Tonight the Reds open a two game series versus the New York Yankees at GABP in a battle of first place teams.  At least, that’s what the standings table tells me.  Take a moment to savor that just a game or two short of 20% through the 2017 season, the Reds are in first place which is probably the last place most of us projected them to be this far along.

Both teams come into this game waving their brooms following a weekend sweep. The Yankees are 20-9 overall; 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Reds are 17-14 overall; 7-3 in their last 10.

The teams rank  number 2 and 3 in MLB in runs scored and runs per game; so, get ready for some offense. Well, maybe. The Yankees also rank in the top 5 of MLB in fewest runs allowed per game. Do I need to point out the Reds are well down in the pack (18th) in this category?

However tonight’s game should set up well for the Reds since the Yankees were involved in a record setting 18 inning game Sunday night that burned 11 bullpen innings among 6 pitchers. Erstwhile Reds closer Aroldis Chapman coughed up a 3 run Yankee lead in the 9th inning to st the stage for the marathon.

Starting Pitchers

Reds

Rookie Davis (RH), a former Yankee property who came to the Reds in the Aroldis Chapman trade, gets the start for the Reds. Davis has been less than impressive in his debut MLB season. He walks almost as many batters (13.2%) as he strikes  out (14.5%), has a WHIP >2,  and is averaging just 3.2 innings per start. Fortunately for the Reds bullpen, the Reds got a complete game effort on Sunday and have Wednesday off.

Yankees

Righthander Masahiro Tanaka will start for the Yankees. The 28 year old Tanaka is in his fourth season with the Yankees following a 7 season run with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League. He has been the Yankees opening day starter for three consecutive seasons. In his three most recent starts, Tanaka has averaged over 7 innings per start; thus, he would seem to be just what the doctor ordered given the Yankees 18 inning game Sunday.

PITCHER xFIP HR/9 BB/9 K/9
Rookie Davis 6.01 1.84 6.14 6.75
Masahiro Tanaka 4.15 1.24 2.48 6.44

Bullpens

The Reds come in fully rested off of Scott Feldman’s complete game effort on Sunday.  An off day on  Wednesday followed by a west coast night game on Thursday gives Bryan Price even more leeway in using his pen the next two nights versus the Yankees.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi used 6 pitchers to cover 11 bullpen innings in Sunday’s 18 inning game versus the Cubs. He will be hoping his starter, Tanaka, lives up to his stats and goes at least 7 innings.  Just because I know you are wondering like I was, Aroldis Chapman threw 36 pitches Sunday in his blown save appearance. That was his first work since Friday when he he had a quick 14 pitch inning.  If he is available tonight, at least he might look merely human to Reds batters.

Lineups

         Yankees

1. Brett Gardner (LF)
2. Aaron Hicks (RF)
3. Matt Holliday (1B)
4. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
5. Gary Sanchez (C)
6. Didi Gregorius (SS)
7. Chase Headley (3B)
8. Ronald Torreyes (2B)
9. Masahiro Tanaka (P)

          Reds

1. Billy Hamilton (CF)
2. Zack Cozart (SS)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Adam Duvall (LF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Scott Schebler (RF)
7. Jose Peraza (2B)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Rookie Davis (P)

All the Reds hitters looked hot versus the Giants pitching. Let’s hope the trend continues. The Reds have two hitters with an OPS of > 1.000 and neither of them is Joey Votto. The two guys over 1.000 are Zack Cozart (1.033) and Eugenio Suarez (1.026).  Votto is plugging along at a pedestrian, for him, .997 OPS rate. Adam Duvall at .924 rounds out the quartet of Reds hitters currently above the .900 OPS level.

