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The first two games couldn’t have gone much better for the Reds. The Reds got their second comeback win last night, as Scott Schebler hit a walk-off double to give the Reds a 3-2 win. The Reds will look for a sweep of the Phillies today, and they will turn to their #2 prospect, Robert Stephenson. He will be making his big league debut for the Reds.

Starting Pitchers

All numbers are from 2015:
StephensonMorton

Reds #2 prospect (#35 overall in the MLB) Robert Stephenson will make his major league debut today. It has been confirmed that he will only be making the start today, and then he’ll be going down to Louisville. It should be exciting for Reds fans to get a look at what their future ace will look like.

Stephenson was drafted by the Reds as the #27 overall pick in 2011. Stephenson was extremely impressive back in 2013 with the Dayton Dragons. He posted a 2.57 ERA/2.59 FIP with an 11.22 K/9 in 77.0 innings. By the end of the season he made it up to AA. Stephenson struggled in 2014 at AA, posting a 4.74 ERA/4.58 FIP in 136.2 innings. He was better in 2015, and got promoted to AAA at the end of the season.

In nearly 450 innings pitched in the minors, Stephenson has a 9.8 K/9. He has struggled over his minor league career with walks (4.0 BB/9). He has done a good job limiting home runs (0.9 HR/9).

Stephenson struggled this spring. He had a 9.58 ERA in 4 starts (10.1 IP, 12 H, 11 ER, 2 HR, 7 BB, 11 K). His command was a major downfall for him.

———-

Charlie Morton is a 32 year old pitcher who is going into his 9th big league season. Morton has had some success in the big leagues, most recently between 2013-14 with the Pirates. Over those two seasons, Morton had a 3.52 ERA/3.67 FIP in 46 starts. Morton has dealt with injuries throughout his career, which has really kept him from being a really solid starter.

Morton struggled last season, posting a 4.81 ERA/4.19 FIP in 23 starts with the Pirates. Morton’s strikeouts were down to 6.70 K/9. This year he is projected to put up a 4.40 ERA/4.19 FIP.

Morton has made 17 career starts against the Reds, and has a 4.04 ERA. His only start against the Reds in 2015 came on August 2nd, and Morton pitched seven shutout innings (7.0 IP, 0 R, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K). Phillips and Votto actually have the most PA of any MLB player against Morton. Phillips is 12 for 37 (2 BB, 4 RBI), and Votto is 9 for 31 (7 BB, 7 RBI). Jay Bruce has 2 career HR’s vs Morton.

Starting Lineup

Phillies Reds
1. Freddy Galvis (SS)
2. Odubel Herrera(CF)
3. Maikel Franco (3B)
4. Ryan Howard (1B)
5. Andres Blanco (2B)
6. Cedric Hunter (LF)
7. Carlos Ruiz (C)
8. Peter Bourjos (RF)
9. Charlie Morton (P)
1. Scott Schebler (CF)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Jay Bruce (RF)
6. Jordan Pacheco (2B)
7. Ivan De Jesus (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Robert William Stephenson(P)

Brandon Phillips is still out of the Reds lineup with a stomach bug. Mesoraco, Cozart, and Hamilton all get today off, but don’t be alarmed. Price said before the season that he was going to ease all three of these players into the season. Jordan Pacheco makes his Reds debut today.

Young Studs

You couldn’t ask for much better starts from Raisel Iglesias and Brandon Finnegan to start the year. The two pitchers combined for 16 strikeouts in 12 innings, while only allowing 1 walk.

Finnegan: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K
Iglesias: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K

Reds pen > Phillies pen

The Reds bullpen was terrific in the first two games. Last night, Caleb Cotham (acquired in the Chapman deal) pitched two perfect innings, and Blake Wood pitched a scoreless ninth inning. On the other side, the Reds have won both games against the Phillies bullpen.

