Game Thread

Reds vs Phillies – April 3, 2017 (Opening Day)

Opening Day is finally here! The Cincinnati Reds (0-0) will begin 2017 at Great American Ballpark against the Philadelphia Phillies (0-0). The Reds are now in their third year of the rebuild, and are hoping to surprise some folks in 2017. The Reds open 2017 with the youngest roster in the MLB, including seven rookies.

The Reds and Phillies are both projected for about the same win total in 2017 by PECOTA (74 for the Phillies, 73 for the Reds). Both teams are hoping to start seeing signs that they are turning a corner from their rebuilds. The Phillies have everyone long gone from their run of success from 2007-2011. The Phillies added Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, Michael Saunders, Pat Neshek, and Joaquin Benoit this off-season.

Starting Pitchers

The following stats are 2017 ZiPS projections, with the exception of FBv (fastball velocity):

Scott Feldman starting on opening day certainly wasn’t a sexy pick. When the news was announced a few weeks ago, one of my friends who is a more casual baseball fan texted me “who the [REDACTED] is Scott Feldman?”

When the Reds signed 34-year old Scott Feldman in January, we thought he would be a good “innings eater.” He had a 3.97 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 4.17 xFIP, and 4.07 SIERA last year with the Blue Jays and Astros. The MLB average for starting pitchers is around 4.30 for those numbers, so he is about as average as it gets. However, in 2016 only 5 of Feldman’s 40 appearences were as a starter. The three previous seasons, he was exclusively used as a starter. An interesting note on Feldman is that today is surprisingly his third opening day start! He started opening day for the Rangers in 2010, and for the Astros in 2014.

Feldman was originally drafted in the 30th round in 2003 by the Texas Rangers. He made his debut with the Rangers in 2005, and was up and down every year with the Rangers through 2011. Feldman pitched in five games out of the bullpen in the 2011 World Series with the Rangers. He signed with the Cubs as a free agent for the 2013 season, but was traded mid-season to the Orioles in a deal that included Jake Arrieta.

Feldman signed with the Astros as a free agent for the 2014 season. He had the most success of his career in Houston, posting a 3.64 ERA over 73 games (52 starts). Feldman was traded to the Blue Jays at the trade deadline last season.

You might not believe this, but Scott Feldman has already earned $50+ million in his MLB career. He throws mostly a cutter, sinker, and curveball. His fastball, which he only throws 9.0% of the time, averages just over 90 MPH. His most effective pitch is the cutter. Feldman has never struck out a lot of batters (career 5.57 K/9), but has had some success by limiting walks and home runs.

The Phillies are one of only two teams that Feldman has never faced in his big league career (the Cubs are the other). There are only three current Phillies that Feldman has faced: Howie Kendrick (12 for 28, 1 HR, 1.055 OPS), Michael Saunders (3 for 14, 1 HR, .866 OPS), and Daniel Nava (6 for 16, 1 HR, 1.037 OPS).


Jeremy Hellickson will be starting for a second consecutive year for the Phillies on Opening Day at Great American Ballpark. How crazy is that? Hellickson dominated the Reds over 6.0 innings on opening day last year (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K) before the Phillies bullpen blew the game. Hellickson went onto have a solid year for the Phillies in 2016: 32 GS, 3.71 ERA, 3.98 FIP, 7.33 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 1.14 HR/9, 3.2 fWAR.

Starting Lineups

Phillies Reds
1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Howie Kendrick (LF)
3. Odubel Herrera (CF)
4. Maikel Franco (3B)
5. Michael Saunders (RF)
6. Tommy Joseph (1B)
7. Cameron Rupp (C)
8. Freddy Galvis (SS)
9. Jeremy Hellickson (P)
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Jose Peraza (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Zack Cozart (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Scott Feldman (P)

There is a lot to like about this Reds lineup. Every spot has potential. The Reds are obviously hoping that Hamilton and Peraza can get on base and cause havoc at the top of the lineup. From 3-7, the Reds have good power at each spot. You add in Devin Mesoraco, and this lineup just might do some damage. The Reds were tied for 8th in the MLB in the second half  of 2016 with a 100 wRC+.

