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!

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.

About The Author

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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88 Responses

  1. renbutler

    I wouldn’t call the weather “sketchy,” I’d call it downright ugly.

    IMO, there’s a very high chance this game doesn’t start on time. Rain and possible severe storms are imminent in and around Cincy. If they are willing to wait it out, they might get a pretty late start.

    • renbutler

      Now, they might be pretty motivated and patient to get this game in. Both teams have to travel and them play on Friday, and the Phillies’ Friday game is a home opener in the afternoon. This means that they can’t play too late on Thursday, and they might be reluctant to schedule even a traditional back-to-back doubleheader.

      The problem is that the two teams don’t have very many common days off, and all of those options would force situations where either or both teams have to play on more than 20 consecutive days, which requires union approval.

      May 15 appears to be the simplest option for a makeup date, as the Reds have an off day at home, and the Phillies could stop in Cincy on the way to playing the Rangers.

  2. Patrick Jeter

    Weather delays during the first week of the season are like punches right in the nose.

  3. IndyRedMan

    Interesting AAA rotation? With all the massive promotions I thought that Castillo would start in Lville? Rookie Davis can pitch in the major with a 7 era in Lville last year but Castillo can’t pitch AAA at 98mph with good control? I guess it will all work itself out? Jackson Stephens is 22….seems a little quick for AAA as well but why not as this point.

    • Patrick Jeter

      A 7 ERA in 24 innings.

      Pitching people smarter than I claim that if you can pitch in AA, you can pitch in the majors. Davis posted a 2.94 ERA in AA last year in 101 IP.

  4. Sliotar

    Good evening, fellow Reds freaks.

    Here is an interesting article to review if we have a rain delay:

    http://www.athleticsnation.com/2017/4/5/15191254/judging-bob-melvins-closer-decisions-so-far-ryan-dull-santiago-casilla-ryan-madson-frankie-montas

    A’s have 8 relievers, going bullpen by committee.
    Last night, did not go L vs L, stuck with Ryan Dull, pitching for 2nd straight day, gave up 3-run homer in 9th in 7-6 loss.

    The old “short term results outweigh seeing out the process” debate comes up below the line.

  5. VaRedsFan

    Funny video…
    Answer: Not when facing Hellickson

  6. Steve Mancuso

    Let’s have a little garage sale while waiting for the game. I have one Redleg Nation t-shirt leftover from a past sale. It’s size Medium. The first person who donates $27.50 to our fundraiser claims it. I’ll ship it to you for free.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Will clarify that it’s never been worn outside of possibly by Joey Votto.

  7. Steve Mancuso

    Anyone who makes a donation of any amount during the rain delay gets a mention by name in the comments section.

  8. Steve Mancuso

    Wow, we just received a generous contribution from Doug Richards. Thanks, Doug!

  9. renbutler

    Tarp is coming off the field. Estimated start time of 8:00 ET.

  10. Steve Mancuso

    Reds saying game time estimated at 8 p.m.

  11. mwvohio

    Since we’re in a delay anyway.. anyone around who’s actually spoken to Votto or Phillips in person? I’ve always wanted to but never had the chance and both seem like great guys based on interviews/watching games. If you have I’d like to hear any stories you care to share or just general impressions. One of the things that fascinates me about baseball is how all these different personalities have to interact so often with each other through the long season. No other sport really has that I think.

  12. Steve Mancuso

    Dan Straily starting for the Marlins tonight against the Nats.

  13. Steve Mancuso

    Contribution from Christopher Payne. Thank you, Christopher!

  14. Steve Mancuso

    Contribution from Daniel Greene. Thanks, Daniel!

  15. Steve Mancuso

    Thomas Reed donated to the site. Thanks, Thomas!

  16. Indy Red Man

    They didn’t score but the walk drove up Finnegan’s pitch count. He has potential but nobody but the Nolan Ryan/Randy Johnson types can survive that many walks. He needs to study Jon Lester. JL tops out about 93 but he keeps the ball down and works both sides of the plate

  17. Eric The Red

    Another problem with Peraza batting 2nd: his complete aversion to taking a walk means opposing teams will have no problem pitching out when Hamilton is on base. You could probably spot Peraza two balls and still not worry about walking him.