Here comes the Judge….  Yankees rookie Aaron Judge ranks right up with Eric Thames among the hottest new hitters in MLB. He is tied for the MLB lead in HRs with 13. His slash line to date is  .317/.410/.772 (1.183OPS). His ISO is .455; you read correctly. His ISO is .455. Former Cub Starlin Castro is having a good season to date for the Yankees with a .941 current OPS. Long time Reds nemesis ex-Cardinal Matt Holliday  is OPSing to the tune of .918 primarily as a DH; however, he has played some 1B.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, Rookie Davis versus Masahiro Tanaka looks like a match up strongly favoring the Yankees. Below the surface, the game sets up well for the Reds. The Yankees played 18 innings yesterday and burned 11 bullpen innings in the process.   After Sunday’s game the Yankees had to travel to Cincinnati, arriving in the wee hours of Monday and losing an hour off the clock in the process. The homestanding rested Reds need to take advantage of the situation early and not let the Yankees wake up and get into this one.

Data and related material from Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, Wikipedia and MLB

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Twitter: @jn_walkerjr

Join the conversation! 102 Comments

  1. I can see our pen becoming unrested the next couple of nights although we will score against their starters also,May come down to who has the best pen.Won’t go as you think it will which is why baseball is what it is. Go Reds.

    • With the day off Wednesday and being on west coast time for Thursday’s game, the Reds should have right at a full 48 hours between the end of the game on Tuesday and the beginning of Thursday’s game. The only thing that Price really has go consider in bullpen management tonight is not to go all in but end up losing tonight and then being short armed on Tuesday.

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing Aaron Judge. I haven’t watched any of his ABs, yet, other than highlights showing moonshoot after moonshot.

  3. Oh, not a concern.. guess Judge is out today.

    • They played 18 innings or whatever it was last night! No Judge & no Castro who’s hitting .365! We need to take advantage tonite and jump on them!

  4. What in the world was Votto doing? That ball was 20 feet away from him?

    • That tells me that Votto didn’t know where the 2B was playing, and that’s not good.

      • He couldn’t have got that ball with a 8 foot pool net in his hand though? Crazy? Lets see how many runs it cost them?

  5. This could get ugly fast.

  6. I don’t care if it helps Davis, this strike zone is ridiculous.

  7. Davis – let the batting practice commence – dude gets ripped every game . Was lucky last time he pitched. Stays in trouble constantly when he pitches. Is not ready to pitch at this level and needs to be one of the first ones replaced when people start coming off injuries. Pitches behind way too much.

    • Head case

    • He’s not even close to being ready & may never be ready. You just can’t throw 93-94 with only a straight arrow fastball anymore? Reed learned that last year. These guys need to come up with 2 other secondary pitches they can throw on any count or they get beat up! They might beat the Giants or give up 2-3 runs in 5-6 innings occasionally but any good team is going to destroy them!

  8. Rookie just seems to have zero control over his fastball. Keeps drifting center and high on him.

  9. It is what it is so get ready for a long night.

  10. If the Reds care about winning and competing at all this year then they need to replace Rookie with Lorenzen. Peralta is nasty and he started in 2015 as well. Whatever happened to wanting your best arms to pitch the most innings?

  11. As Jim said he is averaging 3.2 inning per start.I wouldn’t expect much more then that because he really isn’t ready right now.

  12. Billy!!! He looks so confident up there:)

  13. Davis needs to be on the bus to Louisville tomorrow – pitiful

  14. I like letting the young guys start but sometimes you have make a call.This is his 6th start and that may not be enough but maybe we give another guy 6 starts and see how he does.

    • At some point, the Reds are running out of bodies, Unless you’re thinking of Stephenson, or maybe Reed or Garrett from AAA, the pickings are pretty slim. Romano is on the DL, Lisoberto Bonilla, maybe?

      • The only other starters you could throw in there would be Mella and Stephens, but neither of them are indicating that they’d do much better.

      • @zachENQ just said on the Reds radio beat reporters’ segment that they are out of bodies at AAA. Relievers have made several starts over the last couple of weeks and the org went out and signed a guy to be an AAA starter….

  15. Two Words: Angel Hernandez

  16. If we ever get some stable starting pitching this team will win some games.

  17. o-2 twice on elsbury and walked him twice…gets ahead, then nibbles

  18. Rookie needs to go tomorrow & what are they going to do with Garrett’s spot? I guess its Stephenson by default but hes horrible most of the time. Its too bad because the rest of the team is pretty strong!