The Phillies have been lead the last couple years by the on-base combo of Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera, and the power bat of Maikel Franco. They’ll get some help this season from Michael Saunders (projected .782 OPS) and Tommy Joseph (projected .789 OPS).

Weather Update

The current forecast is for 64 degrees at first pitch with a 55% chance of precipitation. It will hover between 55% to 70% precipitation from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. If this game starts on time, there is a decent chance this game gets delayed at some point.

The rest of the rotation

Brandon Finnegan – Wed, 7:10 vs Phillies
Rookie Davis – Thurs, 12:35 vs Phillies
Amir Garrett – Fri, 8:15 at Cardinals
Scott Feldman – Sat, 2:15 at Cardinals
Bronson Arroyo – Sun, 2:15 at Cardinals*
  *Not yet officially annouced

Hype Video

I posted this last year on Opening Day, but I thought it was worth doing again. You should also check out the latest Redleg Nation Radio podcast, where Chad and Chris preview the 2017 season.

Conclusion

There is nothing quite like Opening Day in the Queen City. It is a fresh season and a clean slate for our Redlegs. I am a lot more optimistic than most about the Reds chances in 2017. If you are looking for some optimism, check out my article “Why Not Us” from last month. The Reds might only have a 9% chances of reaching the postseason according to FiveThirtyEight, but just last week we saw Xavier reach the Elite 8 and they had a 4% chance of doing that. So keep the optimism alive! Go Reds!

130 thoughts on “Reds vs Phillies – April 3, 2017 (Opening Day)

  1. We know Reds are committed to outside the box if Lorenzen pinch hits to lead off Bottom 5 and pitches next 2-3 innings.

  2. Whew…..that looked like the typical meltdown where we’re supposed to get out of the inning and don’t. Good job by the rookie!!

  3. Good work by Barrett Astin. Talked about his sinker during spring training. Price has ***8*** pitchers in bullpen, should have pulled Feldman sooner.

    Feldman’s start is exactly what the Reds should have expected given his performance last year and spring training.

  4. I apologize for beating a dead horse but I really think Billy should be batting 9th. Someone like Suarez could benefit much more from being in front of Joey then Hamilton. They’re going to come after Hamilton every time anyway because they know he’s too skinny to hurt them with a long ball.

  5. Feldman will give us 4 or 5 innings and the same number of runs.Its what his stats show him to be.Nothing new it just is what it is.

    • Never quite understood the point of going into those slides all the time. If it’s not to make absolutely sure you block the ball and keep it in front of you, what’s the point?

      • Duvall baby….I keep telling people to slow your roll on trading him! If Winker hits enough then move Duvall to RF. Schebler is more of a platoon/bench guy imo plus he’s much worse defensively then Duvall.

        • I think we need to give it more time to find out but mostly, Schebler is going to have to hit LHP better.

  6. Thom, one hour ago, “We don’t talk money much in this broadcast booth.”

    Has started a money-related point at least 5 different times much.

    Getting the vibe he thinks the Phillies are “big spenders.”

    Can’t wait until the Dodgers come to town, and all the dead money they are paying comes up.

  7. Peraza with a couple of knocks. I really like the kid. Even with his old school batting helmet. I think having him in the order in front of Joey will pay great dividends. The key is Billy.

  8. I think all the changes of pace in timing and delivery makes Iglesias a little wild. The things he does to throw off hitters sometimes throws him off.

    • He tagged the one earlier. Had it not been right at someone, it might have been extra bases.

  9. That will not go on the year-end highlight reel as one of the Reds’ “A” games. Good thing there are 161 more games for them to reach their peak. Glad the regular season is back.

  10. The 15th. opening day game at GABP will nor go down in history as one of the best but
    Scooter gave us some excitement in the 9th.

  11. opening day game at GABP will nor go down in history as one of the best but
    Scooter gave us some excitement in the 9th. That will not go on the year-end highlight reel as one of the Reds’ “A” games.

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