Major League Baseball

Brault aims to instill confidence as Pirates visit Reds

mlb1PIRATES (26-27) AT REDS (26-29)
12:35 p.m. ET; FS-O, MLBN, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV

Injuries have forced the Pittsburgh Pirates to patch together a rotation lately. They’ll ask another pitcher to come out of the bullpen and start against the host Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday afternoon.

Steven Brault is scheduled to take the mound for the Pirates in the finale of the four-game series.

Brault (1-1, 7.11 ERA) has made two starts this season to go along with six relief appearances. He most recently threw 5 2/3 innings of relief against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday, taking over in the first inning and allowing two runs and three hits in the Pirates’ 10-2 loss.

Brault is eager to show he can eat up innings as a starter as well.

“Hopefully, they’ll gain that full trust,” Brault told reporters after his last outing.

Brault will face a Cincinnati lineup that will likely include the red-hot Derek Dietrich, who has four homers in the past two games.

Dietrich signed a minor league contract with the Reds early in spring training after playing parts of the past six seasons with the Miami Marlins.

“I just want to let my bat do the talking,” he told Fox Sports Ohio after hitting a career-high three home runs in an 11-6 win on Tuesday.

Dietrich can play several positions, but the past two games he’s been at first base in place of Joey Votto, who has been bothered by tightness in his hamstring. Votto is 12-for-27 in his six-game hitting streak with four straight multi-hit games.

A win for the Reds on Wednesday would clinch their second straight series after they took two of three at the Chicago Cubs last weekend.

“We’ve had good momentum here,” Dietrich said. “We’ve beaten some pretty good teams lately, the Cubs, Dodgers. … The Pirates are a good team as well, so we’ve just got to keep playing our baseball and go in the right direction.”

The Pirates would really like to see Brault go deep in the game after right-hander Jordan Lyles left after four innings on Tuesday because of discomfort in his hamstring. The Reds were ahead 3-0 at the time, but the lead swelled to 10-0 against the bullpen.

Pittsburgh’s Nick Kingham, another reliever turned starter this season, went 4 1/3 innings in an 8-5 win against Cincinnati in the opener of a doubleheader on Monday. Mitch Keller made his major league debut for Pittsburgh in the second game. He gave up six runs in the first inning before the Pirates squeezed four innings out of him in the 8-1 loss.

“We need our starters to go long, and we haven’t been able to do that as much.” Brault said.

Brault should be familiar with some of the Cincinnati lineup.

He has made eight career appearances (two starts) against the Reds, seven of the outings last season, including one start, going 3-0 with a 0.55 ERA. Overall, Brault is 3-0 vs. the Reds with a 1.27 ERA.

Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 4.99 ERA) is coming off his shortest outing of the season, allowing four runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 6-5 win at the Cubs. He served up three home runs for the second straight game and hasn’t made it through five innings in his past three starts.

DeSclafani made his second start of the season in Pittsburgh, allowing six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings and taking the loss in a 7-5 defeat on April 7.

DeSclafani has made 10 starts against the Pirates overall in his career and is 2-5 with a 4.53 ERA.

–Field Level Media

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