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.


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 Responses

  1. kmartin

    I hate living in Chicago on opening day. On the south side it like any other day of the year.

    • Chuck Schick

      I’m in DC today and am surprised by the outward enthusiasm for the Nationals. A transient team in a transient city aren’t usually a good mix.

  2. cfd3000

    Frustrated that we’ve waited six months for this Opening Day and now probably have to wait until tomorrow, but I’m excited and optimistic about this team. I definitely think they’re better than last year, and think they have a legitimate shot to win more than they lose. And there are a lot of players I’m excited to watch this year: Votto, Hamilton, Suarez, Schebler, Mesoraco, Peraza, Lorenzen, Iglesias, Garrett, Davis and Reed. Happy Opening Day everyone. Go Reds!

  3. Steve Mancuso

    Great preview, Nick, Hasn’t started raining yet, at least in the northern suburbs. Lots of excitement about Opening Day here with folks wearing Reds gear around town. The bakeries have loads of Reds-themed items.

    I still wish someone other than Scott Feldman was starting. If the Reds were willing to have three young pitchers in the rotation (a good thing) why not take it a step further and give one of them the experience of pitching in this situation? Missed opportunity if you ask me.

    Looking forward to watching how the team develops.

    • Patrick Jeter

      Agree 100%. I still have not identified a positive to Feldman being the opening day starter. Literally, no upside whatsoever.

      • citizen54

        How about more fans in the cheap seats going home with baseballs?

  4. renbutler

    There’s not much rain on the radar right now, but rain chances will start to increase dramatically around game time.

    On the bright side, rain potential doesn’t seem that impressive — only about 0.1 inches from 2:00 to 8:00.

    So I’m predicting showers on and off throughout the game with low probability of significant delays.

    • renbutler

      Wild card: If lightning occurs within a few miles of the stadium, otherwise playable showers could become a delay of an hour or more.

      Severe weather is not expected, but garden-variety thunderstorms are possible.

  5. Patrick Jeter

    Here’s to hoping Mr. Votto did some film study on Hellickson and won’t wear the Silver Sombrero in his first 3 AB today!

  6. CTRedsFan

    Nothing personal Nick, more a comment about the state of the Reds, but that is more information about Scott Feldman than I needed to read in a lifetime. I agree with your friend…..who?

  7. Eric The Red

    Anybody know how Arroyo did yesterday? I can’t seem to find information about that anywhere.

    Go Reds!

  8. nicolecushing

    Prediction: Phils 7, Reds 2 ; Feldman makes it no longer than five innings. He’ll give up a 3 run shot or grand slam. Reds infield commits a crucial error, and on offense the team will leave a total of 7+ men on base. Ugly baseball on an ugly day.

    • mwvohio

      I see your gloomy pessimism and counter with my blind optimism. 5-4 Reds in what will almost surely be an ugly game but the kids pull through regardless. This season is going to require more patience than I think most fans have but sometimes the process can be as much fun as the results if you are willing to allow it.

    • Eddie

      I think we are currently tied for first place

      • Patrick Jeter

        The Cardinals are 1-0. We are tied for 2nd place, though!

    • Nosferatu Man

      A prediction fitting for the avatar to which it’s attached.

  9. Anthony Stevens

    looks like they’re gonna get it in! Lets go Reds!

    Hopefully we’ll see a couple of these young guys have breakout years.

    I hope the players that won’t be successful in MLB make it obvious early so we don’t spend 5 years trying to figure out who can stay this level and who can’t.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Well that’s just lovely. The Old Cossack waits patiently for 6 months for opening day, then low and behold, WOW service for FSO goes down an hour before game time with no ETA, but WOW is aware of the problem and we ‘don’t need to wait on hold’ to report the issue. Blast it all!!!

      • Shchi Cossack

        Uh, never mind, service just returned…

      • Shchi Cossack

        GO REDS!!! I would thoroughly enjoy huge games by Duvall & Schebler today with Votto scoring 17 runs on 17 walks.

  10. JB WV

    Let’s go Reds! Let’s go Reds! Let’s go Reds! Time to throw all the gloomy predictions out the window and watch our boys play! It’s great to be alive!

  11. lwblogger2

    Yay! I’m home and there is an Opening Day game thread on RedlegNation!!

  12. lost11found

    Looking forward to another season of Reds Baseball. I will be watching some of it on the phillies feed.

    • lost11found

      And hoping to attend one of the games in Philly later in the summer! Wooooo!

  13. Patrick Jeter

    Scott Feldman giving up a leadoff home run to a guy who hit 6 last year… sounds about right.

  14. lwblogger2

    0-2 and then 3-2 because no put-away pitch against two good contact hitters with very good plate-discipline. Not surprising 2 solidly hit balls to start the game.

  15. BigRedMachine

    Double Play! Season is saved! (You guys crack me up…)

    Here’s to baseball being back!

    • lwblogger2

      Was a nice play by Peraza too.

      They are crushing Feldman for the most part though. Always liked hitting during day games when it was sort of gloomy out.

      • BigRedMachine

        Oh don’t get me wrong. I’m still thinking the Reds will struggle to get much over 70 wins this year as they figure out which of these prospect can play and which ones can’t. I was more just laughing at the season being decided in less than a half inning.

        Baseball is back. Good year or bad that’s a good always a good thing.

      • lwblogger2

        Yeah, 70 is a stretch in my opinion, especially if DeSlafani and Bailey don’t provide significant contributions.

  16. Indy Red Man

    Phils 4-5 off our “ace”….my God?? Hope no spectators get hurt from a line drive! Maybe they can have Feldman Safety Helmut night before he gets DFA’d! Another Reds to Japan and/or couch signing!!