  18. VaRedsFan

    It looked like Votto got more of that than he did. Died before it got to the warning track

  19. Indy Red Man

    That 1-1 curve to Duvall was never a strike? I get that they want to speed up the games but killing offense by calling anything close a strike is not the way to do it.

    • Eric The Red

      I think it was a makeup call for the pitch before….

      But I do think it’s being called pretty tight so far.

  20. VaRedsFan

    Straily getting lit up in DC….5 runs in 3.1 IP

    • VaRedsFan

      BRRRUUUCEEE…..oh yeah…not here anymore

  21. BigRedMike

    Finnegan does throw hard for a lefty. I see that Lorenzen had two pitches of 99 on Monday, did not know he threw that hard

  22. VaRedsFan

    Billy 1st BB and 1st SB.
    5 straight balls and Peraza jammed himself on the next pitch

  23. mwvohio

    Finnegan looks like he’s really settling down a lot. So much more enjoyable to watch the young guys.

  24. VaRedsFan

    10 in a row with 5 Ks for Finnegan

  25. Indy Red Man

    Charlie Morton going for Houston tonite. I picked him up in all my fantasy teams. You’d think as easily as he would shutdown the Reds that they would’ve taken a look at him. He’s always had a great arm but just hurt alot.

    • VaRedsFan

      Insert any off speed, junkballer against the Reds and you’ll have an all star

  26. mwvohio

    Atta boy Cozart! I really hope he has a good year coming back off his injury.

  27. VaRedsFan

    I wonder if this is his last inning…only at 73 pitches, but leading off next inning

  28. Sliotar

    Is Finnegan going to be the new Mark Buehrle, who had the title of quickest working left-handed starter in the majors? First pitch was at 8 pm sharp.

    • VaRedsFan

      Has to be quick….only 3 hits combined through 6. Eickhoff only at 66 pitches…Finnegan at 76

  29. james garrett

    Second game in a row our whole team goes up hacking.Seeing 10 or 11 pitches an inning is just awful.Come on.

  30. Indy Red Man

    Finnegan is nasty tonite! Lets get him a W!!!

  31. VaRedsFan

    19 in a row with 9K’s….get the man a run guys.

  32. Jack

    Phillies announcer Jon Kruk said opening night “I would rather have the hard throwing Finnegan on opening day than the journeyman.” Sorry John this is Cincinnati .

  33. earmbrister

    A lot of hard hit balls this inning … C’mon Scott

  34. VaRedsFan

    Suarez hit his lineout to center at 108 mph…Votto’s HR was 104

  35. VaRedsFan

    Bullpen or Finnegan for the 8th? He’s at 88 pitches. I say let him start the 8th

  36. Sliotar

    Finnegan is 4 batters away from 3 trips through the lineup. Surely a very quick hook is coming. No reason for this team to jeopardize him or a win pushing him to a complete game.

  37. Indy Red Man

    Duvall and Cozart look pretty locked in! Duvall is going to do some real damage when it warms up! Hate to lose Cozart but it is what it is! Whats the news on Herrera? I guess they’ll play Gennett vs righties and maybe Alcantara vs lefties and moving Peraza to SS of course.

  38. VaRedsFan

    Votto digs that 9 out of 10 times

  39. VaRedsFan

    2 infield singles…need a DP BAD

  40. Detroit Redleg

    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.

    • mwvohio

      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.

      • Detroit Redleg

        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

  41. Indy Red Man

    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.

  42. cfd3000

    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!

  43. earmbrister

    A lot of infield singles these last two innings. Time to finish this.

  44. earmbrister

    And this one belongs to the Reds!!!

    • earmbrister

      Crap. The perils of following this on Gameday …

  45. cfd3000

    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?

    • David

      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.

  46. VaRedsFan

    He looked safe, but i don’t think you can over turn it

    • VaRedsFan

      GABP poor camera angles might be an advantage here

  47. David

    Now it’s really over. Finnegan looked great. And so did the relief.

    Hello 2017!!

    • earmbrister

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

  48. bhrubin1

    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?

  49. Sliotar

    ATOBTTR (first time in 2017. yay.)

  50. cfd3000

    And now this one belongs to the Reds!

  51. Marcus French

    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.

  52. Indy Red Man

    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

  53. VaRedsFan

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