The first place Cincinnati Reds (2-1) will hit the road for the first time in 2017. They begin a three game series tonight at the St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) at 8:15 PM. For a second consecutive day, the Reds starting pitcher will be making his MLB debut.

The Cardinals lost two of three to the Cubs in St. Louis to open the season. The Cardinals only scored a total of 8 runs in the series. I previewed the 2017 Cardinals last week.

Starting Pitchers

The following stats are 2017 ZiPS projections

The Reds top prospect Amir Garrett will make his MLB debut this evening. Our good friend Doug Gray wrote about what to expect from Garrett last week. I encourage you to read the entire piece, which also highlights his background.

In the first four starts of the spring, Amir Garrett allowed one earned run over a span of 11.1 innings pitched and he had just two walks to go with nine strikeouts. The next to starts were a bit more of a struggle. In 10.0 innings he allowed nine earned with four walks and five strikeouts. He rebounded well on Saturday in the Reds vs Future Reds game in Dayton. The lefty was dominant in his 3.0 innings of work in his final tune up for the regular season. He finished the spring, including the exhibition game, with a 3.70 ERA in 24.1 innings with six walks and 17 strikeouts.

There’s no denying that Amir Garrett has a big league arm. He performed well this spring for the Reds. After having some hiccups at times in Louisville in the second half with control, that didn’t really show up in the spring. Over four starts in Triple-A, Amir Garrett combined for 21 walks. In the other eight games he had 10 total walks. With only 12 games at the highest level in the minor leagues, and some consistency issues in that time, there is always going to be some concern that you will see that in the big leagues until the player shows otherwise. That’s no different for Garrett.

As noted, we didn’t really see that in Arizona over the last six weeks, and we’ve seen Amir Garrett take big strides forward in short periods of time. In the past, the lefty has been mostly fastball-slider, while tossing a change up in every so often. He’s still likely going to be a fastball and slider guy, but we’ve seen him go with the change up more. Garrett’s become more comfortable and more confident with the pitch in the last year. He’s generally going to be 91-94 with the fastball with more at the top end and the change up and slider will both be in the low 80’s.

There will probably still be some inconsistency for Amir Garrett in 2017. There aren’t many rookies that come into the Major Leauges and just perform every day from the start. The key will be limiting the number of days when he doesn’t have it. In the minor leagues he’s been very good at doing that. When he’s on top of his game, he’s capable of dominating. The fastball andslider combo will be plenty to get most guys out. If he can continue to progress with his change up it could take him to that next level. As long as he’s able to throw strikes, he should be solid, but likely better than that. How many innings the organization will let him throw is a minor issue, as he should be capable and ready to handle 175.0 innings this season. That may require skipping him once or twice to get through an entire year if that is the kind of limit they choose to set for him (he threw 144.1 last season).

Mike Leake will be making his fifth career start against the Reds. Last season, the Reds beat up Leake: 4 GS, 7.25 ERA, 22.1 IP, 29 H, 18 ER. Leake is coming off the first season in his career where his ERA (4.69) was higher than his FIP (3.83). Leake had a career low in BB/9 (1.53). Leake’s BABIP was 0.25 higher than his career average, part of which could be the result of playing with a weaker defensive team.

Leake had a 3.81 ERA and 1.12 WHIP with 14 K and 6 BB in 26.0 IP this spring.

Adam Duvall is 5 for 13 (1.313 OPS) with 2 HR and 8 RBI against Leake. Billy Hamilton is 5 for 7 (1.893 OPS) with a HR.

Starting Lineups

Reds Cardinals
1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Jose Peraza (2B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Scott Schebler (RF)
6. Zack Cozart (SS)
7. Scooter Gennett (3B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Amir Garrett (P)
1. Dexter Fowler (CF)
2. Aledmys Diaz (SS)
3. Matt Carpenter (1B)
4. Stephen Piscotty (RF)
5. Jhonny Peralta (3B)
6. Yadier Molina (C)
7. Randal Grichuk (LF)
8. Kolten Wong (2B)
9. Mike Leake (P)

Scooter Gennett will get his first start of 2017, replacing Eugenio Suarez at 3B. Gennett has NEVER played third base in his professional career (majors or minor league). Gennett did play at 3B on Saturday in the Futures Game.

