Although Gerrit Cole leads the majors in wins and has run roughshod over his foes this season, he has experienced difficulty with the Cincinnati Reds. The 24-year-old hopes to secure his career-high 12th victory and hand the Pittsburgh Pirates their eighth straight triumph at home and 10th in 13 outings overall when they host the Reds on Wednesday.
Cole is enjoying his finest season to date in his young career, but settled for a no-decision against Cincinnati on April 8 before suffering his first loss of the season versus the National League Central rival nearly a month later. Cole will need to be careful with Jay Bruce, who drove in three runs in the Reds’ 7-6 setback in the series opener on Tuesday. Bruce is 12-for-25 with two homers with eight RBIs and as many runs scored during his six-game hitting streak. Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison has been hot in his own right, recording his second straight two-hit performance in the series opener and going 24-for-59 in his last 14 contests.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, FSN Ohio (Cincinnati), ROOT (Pittsburgh)
LINE HISTORY: The Pirates opened -187 and the total opened at 6.5.
INJURY REPORT: Reds – RP Alroldis Chapman (Out, personal), C Devin Mesoraco (15-day DL, hip). Pirates – LF Andrew Lambo (15-day DL, foot).
WEATHER REPORT: Temperatures will be in the mid-70s under clear skies. Wind will blow out to centerfield at around five mph.
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Pirates beat up on inferior competition (MIL, PHI, CWS) then came into DC to play a real team over the weekend and got swept by a combined score of 19-3. Ironically, the team which might benefit the most from Bucs’ success is St. Looey, which will need some competition to stay focused. Cincy’s No. 1 catcher Mesoraco now has to undergo season-ending hip surgery. But there’s still a ton of offensive talent on this team and the Reds ended the week on a very high note. 3B Todd Frazier is putting up MVP-type numbers but the pitching is being completely carried by Johnny Cueto.” Covers Expert Al McMordie.
Devin Mesoraco’s wife Kira and Gerrit Cole’s girlfriend Amy Crawford.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Reds RH Mike Leake (4-4, 4.01 ERA) vs. Pirates RH Gerrit Cole (11-2, 1.78)
Leake improved to 2-0 in his last four starts after scattering two hits over seven innings in a 5-0 triumph against Miami on Friday. The 27-year-old traditionally has pitched well versus the Pirates, as he improved to 7-3 against them with another sterling performance May 6. Leake allowed just six hits in eight stellar innings and did not walk a batter in a 3-0 victory.
Cole won his sixth straight start in dominating fashion on Thursday, allowing just two runs on three hits in seven innings en route to a 3-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. The top overall pick of the 2011 draft, Cole yielded a home run for just the third time in his last eight trips to the mound. Brandon Phillips had two hits in the series opener and is 5-for-11 in his career versus Cole, who owns an 0-2 career mark with a 4.70 ERA in four starts against the Reds.
* Pirates are 0-4 in Coles last four starts vs. Reds.
* Reds are 0-9 in Leakes last nine road starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 4-1 in Reds last five road games.
* nder is 10-2 in Pirates last 12 games as a home favorite.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-eight percent of bettors are backing the Pirates.