Although Kevin Correia was solid against the NL Central leaders last weekend, there's little reason to believe he'll be able to duplicate that performance.
Correia, who has struggled mightily at PNC Park, tries to avoid losing his fifth straight home start when he takes the ball for the Pittsburgh Pirates in Friday's series opener against the Cincinnati Reds.Correia (12-11, 4.62 ERA) gave up one run in 6 2/3 innings Saturday against Milwaukee, but received no help and was saddled with a 1-0 loss, his third straight defeat. Although Correia shut down the potent Brewers lineup, that has come to be expected from him when pitching on the road.Getting knocked around has been the norm when he pitches at PNC Park.The right-hander, 10-3 with a 2.64 ERA on the road, is 2-8 at home with a 7.58 ERA. He has been hit especially hard in Pittsburgh lately, posting a 13.50 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .421 in losing his last four there. Three of those starts came against Chicago and San Diego, teams that rank in the bottom half of the NL in scoring. Cincinnati (60-64) has plated 577 runs, second-most in the league.Correia has fared well against the Reds lately, recording a 2.93 ERA in winning his last four starts, but this will be his first time facing them at PNC Park. In his lone start of the season versus Cincinnati on April 18, he tossed a four-hitter in a 9-3 victory.The Reds will be looking for some payback after falling to Washington 3-1 on Thursday, their third defeat in four games to fall 12 1/2 games back of the Central-leading Brewers."I know guys are working at it," catcher Ryan Hanigan said. "Hopefully we will turn it around and finish strong."Cincinnati slugger Jay Bruce, batting .351 with five homers and 17 RBIs in his last 10 games, is hitting .440 with four home runs against Pittsburgh this year.The Reds are 2-7 against the Pirates this season but haven't played them since dropping two of three at PNC Park from July 18-20. Pittsburgh (58-64) was one-half game out of first place when that series wrapped up, but has lost 19 of 26 since to drop 13 1/2 games behind Milwaukee."We've got to play better than we're playing right now," manager Clint Hurdle told the Pirates' official website following Wednesday's 7-2 loss to St. Louis. "We have to play complete games."Garrett Jones has been one of the few bright spots for Pittsburgh lately, batting .328 with four homers, seven doubles and eight RBIs in 16 games this month. He's hitting .318 with two home runs against the Reds this year, and he's 5 for 16 (.313) with a homer and two doubles lifetime against scheduled starter Homer Bailey (7-5, 4.43).Bailey has been extremely inconsistent in his six starts since the All-Star break, posting a 1.59 ERA in four victories but an 18.00 ERA in the other two. Against San Diego on Saturday, he allowed one run while striking out seven in seven innings of a 13-1 win.Although Bailey has struggled to string together positive starts lately, he has had nothing but impressive showings against Pittsburgh.The right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.52 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates, yielding one run over 22 innings in the last three.