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laiyongcai92 Feb 11

Pirates Kyle Hendricks Jersey , the final weekend of a better-than-expected season is a time to say not only goodbye but also hello. Perhaps to the same player.For the Cincinnati Reds, the final weekend of a worse-than-expected season is a time to begin looking ahead and not back at yet another frustrating year.The National League Central rival Pirates and Reds wrap up their three-game series and the season Sunday at Great American Ball Park, with both teams already focusing on 2019. But not before the Pirates conclude some unfinished business.Article continues below ...During a 3-0 loss to the Reds on Saturday, the Pirates’ infield had the look of a few seasons ago with Jung Ho Kang at third base, Jordy Mercer at shortstop and Josh Harrison at second base. But the once-familiar infield might be together only one more day.Kang, troubled by injuries and legal issues the last two seasons, started in the majors for the first time since Oct. 2, 2016, and went 1-for-4. Kang could return next season as the Pirates hold a $5.5 million club option on him, or they could decline the option and attempt to re-sign him for less money.Mercer, however, is a pending free agent who appears unlikely to return, and the Pirates can buy out Harrison’s contract for $1 million instead of paying him $10.5 million in 2019.“He (Kang) worked hard to try and put himself in position to come back before the season ended,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think we want to honor that responsibility and the work that he put in to get back here.”Before losing Saturday, the Pirates (81-79) had won nine of 13 overall, a push that guaranteed them a winning season, plus seven in a row and nine of 10 against Cincinnati. The Reds (67-94) halted a six-game losing streak that came amid a late-season run of 11 losses in 14 games.Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen (4-2 http://www.chicagocubsteamshop.com/authentic-mike-montgomery-jersey , 3.11 ERA), trying to make the transition from a reliever to a starter, shut out the Pirates on five hits in 5 2/3 innings Saturday. It was the second time in Lorenzen’s three late-season starts that he didn’t permit an earned run. He also contributed an RBI single, and Eugenio Suarez hit his 34th homer and his second in as many games.“He (Lorenzen) certainly factors in (the 2019 plans),” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said.Sal Romano (8-11, 5.37 ERA), another Reds right-hander who hopes to make the 2019 rotation, will make his first start since Aug. 21 on Sunday. In nine games as a reliever this month, Romano has a 5.19 ERA, with five earned runs allowed in 8 2/3 innings.During his last time out as a starter, Romano allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings of the Reds’ 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers. He didn’t figure in the decision. Romano is 1-2 with a 3.08 ERA in six career games (four starts) against the Pirates.For now, it’s too early to forecast what role he’ll play next season.“Our guys (pitchers) are competing like crazy, they’re working their tails off,” Riggleman said. “But we’ve got to make a few changes pitching-wise.”The Pirates hand the ball to rookie right-hander Clay Holmes (1-3, 7.25 ERA), who makes his fourth career start. Holmes made his major league debut against Cincinnati on April 6, allowing one run in two relief innings.Reliever Steven Brault said he believes the Pirates exceeded expectations in 2018 after losing 87 games last season. Their record Ian Happ Jersey , for example, is nearly identical to that of the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were in first place in the NL West at the start of September.“I would say we surpassed expectations this year. We did some really good things,” Brault told the team’s website. “We were inconsistent as a club, individually, everything. That’s why we have the record we do. (But) I think we held our own really well this year.”For the Reds, 2018 was more of the same. They began the season by losing 15 of 18 and never recovered. Even if they win Sunday, they will lose at least 94 games for a fourth consecutive season.The Reds are 5-13 against the Pirates this season. CHICAGO — When Cole Hamels joined the Chicago Cubs earlier this season, the veteran starter didn’t expect he would take on such a vital role. But as the Cubs close in on what they hope is their third straight National League Central Division title, Hamels could be a major reason why. Coming off his worst start joining the Cubs, Hamels will attempt to keep Chicago moving in the right direction when he takes the mound Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field.Hamels (9-10, 3.90 ERA) has not recorded a victory since Aug. 28 and had registered no-decisions in three straight starts before being roughed up in his last outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks.Article continues below ...Now, with the Cubs magic number at five to clinch the division title after a 6-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox Sunday, Hamels hopes to rebound Monday against the Pirates. Hamels is coming off a start in which he allowed seven runs and nine hits over six innings as he surrendered more than three earned runs for the first time since July 23 — his final start with the Texas Rangers. Hamels is 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 career starts against Pittsburgh.Despite taking two of three games from the White Sox over the weekend, the Cubs realize that they still have to take care of their business as they cling to a 2 1/2 game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers with seven games to play.“Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves,” Cubs ace Jon Lester told reporters Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. “We’re only 2 1/2 games ahead. We have a long way to go.”The Cubs will attempt to keep their focus set on the Pirates Jose Quintana Jersey , who will look to play spoiler starting Monday against the Brewers. But as Chicago attempts to close out the division title, second baseman Javier Baez says Chicago cannot become consumed by the teams chasing them.“We know what we have,” Baez said Saturday, according to the Tribune. “We just have to stay away from every other team. They have to pay attention to us, not us to them. If we do that, we should be good.”The Pirates will travel to Chicago having lost having officially been eliminated from playoff contention. Their 13-6 loss to the Brewers, coupled with the Cardinals’ victory over the Giants wiped out any hopes Pittsburgh had of seeing the season extend beyond the next week.Despite Sunday’s loss, Pittsburgh has won six of their past eight games and could have an impact on Chicago’s division title chances depending on how they next four days against the Cubs play out.But impacting other teams’ title chances doesn’t diminish the disappointment the Pirates feel after failing to miss the postseason for the third straight season.“If we figure out how to win one game a month more, we’re in a very different spot as we finish this season,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told reporters before Sunday’s game, according to MLB.com. “If we win two games a month more, we’re fighting for a division, which is ultimately where we want to be, because (it puts you in) best positions you to win a World Series.”Jameson Taillon (13-9, 3.24) will take the mound for the Pirates on Monday having won four of his past six starts.Taillon threw seven scoreless innings in his last outing against the Kansas City Royals when he allowed just four hits and struck out 11. Taillon is 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA in seven career starts against the Cubs.