Winning is fun. The Reds (2-5) should try that more often, huh? After a rough first week of the season, the club finally broke through against the Pirates (6-2) last night to erase the taste of a particularly ugly loss on Friday. They’ll try to turn it into a winning streak today as they wrap up their four-game road series this afternoon at 1:35 p.m. ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Tyler Mahle 6.0 0.00 3.40 33.3% 9.5%
Jameson Taillon 5.1 3.38 0.73 45.0% 0.0%

No Reds pitcher has impressed more in the early going than Tyler Mahle. The 23-year-old dominated a strong Cubs lineup on Monday, throwing six frames of no-run, one-hit baseball and striking out a career-high seven batters. True to his calling card, Mahle painted the corners of the strike zone all day long, with his tailing fastball resulting in five called strike threes. His other two strikeouts were also on his four-seamer, getting Cubs hitters to swing through them up in the zone.

Mahle also used three pitches against the Cubs rather than the fastball-slider combination he mostly relied on in the big leagues last year. The changeup was his pitch of choice 12 times on Monday after throwing it only 26 times in four starts last year. While he had a little bit of troubling locating it, he did get a couple of swings and misses. If his secondary pitches keep coming along, Mahle is going to be special.

Mahle vs. Pirates


The Pirates are hoping Jameson Taillon, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft, can finally become their ace this season at age 26. After a solid rookie year in 2016 (3.38 ERA, 3.43 xFIP), his numbers took a bit of a hit last year (4.44 ERA, 3.89 xFIP). While his strikeout rate rose from 20.3 percent to 21.3 percent, his walk rate also increased from an elite 4.1 percent to 7.8 percent. He also dealt with a health scare in 2017, undergoing surgery for testicular cancer in May.

With last year behind him, Taillon put up a fantastic start in the Pirates home opener on Monday. The right-hander tossed 5 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs on four hits. He also tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and didn’t walk anybody. If he can maintain his improved strikeout rate and get his walk rate back to elite levels rather than simply above average, this kid is going to give the Reds fits for years to come.

Taillon vs. Reds

Lineups

Reds

Pirates

RF Jesse Winker (161 wRC+) 2B Josh Harrison (127 wRC+)
3B Eugenio Suarez (184 wRC+) RF Gregory Polanco (186 wRC+)
1B Joey Votto (54 wRC+) CF Starling Marte (130 wRC+)
2B Scooter Gennett (73 wRC+) 1B Josh Bell (142 wRC+)
LF Adam Duvall (37 wRC+) LF Corey Dickerson (129 wRC+)
C Tucker Barnhart (176 wRC) C Francisco Cervelli (60 wRC+)
SS Jose Peraza (15 wRC+) 3B Colin Moran (143 wRC+)
P Tyler Mahle (3.40 xFIP) SS Jordy Mercer (131 wRC+)
CF Billy Hamilton (40 wRC+) P Jameson Taillon (0.73 xFIP)
  • Another day without Scott Schebler in the lineup. Considering it was reported that he had no feeling in some of his fingers yesterday, it’s really puzzling why he’s not on the disabled list. He’s been out for six games now; the minimum DL stay is 10 days. The Reds are just wasting a roster spot.
  • Gregory Polanco is back in the lineup today for the Pirates after being scratched from Saturday’s game due to foot soreness.

News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading

Stat of the Day

This year, only five pitchers have generated more swings and misses in a game than Luis Castillo (19) did on March 31 against the Nationals. (Side note: Max Scherzer, with 23 whiffs against the Reds on Opening Day, is the league leader.)

Here’s a look at the Reds’ single-game whiff leaders the last decade:

  • 2017: Robert Stephenson (24)
  • 2016: Dan Straily (21)
  • 2015: Raisel Iglesias (22)
  • 2014: Homer Bailey (21)
  • 2013: Homer Bailey (23)
  • 2012: Mat Latos (24)
  • 2011: Johnny Cueto (21)
  • 2010: Johnny Cueto (20)
  • 2009: Homer Bailey (19)
  • 2008: Johnny Cueto (24)

Final Thoughts

Today’s pitching matchup should be a fun one to watch as two talented young arms square off against each other. The Reds’ offense finally got some momentum going last night that will hopefully carry over into today’s game. They’re facing a tough pitcher, but if they can get to the Pirates’ bullpen early again, you have to like their chances of doing damage. After the games on Thursday and Friday, coming away with a series split against Pittsburgh would almost feel like a win.

