The Pirates offense has produced 119 runs and a .294 average in April. Hurdle’s approach of getting plenty of rest and stressing on base percentage is paying huge dividends early on. Only four Pirates have played in every single game. Josh Harrison is one of those players and he is extremely hot as of late. He leads the team with a .333 batting average and also has produced 13 RBI. Gregory Polanco has also emerged with a .329 average to go along with 14 RBI.
“It’s lineup construction. It’s on-base percentage. It’s matching up slugging percentage. It’s trying to pocket different hitters in different spots so you’re not soft in any one area,” Hurdle said. “It’s connecting a strong chain where there’s no weak link.”
With the Cincinnati Reds bringing one of the worst staffs in baseball to PNC Park for a 3 game series over the weekend, look for the strong offense to continue. The Reds come to town with a 5.45 ERA. A big part of this is due to injuries in the Reds rotation. Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and John Lamb all started the season on the DL. Recently the Reds rotation has been even worst. While going 1-6 in the last 7 games, the Reds have had a 6.93 ERA, including a 7.16 ERA from the starting rotation.
Juan Nicasio gets the nod on Friday as his start was pushed back from Thursday to Friday due to the rain out. So far this season Nicasio has been much better at home than on the road in the 2016 season for the Pirates. In his two starts at PNC, he has won both and has a 3.00 ERA to go along with a 0.75 WHIP and also has 13 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Dan Straily gets the nod for the Reds. He is 0-0 with a 3.50 ERA. His last two appearances have been starts, but the first 3 appearances of the season for him came out of the bullpen.