Following Jesse Winker’s late-inning heroics and another solid outing from the bullpen, the Reds took game three against the Brewers on Saturday after losing the first two games of the series. With a Cubs loss to go along with it, Cincinnati increased its lead in the NL Central to one-and-a-half games. The Reds staved off their first series loss of the season on Saturday; can they force a stalemate today?

Starting Pitchers

Pitchers IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Wily Peralta
11.0
2.45
3.39
27.3%
11.4%
Sal Romano (AAA)
13.0
1.38
N/A
16.0%
2.0%

Now the second-longest tenured Brewers player after Ryan Braun, Wily Peralta is off to a nice start in his sixth big-league season. The right-hander showed promise in his first three seasons, but he’s really struggled the last two years, putting up a 4.57 xFIP in 2015 and a 4.22 mark in 2016. His performance was bad enough last year that he was sent down to the minor leagues in June. Milwaukee’s former No. 1 prospect responded well, however, posting a 3.59 xFIP in the second half of the season as he saw his strikeout rate increase and his walk rate decrease. The 27-year-old throws in the mid-90s but has never been a strikeout pitcher, fanning only 16.7 percent of the hitters he’s faced in the big leagues. Peralta displays average control, with a career walk rate of 8.1 percent. Where he finds success is getting batters to hit the ball on the ground, as he sports a career 51.9 GB%.

Aside from the Cardinals, Peralta has pitched against the Reds more than any other team and thrown well, owning a 3.11 ERA in 84 innings. Joey Votto has faced him 39 times, hitting .324/.410/.471. Billy Hamilton (5-for-10, two doubles, one triple, one homer) and Scott Schebler (4-for-7, one double) have also hit well against Peralta in much smaller samples.


Yet another Reds pitcher is set to make their MLB debut, as Sal Romano was called up from Louisville to take the place of the injured Rookie Davis. The 23-year-old was arguably the best pitcher in spring training; however, he had never pitched above the Double-A level, so the organization chose to send him to the minors. Romano continued to impress in two starts with the Bats, allowing only two runs and walking just one batter in 13 innings. The former 23rd-round pick has always been talented, but he really began turning some heads last year in Double-A Pensacola, where he posted a career-best ERA (3.52), FIP (3.06), strikeout rate (22.0%), and walk rate (5.2%). Before this season, Romano was ranked the organization’s No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 9 by MLB Pipeline. Our own Doug Gray ranks him at No. 5. Doug also has a nice scouting report on Romano, which I encourage you all to read.

Lineups

Brewers Reds
1. Nick Franklin (2B) 1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Eric Thames (1B) 2. Arismendy Alcantara (2B)
3. Ryan Braun (LF) 3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Travis Shaw (3B) 4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Hernan Perez (RF) 5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Manny Pina (C) 6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Kirk Nieuwenhuis (CF) 7. Zack Cozart (SS)
8. Orlando Arcia (SS) 8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Wily Peralta (P) 9. Sal Romano (P)

Adam Duvall is back in the lineup. Jose Peraza is getting a day off, with Arismendy Alcantara playing second base. Why Alcantara is batting second over Eugenio Suarez or Zack Cozart is a little baffling, though. Have to bat those speed guys at the top of the lineup even if they can’t get on base, I guess.

News and Notes

Final Thoughts

It’s always exciting to see a top prospect make their debut, and if all goes well today, Romano will probably stick in the rotation for a while after the injury to Brandon Finnegan. The Reds could desperately use a strong outing from the rookie, as the bullpen has already been responsible for throwing 15 innings in this series. Perhaps if they just intentionally walk Eric Thames the whole game, they’ll be OK.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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! 88 Comments

  1. The only reason I can think of to defend Cozart batting 7th while Alcantara is 2nd is if Price is worried to change anything with Cozart and mess up his hot streak. Of course, there is no way to know if his spot in lineup matters to Cozart or not.

    I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it? Personally, I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing some slight shuffling of the lineup.

    • Just remove Peraza/Alcantara, slide everyone up a spot, and watch the offense really take off. I’m getting kind of tired of Votto batting with two out and no one on.

  2. The lineup is inefficient and Romano’s career best 3.52 era at AA is sort of scary but its good to roll with the young guys and see what happens? Happy Easter & Go Reds!!

    • Happy Easter as well, Indy Red Man, and to everyone.

      Thanks to Steve for the detailed write-up and all the comments/speculation below the line.

      Miss a game, miss a lot in Reds Country these days. Which is good.

