Tonight’s game between the Reds and Cardinals at Great American Ball Park features starting pitchers with a lot in common. Both played their college home games in the state of Texas and each began their Major League careers with promising first seasons in 2013.

Tony Cingrani, who played at Rice University before he was drafted by the Reds in the third round of the 2011 draft, takes the mound for the home team. The 24-year-old left hander makes the first start after an excellent debut season that saw him pitch 104 innings, with a rotation-leading 10.3 K/9 and ERA of 2.92. The fielding-independent metrics didn’t like him quite as well (3.78 FIP, 3.49 xFIP) but his rookie season was outstanding even by those measures. Cingrani started twice against the Cardinals in 2013, notching 14 strikeouts (and 8 walks) in 10.1 innings. He gave up 5 runs as the Reds won both of those games.

The Cardinals struggled in 2013 against left-handed pitching (.238/.301/.371) compared to versus right-handed pitchers (.280/.343/.412). The choice by Bryan Price for Cingrani to pitch the second game of the series, instead of Mike Leake, was probably not a random act.

Michael Wacha, who pitched for Texas A&M before his selection by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 draft, made his major league debut on May 30, 2013. He threw 64 innings during the regular season, including 9 starts. He had a 9.1 K/9, a 2.78 ERA, 2.92 FIP and 3.36 xFIP. In his two games against the Reds, he pitched ten shutout innings, limiting Dusty Baker’s hitters to 6 hits while striking out ten and walking three. Wacha came within one out of adding a rookie-season no-hitter to his resume. The 22-year old right-hander saved his best performances for the post-season, as he earned the MVP award in the NLCS after pitching 13.2 shutout innings, with 13 strikeouts and only 2 walks.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. This should be a great match-up. The youngsters go tonight. If the rains hold off. Cingrani is two years older than Wacha, almost to the day. The LH hitters have to be on tonight. Might Bernadina get a start in LF tonight?

    • It’s sunny here now. The rain was supposed to start earlier and the forecast keeps pushing it to later. Now 40% chance at 7 p.m.

      • That’s good news. Fingers are crossed.

      • The weather report is looking less and less promising for tonight’s game. The game doesn’t even look like it can start at 7:00 and there may not be a break until well after 10:00. Yuk!

    • I do wonder how solid of a hold Ludwick has as the everyday left fielder, given the talk of “accountability.” Could we see a replay of two years ago when two guys share playing time there until somebody really establishes himself?

    • Ludwick is starting in LF and hitting 5th. This looks like the lineup Bryan will ride, at least until he is convinced that a change is needed. He may flip Bruce and Ludwick in the 4/5 hopes against a LHP, but that remains to be seen.

  2. You know what, I have been waiting for the right post to kick this off, and you hit it for me:
    “The Cardinals struggled in 2013 against left-handed pitching”

    That is the reason that Chapman needs to be in the rotation. Old topic? not with his injury. He has a natural season to break into the rotation with limited innings.

    Not in his interest? Well when you have a near career ending, life ending situation, you begin to look at things differently.

    I think that Chapman is over throwing to hit 108 mph which leads him to go all out on a pitch, and rely on only the heat as a reliever.

    As a starter, he will pace himself more, be more interested in his fielding position after the pitch is thrown, and will be working in more breaking balls. This means that hitters will not be able to sit on the fastball regardless of it’s speed.

    Our Pen will already be set up for life without Chapman

    So there it is. The perfect storm to finally move Chapman where he belongs:

    “The Cardinals struggled in 2013 against left-handed pitching”

    The Cardinals are not the only team to struggle against lefties. The Reds have been troubled by them as well.

    • This sounds reasonable to me!

    • Oh my…oh my oh my…

      After last season, I had resolved this debate within myself, but…


      Chapman will be shut down and rehabing for 2 months, give of take. Bryan had streched out Chapman to 3 innings in spring training. Not for the purpose of moving him to the starting rotation, but to get him streched out then back him off to handle more than just 1 inning. Chapman will have to go through a complete arm and stamina conditioning program when he comes back, no matter what his role is when he comes back. Beyond the starting 5 pitchers on the 25 man roster, the drop off to the 6th (Simon) and 7th (Marshall – currently on the 60 day DL) is significant. Besides the relievers currently on the 25 man roster, the Reds have Beato (DFA pending), Hyde and Diaz at AAA with Broxton preparing to return to the relief corp and Simon shifting back to the relief corp once Latos returns to the staring rotation in a week.

      An abundance of relievers and a shortage of starters is the complete reverse of the situation, an abundance of starters and shortage of relievers, that moved Chapman into the closer roll in the first place. I think it’s a tremendous long shot, but this might be the only situation that could possibly change that missles trajectory. I don’t see it happening, but…

      • I only read your “Geeeeesh…” comment and thought that you were going to take me out behind the woodshed.

        OK, one test down. now I have to wait for Richard to cubs smack me

    • Everything that you say is reasonable, but: Chapman himself has indicated that he doesn’t want to start. And: It isn’t just Dusty: Price seems to have given little consideration to changing his role. Could he know something that we don’t? Chapman’s fastball is very fast, but we all know in our hearts that it takes more than a very fast fastball to be a successful starter. We’ve been talking about this for decades, it seems, and evidently have yet to talk it to death.

  3. I’d add that if Dusty were still the manager, and it was a choice of Leake or Cingrani in Game 2 all other circumstances equal, the ball would automatically go to Leake, who has “been there before” more than Cingrani. And for all I know, maybe the Reds wanted Leake to have extra time off since he got a late start to spring training. But throwing the lefty against the Cardinals sounds like good reasoning.

  4. Former Reds SP Aaron Harang had a no-hitter through 6 innings for the Braves today. He and Mil. SP Matt Garza both lost no-hit bids in the 7th inning today in the same game. Braves won 1-0. Kudos to Harang!

  5. Looks like Pedro Beato was diverted to the Atlanta Braves on his way down to join the Louisville Bats. I would have liked to see Beato remain with the Reds, but such is not to be.

  6. Weather update on tonight’s game from anyone near the ballpark? is showing heavy rain until 10pm … curious to see if it is in fact already raining now.

    • Been raining for about an hour.

      • Yea, that’s no bueno. I’m worried that if they can’t get tonight’s game in, they won’t even get one in tomorrow.

  7. So looks like this rain/thunder/lightning will wreck the game, but I have to say.. I love that GIF of Cingrani. So angry and intense looking.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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