Game Time: 12:35 at GABP, 11:35 in Ashland
Pittsburgh (19-23, 15-22 against teams not from Cincinnati)
Cincinnati (25-18, 24-14 against teams not from Pittsburgh)
Leading Off: The Pirates have done it. They have officially become the guy at the party who constantly farts; the one slice of pizza that all the cheese falls off of as soon as you pick it up; the pair of boxers that couldn't be more comfortable until the day you get them out of the dryer and realize the crotch has torn out of them; the spot in the middle of your back that you can't quite reach to scratch; the one and only available toilet in a public restroom that's covered in urine; the uncle who not only drinks heavily at every holiday, but who gives away family secrets each and every year; the episode of the Star Wars saga that includes Jar Jar Binks; the one song that you hate so much it makes you want to become a serial killer but gets stuck in your head every time you hear a line from the second verse of it, which just so happens to be something so innocuous and ordinary that you hear on a nearly daily basis.
In other words, the Pittsburgh Pirates have officially become the team that can destroy the 2011 Cincinnati Reds.
Don't believe me? Think I'm being dramatic? Consider the 2010 Houston Astros. They won a mere 76 games, and by any standard, were a miserable excuse for a baseball team. And yet, the St. Louis Cardinals simply couldn't beat them, losing 10 of 15 for the season. Here's some fun with numbers:
2010 Cardinals, minus Houston: 81-66
2010 Reds, minus Houston: 81-66
One team and one matchup can completely change the course of a season. And for whatever reason, the Pirates have the Reds' number in 2011. Four out of five games, they've won, all in Cincinnati, and frankly, most of them haven't been close.
I'm not predicting doom and gloom. I'm not going to pretend that the season is over, or ignore that we've still won 11 out of our last 14 games. All I'm saying is this: if we go 5-10 or 4-11 against the poopy Pirates and lose the division by three games, I'm going to throw up a mix of bile, blood, and shoe leather.
So please, Reds - play like you do against everyone else, and win a freaking game today.
There's hope though! Today's pitching matchup heavily favors our beloved Redlegs. Johnny Cueto's career line against the Pirates is 9-2 with an ERA of 2.62 with 84 strikeouts in 79 innings. That's good, and the Kung Fu Kid has yet to yield an earned run yet this season in his two games, both of which were wins.
And on the hill for the Pirates? James McDonald, a.k.a. 'the guy we lit up like a Christmas tree that game that Gomes homered twice and the Reds won in a landslide, making us all believe that the Pirates were not, as they've seemed in their other four games, the 1927 Yankees.'
Finally, in case you hated the starter, here's another rap battle. Frankly, I thought the Biebs hung in there quite well, and until the final two (amazingly hilarious) barbs from Beethoven, I thought was the winner. But I can't give the victory to the pop star; it's all classical all the time in the rap game here at Reds October.