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Scouting Pirates-Reds matchup

| Sunday, April 20, 2014, 6:21 p.m.

X-factors

Pirates reporterTravisSawchik's inside look at Monday's game:

• Francisco Liriano dominated the lefty-heavy Reds last season but lost in his last outing in Cincinnati last week, allowing a pivotal two-run homer to lefty slugger Joey Votto. While Liriano was historically good against lefties in 2013, he might want to reconsider challenging Votto with inner-half fastballs; Votto has a career .837 OPS against Liriano.

• The Pirates struggled against a variety of off-speed pitches last season, and Mike Leake throws a slider, changeup and curveball. Leake tied a career high with eight strikeouts in his last start against the Pirates.

The Buzz

Clint Hurdle on Martin Maldonado's slide Friday that injured the lower leg of Jordy Mercer: “It was a hard slide. I don't know his intent. You don't know his intent. People love to speculate on intent.” Hurdle said X-rays of Mercer's high ankle/lower leg were negative. Mercer took infield work Saturday and Sunday but was not in the lineup for a second consecutive game. He pinch hit Saturday.

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