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Previewing Wednesday's Pirates-Reds game

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:03 p.m.
 

X-factors

Pirates beat reporter Travis Sawchik'sinside look at Wednesday's game:

• Francisco Liriano has done an excellent job neutralizing the Reds' top two offensive threats: Jay Bruce and Joey Votto. The two lefties are a combined 2 for 21 with eight strikeouts and no RBIs or extra-base hits in their careers against Liriano. Liriano's slider was historically good against left-handed hitters last season, helping him limit them to a .321 OPS, an all-time best for a lefty pitcher vs. lefty hitters (min: 100 plate appearances).

• Andrew McCutchen entered Tuesday in search of his first home run of the season. He has three career home runs in 39 at bats against Reds starter Johnny Cueto. McCutchen also had doubled twice and drawn five walks vs. Cueto. McCutchen is the only Pirates player to homer off of Cueto in a regular-season game.

The Buzz

From Baseball America writer J.J. Cooper via Twitter: “Gregory Polanco has a pretty unusual combo of tools and skills. Can a guy that big/tall have AVG, OBP, SLG and SBs?....(Jason) Heyward, (Darryl) Strawberry had similar tools coming up, but turned into lower avg. sluggers.”

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