  19. Tonight for the first time since I switched to PlayStation Vue, I am experiencing some issues with the Reds video. The stream dropped into buffer mode (“reloading’) multiple times in the bottom of the 1st inning. If that lasts more than a couple of seconds, I just recycle the feed (back out and then go back in). eEach time I did that, the picture was back in under a couple of seconds. Then in the 2nd inning there was intermittent “sticking” of the video for a fraction of a second but it never cut out to buffering. I noticed that all along there were no issues at all with the commercials. Makes me wonder if the issue is with the Fox’s feed out of GABP. Anybody watching on cable or a different streaming source notice anything?

  20. Rookie has nothing to get people out with on a consistent basis.

  21. Pick another guy and see what he can do for a few starts.Just give them a shot.

  22. This one is over if they don’t take Davis out? They do have a guy at AA named Austin Ross. He’s 28 so I’m sure he’s just filler but he did have a 3.89 era (AAA) in the Pacific Coast league last year and thats pretty good for that league. Rookie got crushed at Lville last year by comparison.

  23. I think our current record is making people less patient. If we were at 8 wins right now would we still be wanting Rookie to be sent down despite all our current starter injuries? I’m not sure.

    • Rookie gave up 38 hits in 24 innings last year at Lville (7.50 era). Does that sound like a guy that is ready for the majors?

    • Yes because we need to find out if Reed and Stephenson can start. No way Davis should have been in the rotation in the first place.

      • Rookie pitching doesn’t preclude Stephenson or Reed from getting starts at the MLB level. This is what I’m talking about when I say the current record is making people (myself included) less patient. If I had my druthers we’d have Bronson still at AAA and younger guys in his slot, not Rookie’s. Then later in the year if innings limits are a concern bring Bronson up and let him finish out the year Of course all of this is only an issue because of injuries. If we had Disco and company up at the MLB level pitching we’d be seeing no Bronson or Feldman (I hope).

        • Of course his starting precludes others from starting. There are only so many slots to go around. Davis is near the bottom of my list of guys who I want to see if they can pan out to be starters.

    • yes i would

      i am not clear how he made the team out of camp

  24. Cody Reed lousy for Lville tonite. 2.2, 3earned on 4 hits, 2 walks, hr. I’m calling Reed a bust…sorry! He should have some form of decent offspeed by now and he doesn’t! His fastball is straight and he can’t throw his slider for strikes either?

    • Reed’s only issue is control that I’ve seen. He has major league stuff with his pitches.

      • No….gives up way too many HRs to have premium stuff! His fb is decent but straight as an arrow and thats the only pitch he can throw for strikes.

  25. That was a quick inning

  26. Wow. I would not want Duvall running into me.

  27. Bases loaded and,Peraza up. Pop up on 1st pitch. Good God.

  28. Looks like Rookie might be done.

  29. As stated and well by CITIZEN there are only so many slots or starts to go around.When Homer and crew arrive they will get some starts.So will we know enough about the guys that aren’t being given a shot.Now is the time to roll the dice and throw anybody and everybody out there just to see.

    • I’m aware that slots are limited.. that’s why I said Bronson and Feldman are the culprits here, not Rookie.

  30. Laughable AB by Peraza. He just has no patience

    • Over a season, it’s difficult to label 1 at bat as just a bad at bat….versus a continuation of a larger approach problem. Certainly it appears Peraza is an overly aggressive hitter who wants to hurry and get his at bats over with…there is a large contingent of people who feel the worst outcome of an bat is a strikeout. Perhaps Peraza grew up being told ….whatever you do….don’t strikeout. The worst outcome of an at bat is slowing your bat down…..and doing exactly what Peraza did….hitting a weak popup on a pitchers pitch that never gave him or his team a chance in that situation. I’m not sure that’s fixable at 23 in the big leagues.

  31. To you think anybody is talking to him?If they are then maybe he sets for awhile.

  32. What a waste of an opportunity.

  33. Looks like it is one of those nights.

  34. Peraza is going to have a hard time being successful if he plans on swinging at every pitch thrown his way.

  35. Bases loaded no outs , don’t score – WASH, RJNSE , REPEAT …..

  36. Thats the old Reds offense right there…score 8 more when the game is over at 6-1 but then choke with men on base in close games. Peraza needs to try to work for a pitch and not hack at everything they throw up there!

