Game Thread

Reds vs Phillies – April 5, 2017 (Opening Night)

The Cincinnati Reds (0-1) will host the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Night in the Queen City. The new tradition of the Reds having an “opening night” the game after opening day is a great idea. Fans who may not be able to snag an expensive opening day ticket still get to see the team rolled out as if it was the actual opening day.

The Reds are coming off a tough, 4-3 loss on Opening Day. It was the Reds first Opening Day loss since 2014. The Reds offense was held to just one run in six innings by Jeremy Hellickson, who continues to own the Reds and Joey Votto. The bright spot was the bullpen, who allowed just one run over 4.1 innings.

For the second time in two games in 2017, the Reds will have to deal with a sketchy weather forecast.

Starting Pitchers

The following stats are 2017 ZiPS projections, with the exception of FBv (fastball velocity) from 2016:

Brandon Finnegan is coming off an inconsistent, but overall successful 2016 season. There was a huge gap between Finnegan’s 3.98 ERA and 5.19 FIP. There were times last season where Finnegan was dominant. He took no-hitters into the 7th inning against both the Cubs and Dodgers, the two last standing teams in the NL in 2016. The Reds are hoping for a breakout 2017 season from Finnegan, and if that were to happen it would certainly be the result of limiting walks and home runs. It is amazing that Finnegan is only 23 years old.

Eno Sarris of Fangraphs had a very positive report on Finnegan going into this season:

Profile: There are, technically at least, few changeups that improved more in the second half than Finnegan’s did last year. But there were no changeups that added as much fade, drop, and velocity gap combined that were *also* attached to a player as young and possibly exciting as the Reds’ lefty. The 23-year-old always had a really nice slider, and even at reduced fastball velocity, he’s above-average there for a left-handed starter. So a changeup as good as the one he learned from Dan Straily would be huge for Finnegan. Throwing it more may have led to more walks, but command isn’t really Finnegan’s game. Look at what he did after August 26th — when he first trusted his change to throw it one-fifth of the time — for a sample of his upside. Well, look past the 2.37 ERA, because that’s a bit much to ask for. In that late-season post-adjustment thirty-inning stretch, however, Finnegan struck out 30% of the batters he saw, walked 11%, and only gave up a homer or so per nine innings. That sort of thing, with ups and downs on his balls in play, won’t always make the shiniest ERA. But they should make him interesting. Only 10 qualified starters had a strikeout minus walk rate over 19% last year, and you know all of their names. Buy Finnegan late in all leagues. (Eno Sarris)

The Quick Opinion: A lefty with gas, a sweet slider, and youth should always have our attention. The fact that this lefty was also throwing a new changeup late in the season during a breakout stretch… that fact means our attention should give rise to affection.

Finnegan has two career starts against the Phillies (both in 2016): 4.50 ERA, 10.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 13 K. Maikel Franco has the lone home run.


Jerad Eickoff was acquired in the Cole Hamels trade from the Rangers at the 2015 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut in 2015 with the Phillies, and made eight starts at the end of the season. Eickoff didn’t technically qualify to be a rookie in 2016, but his first full big league season was smashing success. He posted a 3.65 ERA/4.19 FIP, and if he had qualified for rookie status he would have been 4th in the MLB among rookie pitchers in fWAR at 2.9.

Eickoff features a low 90’s fastball, a slider, curve, and change. His curveball is his best pitch. Tonight will be Eickoff’s first career appearance against the Reds.

Starting Lineup

Phillies Reds
1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Howie Kendrick (LF)
3. Odubel Herrera (CF)
4. Maikel Franco (3B)
5. Tommy Joseph (1B)
6. Aaron Altherr (RF)
7. Cameron Rupp (C)
8. Freddy Galvis (SS)
9. Jerad Eickhoff (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. Brandon Finnegan (P)

Reds acquire Tyler Goeddel

The Reds acquired Tyler Goeddel off waivers, a former first round pick from 2011. He will be sent to AAA. Steve Mancuso broke down the big news of the day. The Reds transferred Anthony DeSclafani to the 60-day DL to acquire Goeddel, meaning Disco can’t be activated until June at the earliest. Uh oh.

Other News and Notes

Does Joey Votto walk too much?

Our friend over at Red Reporter, and certified nut job Matt Allaire went around GABP on Opening Day in a Mountie costume asking Reds fans if Joey Votto walks too much. It is…..something.

Conclusion

You don’t want to start the season 0-2, right? The Reds next 10 games after this series are against NL Central foes, so you don’t want to dig a hole before that. I am expecting a big start from Finnegan tonight. The Phillies were 29th out of 30 teams in the MLB last season against LHP in wRC+ (78). I also expect a big night from Joey Votto who went 0 for 4 on Opening Day. Go Reds!

88 thoughts on “Reds vs Phillies – April 5, 2017 (Opening Night)

  1. Can the “woo” please die? It is so obnoxious to those of us who can’t get to the game. Maybe it’s sour grapes from me because I live outside of Cincinnati and can’t get to the stadium but man, it’s make it hard to listen to on the radio….

    For the proponents, why is it fun? Help me understand.

    • I think it’s a bit of trolling and a bit of drunken stupor combined with late hours. The original Wooo started on a bark in the park night game that went really really late due to extra innings if I recall correctly.

      • Thanks for the history, it’s makes it just a touch more palatable….

        A little disappointed it looks like Lorenzen won’t get two… holding my breadth to see if the bullpen revolution was just lip service

  2. So I wonder if Lorenzen & Inglesias are limited with their appearances this year? I guess we should get this one and worry about tomorrow when it gets there.

  3. First closer of the year is…not two innings from Lorenzen (boo) though we knew that when Gennett pinch hit in the eighth. Why not let Lorenzen bat and get the two inning save? Also not Storen (yeah). Let’s go Raisel Iglesias!

  4. No way that won’t be reviewed, but I don’t see clear evidence to overturn. Beat the throw but didn’t get to the bag?

    • It seemed like a good play; Peraza blocked him off the bag while fielding the throw..
      And, they over rule the out call, and we play on.

    • Indeed. Great pitching all around. Psyched that Finnegan seems to be getting better and better.

  5. Can somebody please explain to me what the thought process is that leads you to attempt to steal a base with two out in the bottom of the ninth with a runner who doesn’t represent the tying/winning run? What advantage does that get you?

  6. Finnegan had a Cuetoish quality to himself tonight.

    Votto in the clutch reminded me of seeing his attitude in 2010 at the plate in LA when he just would not be denied.

    Great, great opening night game. Exciting.

  7. Melvin Upton 874 ops vs lefties last year. He has some power/speed….good guy to platoon w/Schebler or come off the bench. He’s still only 32

  8. It’s been so cool not seeing Jumbo, JJ, or Cingrani in the late innings of these close games

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