Reds bullpen: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K
Phillies bullpen: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 K

Zero to hero

The Reds have had two big hits so far in 2016. Both hits have come from players who had struggled mightily earlier in the game. On Opening Day, Joey Votto had struck out in all three trips to the plate before he came up in the 8th inning. Votto then hit a 2-RBI single to break a 2-2 tie.

Two days later, Scott Schebler came to the plate in an eerily similar situation. Schebler had struck out in all three of his previous trips when he came to the plate in the 9th inning. Schebler delivered with a walk-off double, which turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 win.

Other news and notes

Around the NL Central

The Reds have played 2 games, and they are 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals in the standings. Mike Leake struggled in his St. Louis debut last night (4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K), and the Pirates swept the Cardinals. The Cubs begin a 4-game series in Arizona tonight. The Brewers, Pirates, and Cardinals are all off today.

Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0
Cincinnati Reds 2-0 0.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 2-0 0.5 GB
Milwaukee Brewers 1-2 1.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 0-3 3.0 GB

Conclusion

How cool would it be for the Reds to start off 2016 with a sweep? The first two games have been a lot of fun to watch. It will also be exciting to see Robert Stephenson pitch this afternoon, and get a glimpse into the Reds future. Go Reds!

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

Join the conversation! 116 Comments

  1. I wonder how Chris Carpenter will be able to explain to his son Mike Leake’s inability to pick up the “Cardinal Way”?

  2. Morton is only 32? Not that that makes him a spring chicken in baseball, but I would have bet he was nearing his late 30’s. Something about his name conjures up an image of a weather-beaten old timer.

  3. Pecheco at 2B and DeJesus at SS, with Schebler in CF. That’s some up-the-middle defensive prowess right there 😉

    It’s a wet, nasty day and BP is still sick. I’m ok with this. It’s still ugly though.

    • I’m stoked to see Schebler in CF. Maybe he’ll be a disaster, but I like trying him out.

      I’m not stoked that I have to miss Stephenson’s debut. Work is the worst!

    • Loving the Schebler love. I was calling for that trade two years ago when he was toiling in L.A. farm team OF purgatory. Since he went to my high school, you better believe I was thrilled with him winding up in Cincy.

  4. And now Lorenzen has mono!!?? Man, the kid can’t buy a break.

    • I hope it is not the same “desert flu” type of mono Bronson Arroyo brought back from Arizona in 2011. He wasn’t right all season that year.

      Brooms up!!! Sweep.
      Let’s go Bubby! (Robert Stephenson)

  5. Rain has stopped for now in the northern suburbs.

  6. We should start a pool to see who will go 0-3 with 3 Ks, and then come through with the game winning hit. My money is on Duvall.

    The only thing better than being 2.5 games ahead of the Cardinals would be being 3.0 games up on them. Go Reds!

  7. Since I am working nights, I don’t often get to see a game. And I had a cable outage opening day…..ggrrrrr….. I am excited to watch it with the ‘nation gang today!

  8. Wow. FSO just put up a graphic that said the last time the Reds had a ninth inning comeback at home was 2013.

  9. Not exactly our gold glove defense on display today.

  10. Starting Howard off by challenging with a fastball.

  11. Runs may be at a premium again today. Stupid weather.

  12. If they throw Joey anything other than down and in, it’s a mistake. Their game plan for him is quite evident.

  13. watching online doesn’t appear as if Stephenson has thrown anything over 93 mph. Is that disconcerting or does he look normal in real time?

    • I’m not watching either… but in a way maybe it’s a good sign he’s staying calm instead of anxiously just throwing hard— better control.

      • Maybe that is the plan to under pitch and get back to Louisville in one piece.

    • I saw the 1st inning. He isn’t throwing particularly hard. It may have something to do with the fact that it just flat out sucks outside though.

  14. Morton only threw 6 pitches that inning. Swing early, swing often…..

    • Early, often, and hard (in case you actually hit it!)

      • In all fairness, Morton has been in the zone but still, you’d like to make him work at least a little harder.