    • lwblogger2

      A little early to say that as Feldman is a servicable pitcher. He’s probably a swing-man kinda guy though and pitching at GABP isn’t going to be good for his career.

    • lwblogger2

      Nick already reminded me of that stinker by my O’s… Ugh.

  17. lwblogger2

    Almost everything is up. That isn’t helping. That really doesn’t work when you don’t throw hard.

    • Indy Red Man

      Feldman is throwing harder then our other prized signing…Drew Storen

    • Dick

      This 100%! What hell hath thou wrought Feldmam?

  18. muttonlettucetomato

    Not a great first inning but could have been much much worse. Let’s get Hamilton and Peraza on base so Joey can drive ’em in.

  19. james garrett

    Just want to say this so I won’t have to say it again for the rest of the year.Unless a player is part of the future or can be traded to get something in return that is part of the future he should not see the field.Feldman is neither in my opinion so why is he here?

    • greenmtred

      Because they have to field a team 162 times this year, and they have to take what’s best for the young players into account, though we may disagree with their judgment. They very well may hope to trade Feldman at some point, but if he doesn’t pitch, they won’t be able to.

  20. lwblogger2

    I hope Peraza makes me eat crow this year.

  21. VaRedsFan

    There goes the no hitter….Peraza!

  22. Indy Red Man

    If you’re going young and cheap then thats one thing but quit signing these has been scrubs! Arroyo has nothing left either? One of our outfielders is going to pull a hammy chasing these rockets! You can teach a young guy with arm talent but what can you tell Arroyo or Feldman? “Get younger”

    Atleast the offense should be better even without Mesoraco. Peraza will hit .310 and steal 50 this year!

  23. lwblogger2

    That dang Votto is no longer elite!!!!
    (hoping that sends him into another torrid stretch)

  24. Darrin

    My enormous Peraza autographed card collection is really hoping he does well this year. As does my PayPal account.

  25. lwblogger2

    That one left the yard in a hurry.

  26. Darrin

    Would somebody let Scott Feldman know this is the Phillies

  27. Indy Red Man

    Vance Worley got released last week and we never considered him. He’s 5x better then Feldman.

    Feldman 3.97 in 77 ip with 10 hrs allowed so of course he’ll give up 15 in his first 40 innings with the Reds

    • Big56dog

      I agree, is Storen any better than him much less Feldman/ Arroyo?

  28. Patrick Jeter

    I wish the Reds would get a straight on camera angle. I guess that would be FSO’s doman…

    • lwblogger2

      I think to get a high enough angle they would have to go on top of the party deck out there. Not sure if that might be too high to give a nice look. A lot of fans don’t like that look anyway.

  29. lwblogger2

    I do like Tucker… Kendrick probably went thinking that he should have been on 2B after the ball in the dirt got a bit further from Tucker than it should have.

  30. vegastypo

    I see the ’78’ flash when Feldman pitches, and I have to check whether that is his pitch speed or the number of pitches thrown a few outs into the third inning.

  31. lwblogger2

    Got some weather coming in soon.

  32. Sliotar

    Get home from work, turn on game, first words from tHom- “the enormous contract Michael Saunders got from the Phillies.”

    1 year, $9 million.

    For a guy who was an All-Star last year, and projected in multiple places to hit 20 HRs this season.

    Too bad the road feed is the Phillies, who may actually be worse as a broadcast team.

  33. lwblogger2

    Hellickson with the big mistake there, especially up 3 runs

  34. lwblogger2

    Who had Hamilton driving in the first run of 2017?

      • Sliotar

        Haha. There is the obligatory Chad Love for Billy reference. Should be a daily Game Thread occurrence.

  35. Ethan L

    What if Votto had been batting second instead of Peraza (referring to the 3rd inning)?

  36. VaRedsFan

    Feldman with a 1-2-3. Let the comeback begin.

  37. Indy Red Man

    Same old same old….bases loaded nobody out and get 1. Bases loaded 1 out and get nothing. We’ll score a ton once in a while so the stats won’t look that bad but they seem to always fall short with the timely offense in close games.

  38. Tom Diesman

    Feldman at 90 pitches and leads off next inning. Is this it for him today?

  39. VaRedsFan

    With the off day tomorrow, I sure hope a pinch hitter leads off the 5th.

  40. Andy

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

  41. VaRedsFan

    Steve Bartman at the Reds game…third base line.

  42. VaRedsFan

    MLB debut for Astin…..coming in. Best of luck

  43. VaRedsFan

    Astin’s glove looks like it’s from the 80’s

  44. Indy Red Man

    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!!

  45. lwblogger2

    2 grounders from Astin. That’s about what we should expect.

  46. Steve Mancuso

    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.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Probably trying to get Feldman a chance for the win by pitching five innings. Sigh.

    • DavidTurner49

      Agree completely. How does Feldman figure into anything even remotely related to rebuilding? Let the kids play.

  47. Indy Red Man

    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.

  48. james garrett

    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.

    • vegastypo

      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?

      • Indy Red Man

        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.

      • lwblogger2

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

  49. Sliotar

    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.

  50. VaRedsFan

    3 bags for Billy…but stranded at 3rd.

  51. VaRedsFan

    Lorenzen has some big time new ink on his left arm.

    • I-71_Exile

      Joey is 0 for Hellickson. Don’t know why beyond SSS.

  52. Preach

    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.

  53. VaRedsFan

    Grandal with 2 HR’s today….sigh

  54. Preach

    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.

    • Preach

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

  55. Sliotar

    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.

  56. TR

    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.

  57. Mary P

    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.