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Saturday's scouting report: Pirates at Reds

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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.

Friday, July 11, 2014, 7:45 p.m.
 

X-factors

• The Reds with the most experience against Charlie Morton, Joey Votto (quad) and Brandon Phillips (hand), are on the DL, which is good news for the Pirates since both were .300 career hitters against Morton. Todd Frazier has a .417 average in a small sample-size against the Pirates' right-hander. ... Morton has 49 strikeouts in his last 55 innings as his curveball has been playing as a true swing-and-miss pitch. Keeping the ball on the ground is key in Cincinnati, and Morton remains one of the game's best groundball pitchers.

• The Pirates can't expect Mike Leake to beat himself as he is walking a career-low 1.79 batters per nine innings. Leake is 1-0 against the Pirates this season, allowing seven runs in 13 23 innings over two starts against the Pirates. Leake has become more fastball dependent this season.

The Buzz

The Pirates don't play straight platoons. Despite facing the right-handed Mat Latos on Friday, Ike Davis was out of the lineup as he is 0 for 8 in his career against Latos.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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