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Pirates Vs. Reds: James McDonald Needs To Get Back On Track In Key Series

The Pirates got off to a tough start Friday in a big series against the Reds, as Mat Latos, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman held the Bucs to four hits in a 3-0 Cincinnati victory.

On Saturday (7:10), the Bucs will try to get back on track as James McDonald faces Mike Leake. That means McDonald himself will have to get back on track, and the biggest challenge McDonald faces in this game might come from himself, not so much from who he faces. Since a 10-strikeout performance against the Giants July 10, McDonald has been terrible, walking 19 batters in four starts while struggling with both his control and his velocity. His last start was a seven-walk stinker against the Astros.

Leake himself only lasted 1.2 innings in his last start, which came against the Padres. In his last start against the Pirates, on June 7, he struck out five batters and walked none in seven innings, but he allowed four runs.

For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout. For more on the Reds, there's Red Reporter.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.