The Cincinnati Reds (0-1) will try to get their first win of 2018 at 2:10 PM today against the Washington Nationals (1-0). The Reds fell 2-0 on opening day despite six innings of one run baseball from Homer Bailey, and a four hit performance from Scooter Gennett. The Reds will turn to their top starter from 2017, Luis Castillo this afternoon.

Starting Pitchers

The following stats are 2018 ZiPS projections, with the exception of FBv (fastball velocity):

Luis Castillo only made 15 starts in 2017 for the Reds, but he lead the starters in fWAR (1.7). Castillo looks set to become the next big Reds starter, but there might be some growing pains as teams start seeing him multiple times. Castillo made two starts against the Nationals a year ago, and had a 4.09 ERA (11.0 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 9 BB, 11 K).

It’s hard to believe that this is already the 9th season of Stephen Strasburg’s career. While Strasburg has battled injuries and at times controversy during his career, he is 8th among all MLB pitchers in fWAR (24.7) since the start of 2012. The Reds have been able to see some success off Strasburg, as he has a 4.40 ERA in 8 career starts vs Cincinnati.

Starting Lineups

Nationals Reds
1. Adam Eaton (LF)
2. Anthony Rendon (3B)
3. Bryce Harper (RF)
4. Matt Adams (1B)
5. Howie Kendrick (2B)
6. Trea Turner (SS)
7. Brian Goodwin (CF)
8. Matt Wieters (C)
9. Stephen Strasburg (P)
1. Jesse Winker (RF)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Scott Schebler (CF)
6. Adam Duvall (LF)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Luis Castillo (P)

Scooter Gennett went 4 for 4 yesterday. He also has 3 career home runs in just 11 at-bats against Strasburg.

NL Central Standings

Milwaukee Brewers 2-0 –
Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 0.5 GB
Chicago Cubs 1-1 1.0 GB
Cincinnati Reds 0-1 1.5 GB
St. Louis Cardinals 0-1 1.5 GB

The Cubs lost a 17 inning game yesterday in Miami. The Pirates won a crazy game in 13 innings after a Tigers walk-off was overturned. Ryan Braun hit a 3-run home run in the 9th in San Diego to give the Brewers an 8-6 win, and improve to 2-0.

News and notes

Conclusion 

The Reds certainly don’t want to start the season 0-2. The schedule makers didn’t do the Reds any favors by having them start against the Nationals while the Cubs are playing the Marlins, the Brewers are playing the Padres, and the Pirates are playing the Tigers. Anyway, Luis Castillo is the man to get the job done today. Go Reds!

116 Responses

  1. Steve Mancuso

    My thoughts on the Gallardo signing (cross posted from Twitter):

    Hard to overstate how awful Gallardo has been the past two seasons. Horrible this spring. Cut by Brewers. I’m sure this is cheap $$, but might cost them Stuart Turner, who they kept on major league roster all last year.

    So many young pitchers to give opportunity. Loss of nerve.

    Of 105 pitchers with 130+ innings last year, Gallardo had 6th worst ERA (5.72), 6th worst FIP (5.53), 9th worst xFIP, 6th worst SIERA (5.27). 2nd worst SIERA in 2016.

    Have to hope he’s better in bullpen. Problem is control, so hard to see that. Head-scratcher.

    Reminder (possibly timely) that the #Reds gave 69 of 162 starts last year to pitchers who, not only are no longer with the Reds, are no longer in the major leagues. Just setting opportunities on fire.

    This is me trying to find the silver lining in Gallardo signing: Gallardo fills dead-end role of long relief in bullpen, sparing a younger, more promising pitcher of that waste of time. There, that’s my best effort.

    So much for credible theory that Reds front office is reading @redlegnation. When @ChrisCotillo reported in December at the winter meetings that #Reds were interested in Gallardo, I wrote:

    “Here’s hoping Cotillo’s source is Tommy Flanagan or Gallardo’s agent. If the Reds sign Yovani Gallardo to a major league contract, I’m gonna pound my head on the desk until my forehead bleeds. There is NOTHING in Gallardo’s stats from the past two seasons that gives a shred of hope. He’s Jason Marquis only worse. Maybe the Reds think Gallardo’s pursuit of the record for giving up the most home runs in a year would bring fans to GABP … yeah, that’s the ticket.”

    • Tom Mitsoff

      It really doesn’t make much sense. Why would you sign a guy like Gallardo with the intent of filling a long relief role? You already have a similar player in Quackenbush who, like Gallardo, is coming off a very bad stretch and signed on the cheap. Quackenbush could fill the long relief role once everyone comes off the DL. Someone in the front office or scouting staff must really love Gallardo.

