Thursday, April 9, 2015

Veteran Burnett meets young DeSclafani in Cincy

The finale of the season-opening series between the Pirates and the Reds features a high-contrast pitchers duel between right-handers. While the Reds will be getting their 16th look at A.J. Burnett -- not a very extensive history, actually, with a 16-year veteran -- the Bucs will get their introduction to Anthony DeSclafani, who will be making his sixth career start.
Things to know about this game:
• Catcher Tony Sanchez is likely to get the start in place of Francisco Cervelli in the matinee following Wednesday's late-night game, but he probably would have been paired with Burnett regardless of the timing. The two formed a frequent Spring Training battery and developed a good vibe.
• Reds first baseman Joey Votto is a .350 lifetime hitter against Burnett. However, all seven of his hits off the veteran have been singles.
• The "downshift" trend for Pedro Alvarez should continue. Usually one of those left-handed hitters against whom teams load up the right side of the infield, Alvarez got so many spring hits to the opposite field to apparently convince the Reds' defense to play him essentially straight up Wednesday night -- when he on cue ripped an RBI double to left-center.

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