Cincinnati Reds vs Pittsburgh Pirates Prediction & Pick
Date: October 2, 2021 - 6:45 PM ET
Location: PNC Park, Pittsburgh, PA
Reds: Tyler Mahle (13-6, 3.54 ERA)
Pirates: Max Kranick (2-3, 6.23 ERA)
The Reds are going to finish the season with a winning record but won’t be making the playoffs this year. You can argue that this team overachieved with so much uncertainty coming into the season or you can argue that this team had so much more potential and didn’t play well enough.
Either argument, I’d agree with. The Reds roster includes this year’s National League Rookie of the Year and also includes a couple massive power sluggers like Nick Castellanos and Joey Votto.
This lineup gets to face poor pitching to close out the year, going up against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates will send out Max Kranick who has a 6.23 ERA on the season along with a WHIP of 1.70.
Kranick actually pitched well in his last start against the Phillies, going five innings while allowing no runs on three walks and five strikeouts.
Prior to that game, Kranick allowed three or more runs in every start dating back to July 10. The Reds to score three runs in the first five innings seems pretty likely if you look at it that way.
Kranick has an xFIP of 7 in the last 30 days with 13 percent strikeouts and 10.9 percent walks. He’s also struggling to get a high amount of grounders and can’t get lefties out, giving up a wOBA of .429 in his last 28 plate appearances against lefties.
The reality is, the Reds will walk a ton and put balls in play. They’ll have countless opportunities to score runs against Kranick. When you bet a baseball game, all you want is opportunity, and you’ll get that in this one.
The Reds projected lineup has an ISO of .222 with a wOBA of .370. They’re also hitting just 32.4 percent of ground balls and 23.4 percent of line drives against righties in the last 30 days.
This team compares well against Kranick with a 16.2 percent strikeout rate and 10 percent walk rate. They’re patient against righties and will use that to their advantage against Kranick, who struggles to strike batters out and walks plenty.
It would be nice to have Jesse Winker in the lineup for the Reds but they’ve been getting production out of a bunch of players against righties lately including Jonathan India, Castellanos, Votto, Eugenio Suaarez and Kyle Farmer. At the bottom of the order, you’ll have two lefties that limit ground balls against righties.
With Kranick giving up three or more runs in all but two starts this season, let’s take the Reds Over 2.5 in the first five on the team total. The Reds have been patient and also have been smacking line drives against righties in the last 30 days. It should continue on for these next two days before the season concludes.
As a disclaimer, always make sure that the projected lineup is what the actual lineup is, especially for a meaningless game in October.