Tonight, the Cincinnati Reds will continue the quest for their sixth World Series title as they take on the Milwaukee Brewers for the first time in 2017. The team is returning home following a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park, moving their record to 7-2 — tied for the best mark in baseball. Can they keep their stranglehold on the NL Central tonight?

Starting Pitchers

Pitchers IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Jimmy Nelson
Bronson Arroyo

Taking the mound for the Brewers will be Jimmy Nelson, their former No. 1 prospect. To this point in his career, the right-hander hasn’t lived up to his top-prospect billing, but he continues to show flashes of his potential at times, including in his first start of the year. The 27-year-old tossed six innings of one-run, four-hit baseball against the Chicago Cubs, striking out eight and walking two. Control has been a problem for the 27-year-old over the last two seasons, so the Reds would be well-served to show some patience at the plate tonight.

The Reds have knocked Nelson around a bit in his short big-league career, as he sports a career 5.06 ERA against them. Billy Hamilton (6-for-20, 4 BB) and Joey Votto (6-for-20, 3 BB) have found success against the righty, as has Adam Duvall (6-for-9, 1 HR), albeit in a small sample size.

Bronson Arroyo is back on the mound tonight for game two of his comeback tour. It’ll be his first game in Great American Ball Park since September 28, 2013. His first outing went, well, about as expected for a 40-year-old coming off major arm injuries. In a four-inning outing, he allowed six runs on six hits, including two home runs, against the St. Louis Cardinals. According to Statcast, his fastball averaged 83.9 mph and topped out at 86.7 mph. Needless to say, that lack of velocity didn’t pair well with shaky control. It’s hard to imagine he’ll stick in the rotation for long if he continues to pitch like that with so many young pitchers knocking on the door. Fortunately, the bullpen got some needed rest Wednesday after Amir Garrett threw 6 2/3 strong innings and Robert Stephenson finished the game off.

All that being said, everyone in Redleg Nation is rooting for Arroyo; let’s hope he can turn back the clock and get things on track tonight.


Brewers Reds
1. Jonathan Villar (2B) 1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Eric Thames (1B) 2. Jose Peraza (2B)
3. Ryan Braun (LF) 3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Travis Shaw (3B) 4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Domingo Santana (RF) 5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Keon Broxton (CF) 6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Manny Pina (C) 7. Zack Cozart (SS)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS) 8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Jimmy Nelson (P) 9. Bronson Arroyo (P)

The Reds are rolling out their regular lineup as the offense looks to stay hot. In the three-game sweep over the Pirates, the club tallied 22 runs, all while Joey Votto collected only one hit. His teammates picked up the slack, with contributions coming from all over the lineup.

I want to focus on Eugenio Suarez and his encouraging start to 2017, in particular. The 25-year-old had a huge series in Pittsburgh (6-for-10, one double, one home run, six runs batted in, three walks) to raise his slash line to a robust .429/.529/.750. Suarez is showing Votto-esque patience at the plate thus far, and it’s paying huge dividends. His defense has also been particularly impressive, especially when you consider where he was with the glove at this time last year. Early season stats are hard to read into, but it’s still worth noting Suarez is tied for second in baseball in fWAR (0.7) and wRC+ (232). Perhaps Nick Senzel won’t take the third base job so easily in a year or two.

News and Notes

Not a lot of news or notes to speak of today, but there are some encouraging signs down in Pensacola regarding Devin Mesoraco and his rehab.

Sunday’s starter is still up in the air. My guess is Sal Romano gets the nod so Reed and Stephenson can continue working through control problems in the bullpen for the time being.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people still expect the Reds to fall back to Earth at some point. Given the performance of the starting rotation so far, I’m inclined to agree. Regardless of what happens, though, no one can deny this has been a fun start to the season, and it gives everyone a reason to get excited about the team’s future. The offense has been formidable and the bullpen has been lights out en route to a four-game winning streak. Now let’s see if the rotation can string together a couple of solid starts in a row.

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

Join the conversation! 71 Comments

  1. This start reminds me a little of the Bengals in 2011 after they had finished 4-12 in 2010, and proceeded to lose Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens. Many folks were predicting 0-16. Sprinkle in some Andy Dalton and A.J. Green rookie dust, and the team was much better than expected, finishing 9-7. There was a mid-season game where they went to Seattle and won, and I yelled out during that game, “We’re good! We’re good!”

    That point may come sometime this year for the Reds. Who knows? I’ve already had that feeling, but there will come a point sometime this year when we’ll know — like taking down the Cubs in a crucial game or series.

  2. I am still rooting for Arroyo, rookies will not be able to last through August if they start in April, some one has gotta start eating innings now, rotation could look totally different by end of summer.

    • Yep, management gotta watch that we don’t burn out these young guys, even if they’re finding success.

