There are two big stories involved with this game. The first is the obvious one - the Reds are trying to sweep a 4-game series from the Pirates for the first time since July, 1992*. A win today would also give the Reds a 5-game winning streak against the Pirates, their longest since 1997. The Reds are 7-4 against the Pirates this season, with 8 more games remaining between the two teams including today's game.
* Technically, they did it in 1993 as well, but because the series started with a make up game double-header, it was actually a 5-game series, of which the Reds won the last 4 games.
The other big story today is attendance, as in how low will it go? The Reds have sold under 10,000 tickets in a single game twice in the history of GABP. Both have happened this season. The most recent one was two days ago in the night cap of the day-night double header when the Reds drew just 9,087 fans to the park. Can they possibly drop below 9,000 for a game? If that were to happen, I believe it would be the first time since September 29, 1987 that they have drawn that few at home, though I'm a little less than confident with the data.
If they do draw less than 9,000, it won't be the pitching matchup that is keeping fans away, though I suppose on paper it looks a bit like a mismatch. However, Homer Bailey has been pitching much better over his last two starts and he looks much more comfortable. He held the Pirates to just one run on 4 hits when he faced them 10 days ago. Hopefully he can continue to build on that success.
The day before Bailey's last start against the Pirates, Zach Duke did pretty much the same thing to the Reds, though he allowed 2 runs on 8 hits over 7 innings. The Reds offense has been performing much better since then though, so it'll be interesting to see if they are able to have a little more success off of Duke this time around.
It's an afternoon delight on another beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's make it a winning one!