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Preview: Reds at Pirates

Weather information is currently unavailable. 5-Day Forecast GAME: Cincinnati Reds (64-97) at Pittsburgh Pirates (97-64)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, October 04 – 3:05 PM EST
WHERE: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Despite recording 97 wins – their most since 1991 – the Pittsburgh Pirates enter the final day of the regular season with work to do. The Pirates will try to clinch home-field advantage for the upcoming National League wild-card game when they finish the season at home against the Cincinnati Reds.

Four Reds pitchers combined on a four-hitter to pick up a 3-1 victory Saturday and postpone Pittsburgh’s postseason plans for another day. The Pirates lead the Chicago Cubs by one game going into Sunday for home field in the wild-card game, but the Cubs would host the contest Wednesday if the teams wind up in a tie at the end of the regular season. Pittsburgh has found itself in this position due to a 2-4 swoon, during which it has been held to one run or fewer in each loss. Saturday’s win snapped Cincinnati’s 13-game losing streak – its longest since 1945 – and allowed Philadelphia to clinch the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft.

TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), ROOT (Pittsburgh)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Josh Smith (0-3, 7.22 ERA) vs. Pirates LH J.A. Happ (10-8, 3.74)

Smith will be making his fourth straight start and seventh overall while searching for his first career victory. The rookie gave up four runs on six hits and five walks while striking out a season-high seven over five innings in a loss to the Cubs on Tuesday. Smith’s first career outing was at Pittsburgh on June 23 and it did not go well, as the 28-year-old gave up four runs in three frames while walking six.

Happ lowered his ERA since joining Pittsburgh at the trade deadline to 2.04 after tossing six scoreless innings against St. Louis on Monday. He limited the Cardinals to one hit and did not walk a batter, giving the 32-year-old just 10 walks in 57 1/3 innings with the Pirates. Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips is 7-for-17 with three home runs against Happ and first baseman Joey Votto is 8-for-19 with four doubles.


1. The Pirates announced Saturday that RHP Gerrit Cole will start the wild-card game.

2. Votto’s on-base streak ended at 48 games Saturday and he is batting .212 in eight games at Pittsburgh.

3. The Reds are 11-7 against the Pirates and 22-35 against the rest of the NL Central.

PREDICTION: Pirates 6, Reds 3