    • They have 6 or 7 young guys….not to mention Adleman or some other stopgap could outpitch Arroyo at this point! He’s just this years Marquis or Simon….questionable decision that they’ll probably be slow to admit and wait til late May or June to yank him!

  3. If we keep scoring 8 runs a game, even Bronson will hit 10 wins this year

  4. If Romano, what is the service time rule? Is it late enough in the season that the Reds get the extra year of a contract? They already gave it up with Garrett, and I’m recalling how the Cubs held off Bryant for the beginning of the 2015 season.

    • They have not given it up with Garrett. Not yet.

      Garrett will struggle at some point this season. When that happens, Reds can send him down to AAA at some point this season. Or they can send him down to help manage his innings, because he’ll be on an innings limit this year. So much easier to manipulate service time with a pitcher.

    • Romano is going to be close if they bring him up for Sunday; but, they can always make it a one shot deal (for now) and send him back down to make sure.

      BTW check back at RLN this weekend, I plan to have a post up about the extra year of control issue that among other things will (hopefully) empower anyone who can do a little date math on a spreadsheet (or by hand) to demystify the process.

    • I just did the math. actually it looks like yesterday or today was the magic day on Romano. Count back 172 from 1 Oct. to verify.

      • *IF* the Reds, any small miracle, make the playoffs even a WC, will the post season count towards service timeas well?

        • No, only the regular season counts. Check out Bryant. Two seasons, two years in the playoffs. He ended 2016 one day short of 2 years of service just like the Cubbies planned from day one.

  5. I am enjoying the abundance of interesting articles featuring Reds players on Fangraphs and other media outlets lately. Winning does that, I know but it also helps when you win despite everyone’s expectations. Perhaps after tonight they’ll write about Arroyo somehow winning a game for us. Okay, maybe not but I can hope.

  6. Yo, Matt, nice write-up. I especially like the individual “ownage” stats that the Reds batters have on Nelson.

    Every time I see Nelson vs. the Reds, I think of how Jay Bruce just wore him out (8 for 21 lifetime, 3 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI). Nice to see Duvall is taking over for Bruce.

  7. Nelson has a 7.20 era at GABP in 25 in & Arroyo is washed up…..get ready for some runs tonite!!

  8. They just said on TV this is the same umpiring crew we had in Pittsburgh. The same crew 7 games in a row seems kind of crazy.

    • Seeing the same umpire crew for 2 series in a row must be a new MLB league office thing. Saving $ or travel wear-and-tear?

      The Giants TV broadcasters were talking last weekend about how they saw the same crew in Phoenix and then San Diego, and how they could not remember seeing it before.

      • I think it is only the first game of this series and then it switches. Seems weird.

  9. I’m very concerned about Arroyo. 83 mph on his “fast” ball?
    I don’t think he will last long.

  10. Zoom zoom zoom!

  11. Hamilton single …stolen base….2 fly balls later and Reds lead 1-0

  12. Every time Billy hits those walls I cringe a little.

  13. I was wondering who would replace Straily as the pitcher who gave Hamilton the best chances to show off. I guess we have our answer now.

  14. some really loud outs so far…gotta hold my breath after contact. *orders some oxygen*

  15. I love that Hamilton loves playing CF so much. He’s carrying on BP’s spirit of fun. I never see him that happy after a big hit, but he just lights up when he runs down the long fly balls. Keep it up!

  16. I’ve seen enough. Loved Arroyo, but he’s done. He’s good for maybe 2 innings.

  17. Can we drop Bronson yet? He is killing my enthusiasm with every pitch he throws.

  18. Wheels are starting to come off.Just can’t get guys out with low 80’s fastball.

  19. I don’t care if we get swept, just so long as that cheating liar Braun doesn’t hit another homerun.

  20. Ok, I think the Arroyo experiment has lost funding.

  21. Ok this is bs!!! I called it when they first said they were bringing him back! Its Marquis, Gregg, and Simon all over again! If Dick Williams is really serious about changing things for the better then they’ll thank Bronson and turn him loose tomorrow! We have capable arms and his isn’t…its that simple!

  22. Just doesn’t make sense even at all to put him out there.Unless he can hit in the high 80’s its batting practice.

  23. Time for the Arroyo experiment to come to an end. He’s killing this team.

  24. Subtract: Arroyo & Rookie
    Add: Reed & Romano with Stephenson & Adleman in reserve

  25. Reminds me so much of last year when you knew what was going to happen but unlike last year we have much better options to turn too.

  26. I’m sorry I haven’t been following the thread so this may have been beat to death, but can someone please tell me the Reds reasoning for Bronson being in the rotation ? Is it inning limits or service time or something else?

    The start to the season has been exciting. It’s sad to see him get sent out there every 5th game.

    • They expected to lose atleast 85-90 games and just wanted an innings eater instead of having 2 or 3 of the young guys beat to death like Reed last year! Thing is the young guys look good and they won’t get destroyed every time out like Arroyo!