Adam Duvall (5 for 11, 278 wRC+) and Zack Cozart (5 for 10, 154 wRC+) are off to hot starts for the Reds. The top of the lineup, not so much. Hamilton and Peraza are a combined 5 for 25 with just 1 walk.

The Cardinals don’t have a Joey Votto in their lineup, but they make up for it with a lineup with zero holes. Every Cardinals projected starter has a projected OPS of .718+. The Cardinals also have a nice bench with Matt Adams, Jedd Gyorko, and Greg Garcia.

Two way player

Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs wrote a cool piece today about how Michael Lorenzen’s Officially a Two Way Player.

Other News and Notes


It was nice to get a series win to start 2017. What would be even nicer? Beating up on the Cardinals and putting them in a hole to start the season. Amir Garrett is going to be special at some point. Let’s hope it starts right away. 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! 87 Comments

  1. I’ve re-worked my Friday evening to be able to watch most of this game once I leave work… hopefully Garrett fares better than Rookie!

  2. This is from a Sports Illustrated article about Joey Votto: “Reds first baseman Joey Votto has a career batting average of .313, a career on-base percentage of .425 and a career slugging percentage of .536. Only five players in baseball history have done as well or better in all three categories. Their names are Ruth, Williams, Gehrig, Foxx and Hornsby.”

    We think we’re watching a very good ball player, when we’re actually watching an extraordinary one. We don’t appreciate him enough.

  3. Nick,

    Kudos on your game previews.

    Lots of information without being too lengthy.

  4. Padres are wearing brown jerseys with the old school “taco” hat for their home opener.
    Awesome combo.

    I can’t believe the San Diego ownership continues to ignore the fans and push blue as the primary team color. Would be like the Reds wearing orange jerseys.

  5. Any theories on why Gennett is getting a start at a position he’s never played? And if one of the regular infielders needs a day off, surely it’s Peraza. Is Scooter 3-5 off Leake in his career or something super meaningful like that?

    • Here’s a guess. Price is going to get all the bench players a start this weekend to keep them sharp. He’s going to play Alcantara at 2B and doesn’t want to replace Peraza twice. That’s just a wild guess.

  6. Scooter at 3rd? Yahoo had Suarez in the original lineup? Suarez just had a couple hits yesterday? The Reds need Suarez to produce! I’d go Peraza, Suarez, and Votto 1-2-3 and go from there!

  7. Regarding Scooter,

    .307 BA in over 100 ABs at Busch. Better average than he had in his career at Miller Park.

    Feels like Price is either rewarding Scooter or playing a hunch, if there isn’t something to come out later about Suarez.

  8. Hey Friday night gang. Fired up and ready to watch Amir Garrett.

    A bunch of you have already donated to our fundraiser. Thanks!

    Anyone who donates during the game gets a personal shout out on the game thread.

  9. Love the new scoreboard stats

    • Me too. Haven’t been to a game yet, but looking forward to seeing them.

  10. in advance of this series between the Reds and the Cardinals, I propose the following slogans for these two players: Michael Lorenzen, “98 mph fastballs, I can throw ’em and I can hit ’em.” Yadier Molina: ” I am stuck on baseball, cause baseball’s stuck on me!”

  11. Matt Habel just donated to the site. Thanks Matt!

  12. Tonight’s Peraza Pitch Count (TM) after 2 at-bats: 5

    I have a friendly wager of lunch with a Reds buddy that Peraza will see less than 12 pitches tonight in his first 4 ABs.

    Am liking my chances.

  13. Jeez….just trying to type that safety squeezes are a waste of an out

  14. A squeeze goes wrong — that’s depressing

  15. Nicholas Strauss donated to the site. Thanks, Nicholas!

  16. It’s nice to see some people here on a Friday night! The last two seasons Friday night has been somewhat of a dead zone.

