After a minor bump in the road last night, the Reds trek on as they take on the Brewers at 7:10 p.m. EST in game two of a four-game series. Despite the setback in Thursday’s contest, Cincinnati remains in first place in the NL Central with a 7-3 record, holding off the Cubs by a half game.
Tommy Milone, a left-hander, is entering his seventh season with his fourth team. This is his first season with the Brewers. The 30-year-old was initially signed as a bullpen arm but moved into the rotation after Opening Day starter Junior Guerra went on the disabled list. He was beaten up in his first start, allowing four runs on nine hits in only four innings against the Cubs on April 8. Until last year, Milone had at least put up mediocre numbers, but he had a rough go of it in his final season with the Twins, with a career-worst 5.71 ERA, 4.61 SIERA, and -0.2 fWAR in 69 1/3 innings. The southpaw relies on his control to get hitters out (career 5.9 BB%), as he strikes out next to nobody (16.7%).
Since Milone has spent most of his career in the American League, only three current Reds have faced him. Joey Votto is 1-for-2 with a home run and a walk, Eugenio Suarez is 1-for-4, and Zack Cozart is 0-for-2.
Meanwhile, Feldman will take the hill for his third start with the Reds. After he was knocked around on Opening Day, the right-hander bounced back with a gem against a dangerous Cardinals lineup in his second time around. In six shutout innings, he allowed only four hits and one walk while striking out six.
Some fun with small sample sizes:
-Ordinarily, Feldman is a similar pitcher to Milone, but his strikeout numbers have been a pleasant surprise thus far, though it’s unlikely to last; his career strikeout rate is just 14.6%. But hey, if he continues doubling his career K% this year with the Reds, I don’t think anyone would complain.
-His 27.9 K% currently ranks 21st out of 108 qualified pitchers. The first two guys in front of him? Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.
-Known as a ground-ball pitcher (47.3 career GB%), he has been anything but through two outings, inducing a grounder only 29.6 percent of the time.
|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. Zack Cozart (SS)|
|7. Manny Pina (C)||7. Patrick Kivlehan (RF)|
|8. Orlando Arcia (SS)||8. Stuart Turner (C)|
|9. Tommy Milone (P)||9. Scott Feldman (P)|
The lineup looks a bit different than the usual one Bryan Price has rolled out this season. With a lefty on the mound for the Brewers, Patrick Kivlehan is getting the start in right field. Stuart Turner will get his third start of the year behind the plate, catching Feldman for a second straight outing.
News and Notes
Lots of big news today. First, the Reds’ top offensive prospect, Jesse Winker, was promoted from Triple-A. He may not stay in the majors for long, but hopefully he can get into a game this weekend.
Barrett Astin, who’s starting to wear out his own trail between Cincinnati and Louisville, was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Winker.
Later in the afternoon, we got an answer to the question we’ve been asking since Rookie Davis was hit in the forearm with a pitch on Tuesday: who will take his spot the next time through the rotation? We now have our answer, and another young Reds prospect will be making his MLB debut on Sunday.
After getting shut down by Jimmy Nelson and the Brewers bullpen last night (only five hits), the Reds need their offense to come back to life. Facing a pitcher who throws to contact may be what they need to get going again. If Feldman can continue pitching as he has since the second inning of Opening Day, you have to like their chances to get back on the smiling side of the scoreboard.