  15. ESPN is showing him throwing fastballs around 90-91 and changeups around 85-87. That’s not going to fool anyone today.

  16. That K was huge. Now a ground ball gets us out of the inning.

  17. FSO has him throwing the fast ball around 93 consistently.

  18. Error. run scored. gets the pitcher off the base paths. Lets see how Stephenson reacts.

  19. What was the error on Bruce?

    • Charged the single. Ball bounced off his glove. Morton was going to hold, but sent on the bobble.

    • He couldn’t pick the ball up. Just think the field was so wet and he wasn’t in much of a hurry due to the pitcher running. Combination bad field and bad concentration.

    • Cool. Thanks.

  20. I am at the game. He is not throwing overly hard. And very few cb and change ups

  21. Very poor sacrifice attempt there.

  22. GREAT slide by Tucker!!!!!!

  23. Schleber put a charge into that one.

  24. Schebler likes the LF-CF gap, apparently.

  25. The tie didn’t last long…….

  26. that was fast, sheesh

  27. That wasn’t a bad pitch. Hunter went low and golfed that one.

    • Twitter feed -Said it was his first mlb homerun and first hit since 2011

  28. I had to look up Cedric Hunter. I don’t have to do that very often.

  29. The Phillies outs are starting to get a little noisy……

  30. This inning is starting promising.

  31. BRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUCE!!!!!!

  32. BRRRUUUUUUUUCCCCCCEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

  33. that is how you make up for an error.

  34. Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Bruce has such a lovely smooth swing sometimes. Other times, not so much.

  36. THOM! just said Jay is 7th on Reds all time list (he’s only played for Cinci), one behind Jr. We all know that Jr’s best seasons were in Seattle. That really lets you know how impressive the Kid really was as a baseball player. I know that people were disappointed with how Juniors career went here, but considering he is 6th all time in HR’s…..that’s not too shabby.

  37. Good piece of hitting by Tucker.

  38. Even if we don’t score anymore this inning, we’re increasing the chances of getting a longer look at their shaky bullpen later in the game.

  39. That sacrifice was a little better.

  40. Lots of bunting practice in the future for Stephenson…

    • Yeah, it did go back to the pitcher. At least he put it in play this time. That’s something, I suppose.

  41. Good job by Schebler to draw the walk.

  42. I’m starting to like this Schebler kid….

  43. Wow. didn’t miss extra bases by much on that one.

  44. Looking at Suarez, I’m reminded that, whatever else we may think of Walt, we absolutely fleeced the Tigers. The Marlins, too, with the Latos-for-Disco trade.

  45. OH, MY. Salami!!!!!!!

  46. Oh man… 2 great ABs by Schebler and especially by Suarez. Both down 0-2. Nice! Nice!! Nice!!!

  47. That kid has some power. I didn’t think with as high as he hit that off the bat on this cold day that had a chance.

  48. Great googly moogly!

  49. Suarez !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Joey keeps it going. Raising the OBP. Hope that’s OK, Marty.

  51. Excellent time for me to bug out for a meeting. Go Reds.

  52. EEEYY-YOU-HAAAY-NEEE-OOOH!!!!!!

  53. Lets. Go.

  54. It will be interesting to see how Stephenson responds to this long long break. Hopefully the lure of “one more inning to get the Win” will keep him focused.

  55. Walk ’em loaded.

  56. That was really ball 4 right there.

  57. Anyone else smell gas?

  58. Suarez and Bruce, both with 4 RBIs this inning. That doesn’t happen everyday.

  59. The Reds have suffered enough at the hands (arm) of Charlie Morton in the past. Nice to see it go the other way.

  60. With the Pirates coming to town tomorrow, it might be a nice time to flip-flop Votto and Suarez in the lineup. Votto second, Suarez third, and Bruce 4th instead of BP.

    Schebler’s double earlier was almost identical to his one last night. A year or two under the tuttleage of Votto and this guy could be a special hitter.