      • Steve Mancuso

        Another good point. The person in the front office who likes Gallardo would be someone that doesn’t look at meaningful statistics. Maybe the signing is just temporary.

      • Peter the Great

        Quackenbush who has looked awful just gave up a grand slam – so he’s definitely on a short leash (and may actually be gone tomorrow). So when will these Reds finally realize that the MLB requires Major League pitchers? Their yearly adventure into the land of GIGO – Garbage In – Garbage Out – never fails to amaze. And the Reds Organization still wants to charge premium $$$ for tickets? Why don’t they just stop and realize why other teams just don’t want these washed-up pitchers?

    • RedInIND

      Thanks for the excellent analysis. This was my first stop after hearing about the signing.

    • Jack

      If Arroyo kept pitching last year he was on pace to set the record for most homers. Maybe they want Gallardo to do it.

  2. Eric the Red

    The Reds DFAd Stuart Turner to make room for Gallardo on the 40 man?!?

    • Steve Mancuso

      Looks that way. After doing all the stuff necessary to keep him on the major league active roster all year. To expose him to claim so Gallardo could pitch meaningless bullpen innings. It’s like the front office is of two minds. Only one of which is focused on the future.

      • Eric the Red

        How could they do that, while keeping both Pennington and Gosselin? What could Turner possibly have done to go from spending a spot on him all last year to dumping him now? Did he gain 100 pounds? Lose both arms?

        Small note: I keep having to put in my email address and user name every time, even when making multiple comments in a row without leaving the site.

      • Old-school

        Do we know for sure it’s meaningless bullpen innings? Maybe the bullpen is burning. And we just don’t know it yet.

        I hope this doesn’t mean more significant injury news is imminent. Lorenzen? Hernandez?

      • Bill

        I assumed they planned to use him as a starter to replace Disco or Finnegan

    • Bill

      That was puzzling. Why keep him on the 25 man roster all last year then risk losing him for a 1 year contract for a washed up starter.

      • Aaron Bradley

        He will never make it thru waivers… KC lost Perez for a month with an ACL tear.

  3. GreatRedLegsFan

    Hard to believe, but looks lke our old friend WJ is still pulling some strings behind doors.

    • Peter the Great

      Let’s hope not – hasn’t WJ done enough damage to this Reds Organization in his time?

  4. cfd3000

    It’s hard to follow the logic here. Gallardo looks bad. Why fight to keep Turner in Cincinnati the whole year in 2017, get to the point where he can drop to AAA as insurance at catcher, then expose him just to make room for Gallardo? Me no unnerstand.

    On the plus side, I like Winker starting and leading off with Hamilton on the bench when Duvall starts against a tough right handed. Baby steps. Now Jesse needs to hit to give Price reasons to do that more often.

  5. Scooter Rolen

    One interesting note on Gallardo.

    As a reliever last season, YG pitched 16 innings with a 1.69 ERA. However, it is a very small sample size and was aided by a BAbip about a 100pts lower (.200) than his games starting (.301). Also his SO/W ratio was a little worse as a reliever – both around 1.5.

    Maybe he can be closer to that 1.69 reliever than a 5+ ERA starter? But still a stretch once you see the underlying stats.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Great point. “Stretch” is being kind.

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Stupid…Idiotic…Asinine…

    This is the type of signing we dreaded after the fiasco of last season. The Reds avoided such a signing all off season and all ST, why now? I don’t care if Lorenzen, Hernandez, Shackleford, Finnegan and Disco are all out for the entire season, there is absolutely no justification for signing Gallardo…NONE!

    • Shchi Cossack

      Oh, and I DO care if any of the pitchers listed are out longer than expected, but still…

  7. Streamer88

    We’ve been stung so many times by these signings.

    Yet, yet, what if he goes 2.00 ERA in relief and we unload him for a prospect in July?

    Not concerned about him stealing innings from Quack and co.

  8. Shchi Cossack

    Here’s hoping that Winker, Suarez and Votto can join the Scooter party today and get this offense rolling. Tough matchups for both Bailey and Castillo to gegin the season, but if you want to play with the big boys, then buckle up. The matchups won’t all be this tough, but the Reds have an opportunity to make a statement as a team. The Nats are LOADED to make a deep playoff run.

    • Steve Mancuso

      Weird thing about yesterday. I sort of felt like when Homer got past the first 3 hitters, it was easier. That’s not how I felt about Nats last year. I get that Murphy is out. But Zimmerman hits into so many DPs and had a lousy second half and everyone after him seemed much easier than the top three. Who knows, maybe today the bottom of the order will be the best.

