PIRATES (46-60) AT REDS (49-55)
7:10 p.m. ET; FS-O, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV
Joe Musgrove has had success against the Cincinnati Reds this season, and the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates are desperate for more heading into the middle game of their three-game series on Tuesday night.
The Pirates have lost nine consecutive games, their longest losing streak in eight years.
“When you’re down and things aren’t going the right way, you’ve got to continue to fight the same way you would if you were on a winning streak,” Musgrove said. “One game could be the turning point in the season. One game can turn things around for us and start a hot streak.”
Musgrove (7-9, 4.29 ERA) faced the Reds in his first two appearances this season and did not allow a run in either game.
He made his only relief appearance this season against Cincinnati on March 31 and threw two shutout innings in the 5-0 win on Opening Day. He made his first start of the season five days later against the Reds and threw seven shutout innings in the 2-0 victory.
Musgrove is 2-1 overall in his career against the Reds with a 3.66 ERA in four outings (three starts).
The Reds took the steam out of Pittsburgh early in the series opener on Monday night, scoring 10 runs in the second inning on their way to an 11-6 victory.
The Pirates are 2-15 since the All-Star break.
“We’ve got a lot of baseball left. I’ve seen a lot of crazy things happen in this game,” Musgrove said. “Last year, we went on an 11-game win streak. We get hot at the right time, other teams fall off. … We’re definitely not out of this thing yet. We’ve put ourselves in quite a hole here, but we’ve got to keep plugging.”
Reds starter Tanner Roark (6-6, 3.95) is 2-0 in his past six starts, but has a lofty 4.68 ERA in that span.
Roark had gone four straight starts without a decision before getting the win in a 14-6 victory at the Milwaukee Brewers on July 23. He allowed two runs and six hits in five innings, striking out five and walking one.
It was the second straight game Roark threw 102 pitches, but lasted just five innings.
“I did a pretty bad job of getting behind early on,” he told reporters after the win against Milwaukee. “I felt very strong up there tonight, but getting ahead would make me stay in longer, last longer.”
Roark faced the Pirates on April 6 in Pittsburgh and went five innings in that game as well. He gave up three runs and seven hits, but did not receive a decision in the 6-5 loss in 10 innings. He’s 3-1 in his career against the Pirates with a 4.79 ERA in eight appearances (five starts).
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell has seen the ball well off Roark. He’s 4-for-9 in his career off the right-hander with two home runs.
Colin Moran is swinging the hottest bat for Pittsburgh. He came into Monday’s game hitting .348 for the month, then blasted his third career grand slam to take a big bite out of the early deficit.
“I don’t think anyone’s hanging their heads in here,” Musgrove said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball left.”
–Field Level Media