  37. I agree with you also MVPOHIO.Rookie is not the bad guy at all.

  38. I know Peraza failed when he popped up on the 1st pitch….but the pitch was center cut down the heart of the plate. He doesn’t need to be watching it go by. He just didn’t execute on a fat pitch.

  39. Just curious how everyone else feels.. how many starts by each young pitcher would you guys prefer to see at the MLB level this year to give them a good look? 10? 15? 20?

    • Atleast 6-7 starts is a fair look. Rookie barely made it 5 innings last time and every other start was worse. I don’t know how much more they need to see?

  40. They need to chase Tanaka out of this game and put pressure on the Yankee Bullpen

  41. Cmon Reds….getting men on base right and left!!!

  42. I don’t know if anyone else is watching the Yankee’s feed but it’s a lot of fun listening to Paul O’Niell talk about Marge Schott and some of the other stuff going on back in his Reds years.

    • Thanks for the tip. I have to switch over to the NYY feed.

      I get in from my niece’s soccer game, to hear Thom give hot takes on training for half marathons and marathons, showing he clearly never has trained for one.

      Disgusted, I turn on the At Bat app on my phone, only to hear Marty and Cowboy in the midst of a detailed food discussion…dressings, sauces, blah, blah, blah.

      If a player mailed it in on the field the way both broadcasts are doing tonight, that player would never hear the end of it from either Brennaman.

      May 8th or not, the Reds are a first-place team. Too bad the jaded broadcasters can’t enjoy it. I am.

  43. This ump is horrific….that is ridiculous?

  44. We really need to take advantage of these run scoring opportunities.

  45. Worst ump all year….he’s a disgrace!

  46. Wow…. This ump….

  47. Angel Hernandez = #1 Reason to switch to a non human method of calling balls and strikes

  48. It isn’t the difference in this game but the ump is not doing us any favors.

  49. Why exactly did they replace Blake Wood with Storen?

  50. Was there any thought of bringing in Iglesias or Lorenzon since Storen is struggling?

  51. Two hit batters in one inning… Wow…

  52. BRUTAL appearance by Storen / awful !

  53. Nice throw by Billy. But still, that inning was a horror show.

  54. Doesn’t matter much but that was bad kind of like Wood the other night.Hope neither do that again.

  55. Nine singles a piece but they have walked 5 times and been hit 3 times.Well we just don’t walk much.Big difference in his game for sure.

  56. Pretty much says it all on the double play.No patience at all tonight at the plate.The Yanks have already seen 40 more pitches in 7 innings then we have seen,

  57. Yankees played all night last night but the Reds played tired instead. Oh well….only down 3 and Chapman isnt pitching. Need tomorrow though to feel like we’re still hot!

  58. We pretty much beat ourselves tonight.Pitching was bad but based loaded and no outs and twice with two on and no outs and we don’t score.

  59. So now its left to the Yankee Bullpen. Wonder if the Reds can put some runs together in the last two innings.

  60. Aston can ride the same bus as Davis tomorrow back to Louisville – try some other arms please — keep running the same gas cans out there and they get MULTIPLE opportunities and fail time and time again

  61. It’s batting practice out there.

  62. Mahle at AA tonight – 6 innings pitched , 5 hits , 2 runs , 1 BB, 7 Ks- up 6-2 and heading for another win

  63. If the bullpen tonight is just trying to make Rookie feel better about himself, they’re doing a heckuva job.

  64. Thom completely fails to grasp a simple argument, yet again.

    Thinks it is “GARBAGE” that people think wins are a bad stat to evaluate pitcher performance.

    The reason he says trash like this is because he thinks the argument is “wins mean nothing.” No, that’s never been the argument. The argument has ALWAYS been that there’s no way to tell, in a vacuum, if a 5-10 pitcher is better or worse than a 10-5 pitcher because wins depend 100% on runs being scored. You can’t win a game if your team scores 0.

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