  27. Up 1-0, down 4-1. All this for nostalgia.

  28. I agree with what everyone’s saying about Arroyo, but don’t be surprised if a few ERAs take a dent this homestand. We’ve got some good hitting clubs coming through.

    • I don’t mind taking our lumps. I just mind Bronson taking them instead of someone who actually needs to learn the lessons.

  29. Well put MWVOHIO and I agree because losing with young guys is what I fully expect to happen.Losing with old guys is why we are here today.

    • Nah. Much as I disliked seeing Marquis and whatnot they had little to do with holding back any rebuilding. We didn’t have the MLB-ready arms last year while this year we have a bounty of prospects itching to take their bruises with the big boys.

      This year though it’s practically a crime unless they are doing it for service time reasons that are beyond my simplistic understanding of how that kind of thing works.

  30. Ok, I think we’ve seen enough to say the Arroyo experiment didn’t work, time to move on.

  31. Oh, and Joey swinging at 3-0 pitches is very un-Votto like….

  32. Agreed… Good Bronson and Bad Bronson is the past. Now it is just bad Bronson. Time to move on. We all lose it. He is now one of us. A fan not a player.

  33. Even Adleman had a 4.00 era in 69 innings last year….you atleast have a chance to win without having to score a TD or more! Arroyo has an 11 era right now and hows it going to get much better with his slowpitch softball arm? Cmon? Its a disservice to the young guys that are really doing well and a disservice to the fans!

  34. All of the great young arms are on pitch counts for the yr. Someone needs to fill out the rest of those innings. That “someone” is Arroyo and Feldman.

  35. I believe the record for homers allowed in one season is 50. If Arroyo lasts the year , he will crush that. Cubs will light him up . I like how every 5th day we have no problem giving the game away.

    • Yep…..down 4 runs and only 14 outs left and they leave him in to give away another out with a bunt. Full surrender mode

  36. What am I missing…why let Arroyo bat?

  37. I am gone for the night.Just to many reminders of how things went last year.Maybe I would fell better if I knew the reasoning behind it.We have such a good roster and a bunch of young guys biting at the bit to pitch so I hope it doesn’t last long.Go Reds,

  38. The Reds will likely lose between 85-90 games. Having Arroyo enables them to not rush Romano and allows them to sort out things with Lorenzen and Stephenson. The Cubs will likely win 100 games and a wild card usually requires at least 90 wins. They shouldn’t panic because they’re winning.

    This team is on pace to be legitimately good next year and there is no reason to make rash decisions so they can win 80 games instead of 75.

  39. so…since Reed didn’t come in, does that mean that he gets the start in Rookie’s spot?

  40. all arms on that can of corn by Votto

  41. Tony Renda batting cleanup tonite for Lville….lol. I think Delino Deshields is trying to get drug tested or something?

  42. Alcantara, the human fan, has 6 Ks in 8 AB. Terrible.

  43. One thing I would like to see in an interview, if possible, is someone who knows the Reds and saw Cesar Geronimo play quite a bit compare him to Billy Hamilton. I know the word when I was a kid that Geronimo was one of the best fielding center-fielders of that time.

    That would be a good question to hear an answer.

    • Been watching the Reds since 1970. I think Geronimo and Hamilton are very close, but Billy is faster running them down and stealing bases.

    • I think Pete Rose would be a good person to give such a comparison. As Mike says, Hamilton is faster. However, Geronimo had a much better arm. I think the consensus was that Geronimo’s arm was on par with Clemente.

    • I used to hear how great Geronimo was in large part because he ran great routes to get to the baseball. Maybe Billy does too, but Billy is SO quick he can sometimes outrun his mistakes if he doesn’t. … And yes, Geronimo could throw. Lordy, could he throw. His hitting didn’t come along right away, but after about his first year of playing everyday, teams learned not to run on that arm. The Reds put out an album of highlights from a particular season — wish I still had that thing — and while highlights for most of the players were big hits, Geronimo’s was him throwing out a guy trying to go from first to third base on a single, I think. The announcer’s call from the game is saying something like … “And Cesar Geronimo introduces himself to the San Francisco Giants” or whatever team the Reds were playing that night.

  44. I probably would figure Geronimo might had the better arm, I thought he was known for having a cannon.

    • If I remember correctly, Geronimo originally signed as a pitcher, so I imagine his arm was superior to Billy’s.

  45. That would be a good Hal McCoy question, if he hasn’t covered it before.

  46. Maybe we’ll get lucky and it’ll rain every 5th day and we can have 4 man rotation.

Comments are closed.

About Matt Wilkes

Growing up just north of Cincinnati, Matt has been a Reds fan for as long as he can remember. As a kid, he was often found leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 and imitating his favorite players (Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns) in the backyard. One of his earliest baseball memories is attending the final night game at Cinergy Field. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in the Dayton area. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.


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