The Pittsburgh Pirates have the visiting Cincinnati Reds somewhat on the ropes going into the final meeting of a three-game series on Wednesday in what will be the final time both teams see each other this season.
Pittsburgh (58-97) will be going for a series sweep and a seventh straight win against Cincinnati (60-95). The Pirates will also try to move a step closer to passing the Reds in the National League Central standings as they try to claw their way out of the basement of the division.
Pittsburgh won the opener 8-3 before winning 4-1 on Tuesday to at least clinch the series.
"It's tough to come in here and lose the series against the Pirates," Reds third baseman Kyle Farmer said. "I think it's a series we should have won."
Things have been going well for the Pirates lately, and they also have an important arm in their bullpen back in action.
All-Star closer David Bednar had been used twice in non-leverage situations since coming off the injured list before going in for the ninth against the Reds on Tuesday. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning to pick up his 18th save of the season, and his first since July 23.
"It's good to be back," Bednar told ATT Sportsnet Pittsburgh. "It was a nice little buildup back to the closer role."
The Reds will be monitoring promising rookie outfielder Mike Siani, who left in the eighth inning Tuesday after slamming into the ground while attempting to make a diving catch. He had no concussion symptoms, according to the team.
Cincinnati right-hander Luis Cessa (4-4, 4.78 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Pittsburgh right-hander Bryse Wilson (3-9, 5.95) in the series finale on Wednesday.
Cessa will be making his 200th career appearance and 28th start. He was moved to the starting rotation because of injuries to typical Reds starters.
In his most recent outing, Cessa took a loss against the Milwaukee Brewers. He gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, with three strikeouts and four walks.
Still, Cessa could be in consideration for a starting role next season. It's unclear how much Wednesday's game could figure into that, but Reds manager David Bell has endorsed him.
"He's actually made it look easier than I know it is to go from strictly a reliever for a few years now, and really did a nice job of changing everything in his routine," Bell said. "He was open to it. He's made the most of the opportunity. He's done as well as you could expect and really, better."
Cessa is 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA in eight career appearances (one start) against the Pirates.
Wilson has lost three of his past four decisions. He's coming off a no-decision against the Chicago Cubs, though, where he allowed two runs on five hits in five innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
In four career starts against the Reds, Wilson is 1-2 with a 3.55 ERA. Three of those outings have come this year, and he's gone at least 5 2/3 innings in all of them en route to a 1-1 record.
--Field Level Media