      • Shchi Cossack

        No question, the top 3 in the lineup drive the Nats bus, much like we are hoping the top 3 in the Reds lineup drive the Reds bus. That is a proven, elite trio leading the Nats lineup. The difference is the lack of those black holes at the bottom of the lineup.

  9. Shchi Cossack

    And iof the Reds have a catcher go down with a minor injury to the 10-day DL, then they now have to promote another catcher to the 40-man roster to cover temporarily on the 25-man roster than go through the DFA process again to remove that catcher from the 40-man roster.

    Please let this be WJ in one of his characteristic, bonehead moves rather than DW. If it’s actually a DW move, then we’ve got WJ all over again.

    • Steve Mancuso

      It’s almost as discouraging to believe that WJ still has enough influence for a move like this. Either way, demoralizing.

      • Shchi Cossack

        Yep, there’s really no good way to spin this.

    • Old-school

      Maybe they cut a deal.
      DW said give me Winker.
      WJ said give me my veteran pitcher on his last leg..
      SOLD.

  10. Old-school

    Big sophomore season for Castillo. It’s easy to assume progress is linear and Castillo grows ….but it’s not that simple. I’m hoping he steps up and becomes King Felix . Here’s hoping Luis becomes that Ace we all want him to be.

  11. JB WV

    A little warmer today which bodes well for the offense; hard to hit well when it’s cold. Gallardo? As Cossack said maybe unknown injuries. Winker needs to set the plate today, Joey just missed a couple yesterday. GO REDS!!!!!

  12. Ethan L

    Can I refer to the Nationals as the Harpers? It bothers my friend from DC when I do it 🙂

  13. WVRedlegs

    Stupid is as stupid does. The Reds front office.
    All this while they let the Cards Josh Lucas go to the A’s for a minor price. Lucas would have been solid in Reds pen.
    Double stupidity from the Reds front office, on just Day #2 of the season. The view out of the windshield is already looking like the view in the rear mirror, 2017 all over again.

  14. Ethan L

    There’s the game. Seriously, Castillo? Get your act together!

  15. Preach

    Wait: Scooter didn’t get a hit?? He did move them over on a bad swing. I guess.

    • Eric the Red

      Well, according to THOM! he was up against a “perfect pitch”, so you can’t really blame him.

  16. WVRedlegs

    Votto swinging at first pitches does not allow for any BB’s. Good single.
    Schebler still showing he can not hit in GABP. Ugh.

    • Bill

      I’m not sure a one hit in his first five at bats proves he cannot hit. If it does we can also prove that Winker and Suarez cannot hit

  17. Indy Red Man

    It put some of the blame of the 3 run HR on Tucker. What was he calling for? Low and inside fastball to a lefty? Not smart! One about Scherzer yesterday….he was inside then outside corner….close enough to get them to swing but not challenging people in the heart of the plate. Hopefully this game isn’t over, but if Strasburg gets on a roll then we’re done.

    • Jack

      Totally agree about Barnhart. His glove was about middle in . So if Castillo misses it will be dead center. And it was.

  18. Preach

    Scooter just doesn’t have much of an arm. Even that routine play was closer than need be.

  19. Preach

    Thar off speed pitch assortment to Duvall were a thing if beauty. Like a box of chocolates . It’s really easy to see why this guy can be so tough.

    • Broseph

      His strike zone discipline is awful. I’d say on par or worse than Hamilton. Hamilton can at least recognize hittable pitches.

  20. Ethan L

    Peraza had poor plate discipline in the AB

  21. Brandon Taylor

    Peraza is swinging at everything. In that at bat, he swung at one head high and the dirt lol.

  22. Chaotross

    Well, that was a really promising second inning by Castillo. The year’s going to be up and down, and it’s hard to remember that while watching our hitters as well. Still a little less than 161 games left.

  23. Preach

    That’s the issue not having Billy out there

  24. CI3J

    Billy would have caught that Eaton GRD.

    When does Taylor Trammell arrive????

  25. WVRedlegs

    Sakes alive, Schebler sucks as a CF. Billy would have had that.

    • Old-school

      I don’t know about that. Hamilton plays a very shallow CF and that ball was stung.

  26. BigRedMike

    What was Duvall doing on that throw?

  27. vegastypo

    Nice job by Duvall to give the runner second base. This team was terrible defensively in the spring. I was hoping that was an aberration. Awful.

    • Broseph

      Agreed it wasn’t the best decision in that instance but he’s probably thinking they’re down by 3 and have nothing to lose on taking a shot at the plate

  28. Brandon Taylor

    It’s amazing how fast some of the Reds weaknesses have shown up.