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! 66 Comments

  1. I stand in favor of 3-run homers by the Reds and no amount of discussion will change my mind.

  2. The new rules only allow the Reds to back-date placing a guy on the disabled list for 3 days. As a result, any move now would require Schebler to miss 7 more days. Given the odd nature of the injury, they are kind of stuck in prosperity-is-just-around-the-corner mode on Schebler. They keep thinking he will only need one more day off, but . . .

    At this point, he is going to need some AAA at-bats anyway, so they might as well call up Brandon Dixon. Maybe they could play Yovani Gallardo in the outfield. He’s got 12 HR in 426 ABs, and offense really spikes when he’s taken the field this year.

    • That’s exactly the point. If a guy is not back in three or four days, and he STILL didn’t even have feeling in parts of the hand, why not DL him and bring somebody else up for a week. Are the Reds too cheap to pay the major league per diem to somebody else for a week or so?

      OK, more seriously, are they concerned about disrupting a player’s start to the minor league season? Kivlehan would be a bench option, and couldn’t Brandon Dixon cover a corner outfield spot if needed? Maybe he has some pop in his bat.

      • I suspect that at least part of the issue is that neither of the guys you mentioned are on the 40 man roster. By my reckoning, the only 40 man position player currently at AAA is Alex Blandino. Aristides Aquino at AA would appear to be the next man up in terms of 40 man players listed as OF.

        In looking over the entire 40 man roster, I don’t see there is anyway they open a spot without DFAing a pitcher or sending somebody to the 60 day DL; and we know they are always reluctant to do either of those.

        • Good point, Ohio Jim. …. Gee, that Gallardo guy is taking up a roster spot. When are Shackleford and/or Hernandez coming back?

          • Also add in that with Stuart Turner outrighted off the 40 man, getting the “3rd catcher” to MLB in case of an injury would require a 4o man move. So, if they’ve got a potential “easy” one marked in pencil, they may want to hold it for that contingency.

  3. Good to see the Reds come back last night and steal one. I want to believe this could be the beginning of a turnaround; but, I remain skeptical. At least Jesse Winker is still batting leadoff despite the fact that BHam is has returned to the line up. Let’s hope this continues.

    On the less positive side, I’m not sure when I’ve seen such a discombobulated defensive inning as the Reds 2nd last night. There was only 1 physical error charged; but, some wrong choices were made, players were in each other’s way and the like all through the inning. I guess that after many years of truly outstanding defense we re seeing how much of the rest of the league lives. But that doesn’t mean I have to like or think we should accept it as the norm.

    Hopefully Mahle has a big day and the Reds get the split.

  4. Any day we wake up (a significant positive experience in and of itself for the Old Cossack!) and the lineup headed by…

    #1 Jesse Winker .333/.538/.333 w/ 27 PA, 161 wRC+ & .421 wOBA
    #2 Eugenio Suarez .308/.419/.654 w/ 31 PA, 184 wRC+ & .456 wOBA

    …it’s a good day to be a Cincinnati Reds baseball fan.

    Joey will come around to join the party and Senzel (.444/.556/.444 in 9 PA) will get an invitation eventually. That should make a formidable top 4 no matter how you line them up.

    • Fun to ponder, yes. (And this old dog agrees with your first sentence as well.)

      And while Suarez got the bomb last night, it’s worth pointing out the extended at-bat that Winker had before Suarez. Winker ended up hitting a wicked line drive that was caught, but the inning to that point — with a lot of those high-stress pitches to Winker — had to wear on the reliever.

  5. A few things from the Ask the GM segment on Reds’ pregame today. One question was whether Hunter Greene could be fast-tracked through the minors. Williams said they’d like to get him to 100+ innings this year and then go from there. No shortcut around that building block. And then we see how he fares regarding progressing through the system

    The other question was about giving Suarez 7 years, when other teams are shying away from long-term contracts. Williams said that even in the contract’s final season, Suarez will be 32, so the Reds are locking up his key years and through the Reds “window of success.” The alternative might have been having to move him in a few years to get whatever value they could before he leaves for free agency if he wasn’t signed longer-term.

  6. Mahle spends 13 pitches to walk Josh Harrison. Need a DP here ….

  7. Not impressed with neither JW’s outfield play nor his arm.

  8. Neither = either

  9. Its funny how Mahle’s 94 mph can overpower them more then Castillo or Romano’s 97 at times. Castillo gets nearly all of his Ks from his change-up….not many swing-n-misses on the fastball.