  3. Wow….. Romano hitting 98 out of the gate…..

  4. And he begins his MLB career with a strikeout!

    Here’s hoping it’s the first of many, many, many more to come!

  5. What a bonehead play …

    • The two walks didn’t help, and Perez made him throw 11 pitches, but he got out of the 1st without giving up any runs.

      Not the best start, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

  6. Romano gets out of it. Deserved better from his defense and could have used a quicker inning there.

  7. Perez with a Votto-like at-bat.

    35 pitch inning. Yikes.

  8. BHam takes a leadoff walk! More of that, please.

  9. …..And gets promptly thrown out on the bases.

    Ok, when did it become Opposite Day, and why wasn’t I informed?

    • And it’s still opposite season for Votto. The pitcher walks two guys, and he comes up swinging at the first pitch? Great that he got a hit, but surprised to see him swinging there. …

  10. This guy can’t throw strikes either … Can’t let him off the hook.

  11. Unbelievable. He gets out of the inning on one rocket-hit ground ball.

  12. Hurts not to score there. Lots of hard hit balls, a walk, a hit…….Hope we keep getting those hacks on this guy.

  13. Rats, so close to getting some runs there. If BHam wasn’t thrown out, he would have scored. If Duvall had hit that grounder just a few more inches to the right, Alcantara would have scored.

    Well, let’s go Big Sal.

  14. Another bullpen day beckons, yeesh.

  15. Something I’ve noticed about Sal so far… He doesn’t seem to have an “out” pitch. He’s got good stuff, but he doesn’t seem to quite have a plan with each at-bat.

    He’s young, I’m sure he’ll sort it, but just my observation.

    • Chris Welsh on TV said his out pitch is a nasty slider that starts at the knees and then breaks hard….He had it in spring training….Welsh said release point not there in the first inning….FWIW.

  16. Wow, how did the guy at second not tag up on that fly ball? Nice catch, Billy.

  17. Way to saw him off to end the threat

  18. Could someone explain to me, someone who enjoys this, why they stop talking about the baseball game, and have interviews?

    • Human interest.

    • Seat, weren’t you the one who wrote earlier this season that you turn the volume down during these family interviews?

      I like Jim Day, but these interviews in-game are cringe-worthy. There have been so many debuts, I am burned out. I turned the volume down on this one.

  19. And Alcantara continues to show no value whatsoever.

  20. Get Alcantara out. Now.

  21. …..And this error really, really hurts.

  22. Gee, that wasn’t predictable, was it?

  23. Alcantara. Brutal.

  24. Alcantara owes the team an rbi…

  25. I think Shaw’s blast made planes move from their flight path.

  26. Another bomb. Maybe Scooter can pitch the last few innings.

  27. I feel bad for Sal… hope this doesn’t stick with him mentally.

    • Hopefully, today won’t stick to Romano, Alcantara or anyone else, if the Reds don’t win.

      Trying to blood so many youngsters and having a winning season all at once is a mighty gap to bridge.

  28. He can’t buy a strike. He’s skittish

  29. Get Adleman in there for a mop-up role. Don’t let the kid take much more of this.

  30. Can’t figure out why Jenkins doesn’t go out and talk to him…calm him down, break the rhythm.

  31. Thank God for the 9 spot in the order. Way to get out of it, kid.

  32. Ok, trying a positive spin: 2 walks, an error, stolen base, and 2 home runs. That inning could have been far worse.

    • Was just about to say the same thing. A “bad” inning could have easily been “disasterous”. No two ways to put it, Big Sal is not having a great debut, but he could be doing much much worse, at least as far as the score goes.

  33. Lorenzen pinch hitting, eh?

  34. Does Lorenzen remind anyone else of Ichabod Crane on steroids?

  35. Thom: “looks like Billy fouled a ball off the same place he did last time.” It wasn’t even the same leg.

    • yeah, front leg, then back knee, it looked like to me. I keep the radio crew and use the TV feed. Thom just wears me out otherwise.

  36. I wouldn’t want to be the one to eat Thame’s last Twinkie. That’s a serious ripped dude

  37. Adleman!!!!!!

  38. That was funny. Thames couldn’t tell whether he dropped his glasses or the ball.

  39. Suarez!!!!!!!!

  40. Suarez has to have a position to play, even once Senzel comes up. Play him at 2nd or SS, the Reds HAVE to keep his bat in the lineup.