    Peraza and Billy at the plate.
    4 man outfield rotation when you really only have 1 CF. it’s only taken 11 innings for these things to show up.

    Yes, Billy would have caught that but Billy can’t hit either and when you have him and Peraza both in the lineup, yuck.

    I realize nobody hit yesterday but Peraza and Billy were probably the worst in just how they looked at the plate.

    • Broseph

      In this team’s defense (especially Peraza and Hamilton) they’re not going up against washed up pitching. If the struggles are there come May, then the struggles are real.

      I think Peraza should get a longer leash than Hamilton to see what he can do after settling in. Hamilton and Suarez got that chance, why shouldn’t Peraza?

  29. TyGuy85

    When is Senzel coming up to the Reds??

  30. WVRedlegs

    “Bringing Winning Baseball Back To Cincinnati” brought to you by Bob Castellini and Dick Williams.
    This is what happens when you stand pat over the winter on a last place roster. The calamity is just starting. What a weak offense. Terrible.

    • BigRedMike

      I concur. The only line up difference from last year is adding Winker and losing a 5 Win SS. Not really much improvement.

      I guess signing Gallardo is a big improvement to the team 🙂

    • vegastypo

      It was obvious we’re not doing any winning this year, but this failure to actually ‘build’ during the rebuild pretty much rules out any hopes for 2019 too. Hate to be so pessimistic, but geez, how about some sign of having a workable plan?

  31. Old-school

    Tough schedule to start.
    Scherzer and Strasburg are NL Cy young candidates

    Now looking like an opening homestand steamroll.
    Castillo not sharp and zero runs …..for the season…and counting.

    The real test is the 7 game road trip to Pittsburgh and Philly…4-3 and the April debacle is avoided .

    2-5 and the season is over with 10 more against the cards and Brewers.

    April could be historically awful.

  32. BigRedMike

    Bomb by Turner. Castillo looks pedestrian

    • earmbrister

      I’m busy working, so excuse me if this has been mentioned …

      Is Castillo missing a few mph off of his fastball?

      • Old-school

        No….grooving a couple down Broadway against a great offense

      • BigRedMike

        Seems to be mainly location. Nats have a good lineup as well.

      • Broseph

        Nah. Adams teed off on a 97mph fast ball

      • earmbrister

        Thanks guys. Stuck watching the whiney little birds vs the Metropolitans.

        Consolation prize: the Cards have not looked good.

  33. Broseph

    Ooi. Castillo getting a lesson today. Great stuff doesn’t mean you’re a great pitcher. Location, location, location

  34. Jack

    Wouldn’t it be nice to throw one up and in to Eaton? How comfortable do we want him in the box.

    • Indy Red Man

      I was calling for Dexter Fowler 2-3 years ago and he resigned for chump change with the Cubs. I was calling for Eaton 2 years ago when it was obvious that the White Sox were rebuilding and dealing all their vets. Its not like Billy was a decent hitter when he came to the Reds and suddenly got worse. Its not a new problem.

  35. Indy Red Man

    I only occasionally watched the Reds during the Dunn/Griffey era. I guess it was just hopeless. Milton and guys like Brandon Claussen and Jimmy Haynes were their answer to pitching. These last few years are just as bad and I keep hanging out daily. Its like taking a pocket knife to a gunfight when you play teams like the Nats and Cubs. Then you see teams like Philly, Atlanta, or the White Sox and you see blossoming young talent and what they’re trying to do. Then all the injuries…Disco, Lorenzen, and Finnegan. Depressing as a Reds fan but spring is coming and other things to do.

    • CI3J

      I’m not sure how you can look at the Reds and not see the same “blossoming” of young talent. Winker and Senzel are very likely to be above average MLB players, and Castillo/Romano/Mahle/Garrett have a pretty good chance to be, at worst, average MLB pitchers.

      The problem is the young talent on this team was mismanaged and valuable playing time was given to washed up, useless veterans rather than letting the kids learn on the job. The Reds are at the point now where they should have been last year, which is just LET THE KIDS PLAY from day one. How can you call these last 3 miserable seasons “sorting” when the team refuses to “sort”?

      • james garrett

        Your last paragraph says it all.At least a year behind.

    • Aaron Bradley

      I actually attended a game where Milton pitched brilliantly. The biggest glaring weakness on that team as I recall was that we had David Weathers closing games. They were in the playoff hunt in 2006 and Weathers gave up a big home run to Pujols that really hurt and I was shaking my head asking how this could happen. I actually liked Weathers but they were asking too much of him. The bullpen was atrocious. The rotation was bad too, and Milton being a flyball pitcher was a bad match for the Reds but he had his moments, just wanted to mention that.

