BC-BBN--Pirates-Reds Postponed,1st Ld-Writethru
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds got a game deeper into this season before having to call one off.
The second game of their series against the Pittsburgh Pirates was called off Saturday because of rain. The start was delayed 40 minutes before it was postponed with storms forecast all evening. It’ll be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader on May 27.
It was the majors’ first postponement of the 2019 season. Fifty-four games were called off last year — the most since 1989 — largely due to cold, wet weather at the start of the season.
The Reds have called off only 16 games during their 17 seasons at Great American Ball Park. Two were postponed because of rain last season, including the season opener against the Nationals that was pushed back a day.
Both teams will stay with their scheduled starters for the final game of the now-shortened series, with Trevor Williams opposing Sony Gray in his Reds debut Sunday. Pittsburgh’s Joe Musgrove will skip his turn in the rotation.
Williams went 14-10 last season and is trying to build upon his second-half success. His 1.38 ERA after the All-Star break was second-best in the majors by a starter behind Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell (1.17).
Gray went 11-9 with the Yankees last season. The Reds got him in a trade on Jan. 21 after he agreed to add three years to his deal worth $30.5 million through 2022.
The Reds won the series opener 5-3 on Thursday on a sunny, 70-degree day — the Reds’ warmest home opener since 2010. Temperatures around 40 degrees are forecast for Sunday.
Pirates: CF Starling Marte was back in the posted lineup after missing the opener with a migraine. He worked out Friday without problem.
Reds: Matt Kemp was scheduled to start in left field instead of Jesse Winker. Manager David Bell said he wanted to get Kemp a chance to play early in the season. He came to the Reds in a trade with the Dodgers along with Yasiel Puig and left-hander Alex Wood.
CALL TO THE ... OUTFIELD?
Bell used reliever Michael Lorenzen in center field for the last two innings of the opening win. Bell said on Saturday that he could have moved Lorenzen to the mound if the game had gone extra innings.
“He is available as a pitcher at that point,” Bell said.
Lorenzen played center field at Cal State Fullerton and occasionally closed games, so he’s accustomed to taking the mound on short notice. He said Saturday he wouldn’t need much time to warm up.
“Running around the outfield helps, and your adrenaline is already pumped,” Lorenzen said.
QUITE A DEBUT
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with reliever Nick Burdi’s appearance on Thursday. The right-hander pitched the eighth inning and fanned the three batters he faced. Burdi, 26, had Tommy John surgery on May 3, 2017. He made it back to the majors last September and gave up four runs while retiring one batter at St. Louis. He also threw a scoreless inning at Milwaukee.
Hurdle said Saturday that Burdi’s delivery is more fluid this season, in part because he’s been able to throw in the offseason instead of going through rehab for the elbow operation.
“What a difference a season makes from the time he was on the mound in St. Louis to end the season, to the young man we saw on the mound (Thursday),” Hurdle said. “There is a difference, in my eye test, to his delivery. It’s much more smooth.”
Pirates: After concluding the series Sunday, the Pirates open at PNC Park on Monday against the Cardinals.
Reds: Cincinnati wraps up its opening homestand with three games against the Brewers starting Monday.