three complete games on the road in one city. That year, Doug Drabek, John Smiley and Zane Smith (twice) each threw complete games in St. Louis. This year, credit Charlie Morton with two and Kevin Correia with ones against the Reds.

Other news and notes…

  • Ross Ohlendorf threw from a distance of 90 feet today and said all is good with his right shoulder. The progression back has been slow, and Ohlendorf is still weeks away from being ready to work his way back into the Pirates’ rotation.
  • Interleague Play begins on Friday, and here is your Pirates preview. It’s no secret that Interleague play has gone terribly for the Pirates most every season since its inception in 1997. You’ll find those stats, as well as a look-ahead to the Pirates’ five Interleague matchups in that preview piece. While four of those series against American League teams will come in June, the Pirates will face the Tigers in three games this weekend.
  • Manager Clint Hurdle bumped Pedro Alvarez down to the seventh spot in the lineup and loaded that lineup with left-handed hitters on Thursday. The sample space isn’t huge, but I found it interesting that Alvarez is hitting .367 (11-for-30) from the No. 6 hole this year.
  • Xavier Paul is playing left field today, presumably allowing Jose Tabata just another day off to get some extra work in. Tabata’s average has dipped to .227 as he has collected only 13 hits in his last 84 at-bats. That span goes back to April16.
  • Both Ronny Cedeno and Andrew McCutchen have done well when hitting with runners in scoring position in recent days. Cedeno has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats in such situations, while McCutchen has seven hits in his last 13 at-bats.
  • Red starter Johnny Cueto enters the day 9-2 with a 2.62 ERA in 13 career starts against the Pirates. He went 3-0 last year and allowed just four runs in five 2010 starts against Pittsburgh.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), X. Paul (LF), G. Jones (RF), N. Walker (2B), L. Overay (1B), R. Doumit (C), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Cedeno (SS), J. McDonald (RHP)

REDS: C. Heisey (CF), E. Renteria (SS), J. Votto (1B), B. Phillips (2B), J. Bruce (RF), M. Cairo (3B), F. Lewis (LF), R. Hernandez (C), J. Cueto

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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