  36. james garrett

    The Nats are good and we are not.They have great pitching and offense and catch the ball.I am good with what we have as long as we let the young guys play which we failed miserably at last year.If we stay the course although the Gallardo signing makes me gag then I am still good.Better times are ahead so stay tuned.

  37. Darrin

    7 total hits not by Scooter in 14 innings…2 total extra base hits….startin slow.

  38. Ethan L

    According to RE24, would it have been more advantageous to go for the DP instead of the lead guy?

    • Ethan L

      With runner on third with 2 outs, the RE is .413. With 1 and 2 with 1 out (the plat that happened), it’s .908. Thus, Peraza made the wrong choice

    • BigRedMike

      It was an interesting decision, seemed to surprise Suarez

    • vegastypo

      I don’t think they would have gotten a DP there, the batter runs pretty well, no?

  39. BigRedMike

    Not over yet. Couple big AB’s upcoming for Gennett and Schebler

  40. vegastypo

    Another no-quality plate appearance from Peraza. Why would any pitcher EVER throw him a strike ???

    • james garrett

      They won’t until he changes his approach.He gets himself out so why not let him.

  41. Brandon Taylor

    I’ve already seen enough swings from Peraza on pitches out of the zone for the month of April.

    that’s frustrating to watch. He isn’t giving big league at bats.

    • Jeff Reed

      Will Peraza ever learn to work the count? I doubt it. He swings at everything. A walk will also get you on-base.

  42. Bill

    How do you blame Barnhart for the call on Adam’s homer, don’t you see Price making the pitch call.

  43. VaRedsFan

    Hideous check swing called on Suarez for the strikeout

  44. james garrett

    Had the chances in a big big way and well with 2,3 and 4 up you just got to do something.Bet That doesn’t happen again this year.Bases loaded with no outs and come up empty.

  45. Indy Red Man

    Adam Eaton from Springfield OH…..5-5 with 4 runs and 3 rbis. White Sox were dumping payroll….could’ve been grabbed by anyone after the 2016 season but its not like we’ve been looking for a CF since Junior got fat or anything.

    • Aaron Bradley

      Doesn’t fit the Reds desire for speed at the CF position. I mean he only steals like 15 bases. The Reds are obsessed about speed. They don’t value guys that hit for average and get on base (except for Votto). The Peraza trade shows what they value. That was a 3 team trade where they could have asked for what they wanted and they targeted Peraza because he is fast even though he has zero plate discipline. This is a philosophy that is really hurting this team. They play in a hitters park but don’t want to go get pure hitters. Instead they want to run and play small ball. But these guys are such bad hitters they can’t even play small ball.

      • Aaron Bradley

        Actually they did get Scebler in that deal too… BUt I remember Peraza was the headliner and higher rated prospect. But Schebler is probably going to be the better ball player, he is now that is for sure.

  46. HoosierRed

    This is dreadful. Reds bullpen is filled with guys that are AAAA pitchers

      • Jeff Reed

        What? I thought the Red’s bullpen was strengthened this off-season. Our closer, Iglesias, is on paternity leave but there was nothing for him to do in todays game.

  47. vegastypo

    Aw yeah, Bryan Price is in charge. Changing pitchers with two outs in the top of the ninth when we’re down by 8 runs. Unless Quack Quack is hurt, this is idiotic.

  48. Indy Red Man

    This season is going to be a real Quackenbush! Its very likely the Reds get atleast 2-3 runs in the bottom of the 9th. Thats how they pulled off 14th in total runs last year! It doesn’t mean they can’t get beat 2-0 on a regular basis by good pitchers. We have some young talent but this bullpen is just a dumpster fire. They don’t want to waste Garrett and Reed in the pen for 60 innings a year for they won’t sign anyone decent either?

    • Aaron Bradley

      You called it. They get to feast regularly on marginal relievers because they get blown out of the water early.

  49. Aaron Bradley

    So if they had waited till after the game they could have signed Gallardo and cut Quackenbush instead of Turner.

  50. HoosierRed

    Brice, Stephens and Quackenbush have no business being on the team.

  51. Brandon

    Is it 2017 or 2018 ? Down 13-7, I can’t tell which year it is. Seems like the kind of score the Reds were in a whole lot last year.

    • Indy Red Man

      I don’t know either? We’re either being Ohlendorf’d or Quackenbush’d? Who do they get next year? Peter Pumpernickel? “Pump” as he’s known had a cup of coffee with the Padres in 2009 but has been pitching in the Korean league since then as well as stops in Bolivia and Kazakhstan:)