  41. Adleman has been getting it done.

    • If you could combine Adleman’s pitching know-how with Romano’s stuff, you’d have a pretty good pitcher.

  42. I didn’t know he threw a circle change.

  43. Just tuned in and to see that another young guy struggling to throw strikes but he is a young guy so I can live with it.I would hope for two things the rest of the year in that our young guys step up and throw more strikes and that our hitters become a little less aggressive and take more pitches.Both are because of the youth we have but its hard sometimes to see our guy throw 25 or more pitches and we go down on 8 pitches eventhough we got a hit.

  44. Billy!!!!!!!! That’s why you play him

  45. That’s a different kind of Hamilrun. A run SAVED !!!!!!!!!!!!

  46. I see a big inning for the good guys coming up.Time to put this game away.

  47. Man, that looked scary at first.

  48. How was that not a DP? Make ’em pay, Eugenio !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. Stood to reason that the second time these guys saw Adleman, they’d start to square him up.

  50. Man, Thames has some lightning fast batspeed.

  51. Time for a new book on whatever they’ve been trying to do with Thames

  52. Scooter gave it a ride…..sorry

  53. Cy Wood

  54. Alcantara has not hit anyplace he’s been, in limited opportunities. But we put him second in the order? This must be Make Dusty Proud day at the ballpark.

  55. That was ball 4 to Billy

  56. Take that, shift.

  57. And that hit gets Votto off the ‘interstate’

  58. Apparently, if you can believe what Thom says, Duvall hasn’t hit the ball out of the infield in this series.

  59. Well, this was definitely a “growing pains” day.

    I’m about fed up with Alcantara. Surely there must be a more useful bat in AAA?

    • If he’s on the team, that’s one thing, but batting second? Maybe the batting order can be overrated, but it’d be nice to have some guys on base for 3-4-5.

  60. It all started wrong when BP decided to start Alcantara instead of Gennett at 2B. If Peraza rests, Gennett at 2B is the obvious choice. Better hitter than Alcantara and 2B is his natural position. As a result, 2 errors and 0-3 night. He’s now batting .083. And BP batted him 2nd. If Peraza is out of the lineup, Cozart should bat 2nd. We lost before the first pitch because BP can’t make the correct lineup. Romano, in his debut, should’ve gotten the best possible lineup to help him get his first W. BHam, Cozart, JV, Duvall, Gennett, Suarez, Schebler, Barnhart, Romano should’ve been the lineup today.

    • Well stated – Price is incapable of making adjustments more times than not – hasn’t learned one thing in the 3 years he’s ATTEMPTED to manage this team . I will pull for the REDS to win as always – I will not pull for the return of Price after this year. His act has grown old an I’ve seen enough of it .

    • Price’s bullpen management has been equal parts refreshing and maddening. It’s great to see that he doesn’t seem to care about the save statistic and that he’s willing to pitch his best pitchers in higher leverage situations.

      But I’m starting to wonder if he just lucked into those management decisions now, since it seems like nothing else he does is based on any sort of statistical analysis, especially his lineup construction. I have no delusions about the Reds being ready to compete this year, but I’ve said this about Price for a long time: Just because he doesn’t have the most talented players doesn’t mean he can’t put the talent he does have in the best position to succeed.

  61. Scooter should have been at second today but Alcantara didn’t cost us the game.Sure his play in the field was terrible but he did draw a walk which puts him one ahead of Peraza and one behind Billy for the year I believe.He also shouldn’t have batted second in the lineup but we lost because we only got 5 hits against Wily Peralta and well he has never been that good and his numbers have went south the last three years.The pen did their job again with 1 run over 6 innings.As for Price I am a little surprised at some of the moves he has made or not made this weekend.He has a much better roster to manage and he should be managing every game as it is his last because it could be.Granted sometimes it just doesn’t work out but you have too make adjustments with you lineup.By that I mean who plays and where they hit and you never ever let the game slip away with your best or better relievers watching.You could almost argue that until Cozart and Suarez stop hitting that they should bat 1 and 2 because it make sense to give them an extra at bat just like Joey. Its just my opinion but he could have done some things differently this series.I just struggle with doing the same things over and over and expecting different results such as speed at the top even if they don’t get on base.

  62. Sorry we only got 3 hits off of Peralta in 6 innings pitched.

  63. The Bucs just swept the Cubs at Wrigley.Could be interesting in the central this year

  64. A winnable game for the Reds but not enough offense. A good outing for Adleman. A tough week coming up.

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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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