Pirates, Reds don’t want repeat of base-brawl series

Field Level Media

August 24, 2019 at 7:23 am.

For at least one game in a weekend series, the Pittsburgh Pirates got not only a much-needed win, but they also did it without anything getting out of hand against the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

Of course, there’s always Saturday.

Both team’s managers, however, predicted the clubs will get through the series at PNC Park without any of the bad blood that marked the last time these teams met in a series, in late July in Cincinnati.

In the middle game of that series, the teams got involved in a benches-clearing brawl reminiscent of a 1970s hockey game, resulting in suspensions for the managers and three players on each team.

“I’m absolutely confident that everything is resolved,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before Friday’s game, when his team scored twice in the ninth for a walk-off 3-2 win.

Reds manager David Bell offered similar comments, saying his team would not devote energy to revisiting the nasty stuff. “I just feel like it’s not going to happen anymore,” he said.

Cincinnati infielder Derek Dietrich was activated from the injured list before Friday’s game and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. His perceived dig by admiring a home run against the Pirates in that previous series was one of the precipitators to the brawl, along with some batters who subsequently got hit with pitches.
None of that bled into the opener of this weekends’ series.

The Reds had their two-game winning streak snapped, while the Pirates got a satisfying win after losing five of six and, since the All-Star break, 30 of 38. “You never know when traction is going to start,” Hurdle said of his club possibly using the win to launch into a good stretch.

Saturday, Cincinnati left-hander Alex Wood (1-2, 5.92 ERA) is slated to face Pittsburgh right-hander Trevor Williams (5-6, 5.65 ERA).

Wood, who had the first half of his season wiped out by injury, will be making his sixth appearance of 2019. He has lost his past two games, and the Reds have lost the past three games he started.

Sunday, he struck out six but still got pushed around by St. Louis, giving up five runs (four earned) and eight hits in five innings. He allowed two homers, making it eight in his five starts, covering 24 1/3 innings.

“I think the moral of the story is, I have to keep the ball in the ballpark,” Wood said. “It’s been a two-week spree of homers that I’ve never really experienced (something) quite like what’s gone on in my first four or five starts.”

Wood is 3-2 with a 2.70 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) against Pittsburgh.

Williams is coming off a disastrous start Monday, when he gave up eight runs (six earned) in two innings in a 13-0 loss to the Washington Nationals.

He is 3-5 with an 8.20 ERA in 10 starts since returning from the injured list (right side discomfort) June 19.

“Before the injury, it was going pretty well,” he said. “However, I’m healthy. My body feels good. … It’s a game of adjustments. The league is punching back faster than ever.

“We thought it could have been arm slot, we thought it could have been pitch tipping, a lot of different things. What worked for me two years ago might not work for me now.”

Williams is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 career games (seven starts) against the Pirates, including 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season.