  61. Howard took that out the front door.

  62. Nice job, Robert. That’s probably perfect for the Reds: he doesn’t get hurt, doesn’t pitch lights out, but (hopefully) picks up a win.

    • Makes it easier to send him down and stop his clock. He looks like he can use some more time at AAA to develop- there is only so many opportunities to do it at AAAA- not sure who pitches when the 5th spot comes up- which I think might be a week from Sunday (assuming Disco pitches this Sunday)

  63. Think Stephenson should perhaps be done. 87 pitches early in the season on a cold day?

  64. Dejesus has a complaint on strike 3

  65. Tucker on 3 straight times. Has a hit from both sides of the plate plus the walk.

  66. Sampson and Straily have not pitched all season hopefully Jumbo does not let this get close and they can get some work. Would like to see Cingrani come in to get some work and show he can be a force

  67. Hey Walt, there is something there on the floor by your feet. Look at that, it is the 2017 Jay Bruce option. Go ahead, pick it up.

    • Hear, hear. I still don’t get the pressure to trade him.

      • There’s no pressure, per se, he just won’t be around in 2018 and beyond if the Reds rebuild works. Might as well add more talent to the rebuild rather than keep Bruce for a (perhaps) bad 2017 season for the Reds.

    • Uh, don’t we mean trade big for it?

  68. That’s 2 for Bruce.

    • Yup, he will have 38 more this year and this board wants those to occur in another uni.

      Lets keep Jay and contend with the kids this year. right way to rebuild so that we can have some success with the kids. Jay is great with these kids. We should have extended him this off season.

      Bruce has the kind of swing that could finish with 400 HRs and be the all time Reds leader. Love his hits to left yesterday and the bomb out the front door today

  69. BRUUUUCCCEEEEE

  70. Fellas, how did Bob Steve look to the trained eye on the mound? Just rolled in from work and missed the whole thing.

  71. Good timing! BRUUUUUCE!

    I was just looking up Jay Bruce’s number against the shift! They are now part of the splits available on FG as of today.

    PAs against shifts for Bruce (wRC+):
    2010 – 13
    2011 – 25
    2012 – 124 (93)
    2013 – 133 (66)
    2014 – 176 (69)
    2015 – 232 (58)

  72. Bruce doesn’t usually hit them to that spot. That’s more Votto-ian. I view it as a very good sign.

    I still think Bruce has an MVP run in him, so I may be in the habit of irrationally looking for signs of everything clicking.

  73. You guys glad we didn’t trade Bruce yet?

    • I think everyone is, yes! I don’t know anyone (except the FO) that wanted to trade Bruce at his lowest value.

      • Just wishful thinking on my part but the best case scenario for me is if we keep Bruce because we are fighting for a playoff spot this year.

  74. I wish we could trade THOM! He doesn’t need to be a part of the next Reds championship team.

  75. Ruiz launched that one into orbit. ouch.

    • That’s twice today where a Reds’ pitcher has walked a batter and the next batter took him deep.

  76. “Tickets are available”

    you think?

  77. I’d feel better if the Reds could put up one more. It’s the old-school in me to feel better when a slam doesn’t tie it.

  78. Votto with the sacrifice.

  79. Honestly, with Pacheco hitting after him, there is no way I give in to Bruce, even with 1B occupied. I’m very careful as a pitcher here.

  80. Or you just pick the runner off.

  81. I’ll take the sweep from even the hapless Phillies…. Nice start just like last year!

    • Agreed. Maybe the Phil’s will threaten the Cubs’ NL record for most losses to start a season (17).

  82. Outstanding. undefeated season.

Comments are closed.

About Nick Kirby

Nick is a lifelong Reds fan who was born and raised in Cincinnati. He acquired his love of baseball from his late grandfather. Nick moved to the Cleveland area in 2014 with his wife, and his currently fighting to convert his beautiful baby daughter Emma to Reds fandom. Nick has been writing for Redleg Nation since 2013. Follow Nick on Twitter @nicholaspkirby.

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