    So when are we going to have our first of two or three get together’s?

  17. Please guys call great ball game, don’t they?

  18. Billy hurt his hand again

  19. V to the O to the TT O!

  20. Votto-matic!

    Glad to have a lead though

    • Is anyone listening to Marty? That play might spark his first rant of the season.

      • I’m listening. Not really a rant. Course the play ended the half inning so not a lot of time. He just said wasn’t a smart play. Not sure why he was trying it with 2 outs.

  22. Now that he is out of the game we can talk about Amir without jinxing him. Nothing but good things to say about that.

  23. Just received a donation from Stephen Maynard. Thanks Stephen!

  24. How about Garrett tonight? Kid looks like he belongs: 4K, 2BB, 2H. If he could have turned thsose two walks into strikeouts, he’d have a Cueto-esque line on the night.

    One start does not a season (or career) make, but better to get off on the right foot as opposed to the alternative.

    At the very least, we should be thankful he hasn’t been pigeon-holed for a bullpen role.

  25. I would have let Lorenzen bat and used him for 2 innings

  26. Garrett looked good! I haven’t seem him before. He doesn’t throw that hard but he throws strikes and that slider is pretty nasty! Why pinch hit for Lorenzen? Esp with such a short bench!

  27. Lorenzen 1 inning? Should have double switched or let him bat. No need to pull him.

    • Agreed. Short inning. Would have liked to see him pitch the 8th and maybe the 9th too. If he is a one-inning reliever, they are wasting him. Love the confidence he showed in the slider that inning.

  28. How many pictures for Peraza?

  29. Agree with the last 3 comments

  30. Peraza: 4 ABs, 10 pitches.

    Winner winner chicken…err. Chipotle lunch.

  31. Herrera 2-5 with a HR & 4 rbis tonite. Winker 2-3 with a double & walk

    • And Senzel also waiting in the wings…..

      Suddenly, this Reds team is looking….. Interesting at least.

  32. 8th pitch to Adams was a ball ???

    • Iglesias is too good to umpire accurately. First pitch was a strike, too.

  33. Raisel pitching to the bottom of their lineup and Cingrani gets the top of the order? I don’t like that!!

  34. I’ll say the same thing I said yesterday, this team is 100x more fun to watch this year. Where’s the “it’s just the Phillies” argument now?

    • I wouldn’t start printing playoff tickets yet but atleast we’re seeing most of the young guys and not Simon, Schumaker, etc

      • I said “fun” not “champions”. I’m happy to see young players get their chance over Ross Dussledorf.

  35. Go Yard Adam

  36. David Schanzenbaker just donated to celebrate that opposite field homer by Scott Schebler. Thanks, David!

  37. Did that first pitch to Scooter one hop Molina and get stuck to his vest?

  38. Looks like Cozart is showing his wheels are fine.

  39. Guess this makes Cingrani the closer tomorrow, if needed?

    • Lorenzen can prob go 1 but they’ll have Cingrani, Wood, and Storen

    • Not to be a downer after tonites masterpiece but I don’t expect anything to close with Arroyo’s experiment tomorrow. We’ll have to score atleast 7 to win

    • Nail down the win today. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.


  41. How about that 2017 Reds Bullpen? (not to mention that superb start by Garrett).

    Standing O.

    • As sad as I am about Lorenzen likely never being a starter, the next best thing would be for him to be a high-leverage/fireman guy out of the bullpen. While not as valuable as a starter, it’s still a vital role to the team’s overall success.

    • I still want Lorenzen in the rotation but if you subtract Feldman & Arroyo and throw Disco, Homer, Castillo, and Romano in the starter mix then they might have something special later this year or going into 2018!

      • I know next to nothing when it comes to minimizing the likelihood of a pitchers’ arm troubles. However, it seems like a lot of fans understand the move to the BP for Iglesias, while questioning the same for Lorenzen. Lorenzen had elbow problems last year; surprised that he didn’t have TJ surgery.

  42. That pitching is tough to beat.

  43. ill drink to that one #atobttr

  44. Every win over the Cardinals is sweeter.

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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