  10. Whichever reporter is with the Reds broadcast said Lorenzen is still weeks away. Maybe he should be on the 60-day DL as well. It never seems to stop …

  11. Good Lord, a 2-1 pitch to Mercer is called ball 3 instead of strike 2, Mahle gives in and Mercer raps a double, and now the pitcher hits a bad pitch for an RBI single. Sheesh.

  12. 51 pitches through 2 innings. Looking to be a short outing for Mahle

  13. 2 outs and nobody on and they score. It feels like the Reds give up more twice the 2 out rbi hits then what they hit?

  14. Maybe the Reds should hit the pitcher spot 7th, then Peraza, then Hamilton.

  15. If Billy goes thats a basehit? What’s he waiting for? He’s on base 3x a week so he’s need to have his running shoes on.

  16. Nice catch by Peraza ….

  17. Gee, imagine that. The Pirates hit a Reds batter. With a fastball. Looks like it got him on the right hand. Ouch.

    • And there goes Suarez. Pennington in the game defensively

    • I have no idea how that pitch didn’t break a bone and result in a trip to the DL for Suarez. It still might with Suarez pulled for precautionary xrays.

    • Reds have hit Pirate batters even more than they’ve hit Reds batters. It’s too many on both counts. Hopefully nothing broken in Suarez’ hand.

    • I have no issue with a pitcher going inside to a hitter…if he can control the pitch. If he can’t control the pitch and is just going inside with total disregard for the hitter’s health, then I have a big issue. Scherzer can pitch inside effective and did so against the Reds. When a hitter is trying to bail away from the pitch and still gets hit, that’s a formula for retaliation.

      Hurdle is completely fine with his pitchers pitching inside without control and if a batter gets plunked, oh well. Taillon leads off the 5th inning and should be plunked visciously, with intent.

      • Taillon was stepping in the bucket on every pitch. He sure looked like he was expecting something coming his way.

    • Hope for the best for Suarez. Maybe need to bring up Senzel if DL for Suarez

      • Naw, it will be heavy doses of Pennington and maybe Gosselin.

        • Bring up Blandino then?

          • I dunno. They have him playing third at Louisville. Does it make sense to bring him up to sit behind Penn-Goss? Or let him keep getting 4 or 5 plate appearance a day with the Bats.

            Now, bring him up to play pretty regularly? Hmmm. And again, let’s hope it’s a moot point and Suarez is back in a day or two.

          • So of course, it’s not a moot point. Suarez has a fractured thumb. Let the replacement speculation continue !

    • Given their luck with guys who sign long-term contracts, I expect major complications that cause Suarez to spend the next 7 years in a wheelchair.

  18. Joey still looking for his 1st XBH.

    • It’s interesting how often he goes after the first pitch now. I thought it would be a once-in-a-while thing just to let the pitcher know a first-pitch take isn’t automatic, but it’s becoming a major part of his approach.

      • The thing I see him doing is trying to take inside pitches to left field.

  19. And again, a 1-2 pitch should be strike 3, but it’s called ball 2. Mahle misses on ball 3, and then a 2-run homer. Ouch.

  20. Third time through the Pirates order for Mahle. And it showed.

    Most pitchers struggle at this point. Today, that high pitch count really felt like it kicked in for Mahle.

  21. Well, Mahle will learn from this. Going to be ups and downs

  22. 5-0 seems like a good time to use garrett…not

  23. Wait, NOW we see Garrett? NOW is the time for Gallardo to mop up, and maybe, if the stars align, he rediscovers something, but geez. I don’t understand.

  24. Garrett gets mop up duty. Gallardo – put him in only in the closest games.

    • Only us arm-chair managers can see this…Price can not

      • It’s funny, because Price has to be feeling some pressure to finally win some games. He thinks Gallardo is the better option? Unless he has been told see what Gallardo can do, since they’re going to need a roster spot soon when Hernandez comes back.

  25. Mahle not so good today but maybe just maybe if we scored a run here or there early in the game our young guys may not feel like they have to shut the other team out.He has the only hit after 5 innings today and now Amir is in to do what hold them down 5-0.Where in the heck was he the other night down only two runs.Surely he is not the guy we need to waste in a 5 run game.Put somebody else in that has been struggling and maybe just maybe they work some things out while there is no pressure on them.We play the Cubs next with all those lefties that Price said he was saving him for last week.

  26. Talion with a one hitter on 64 pitches after 6 innings.Is he this good or are we just this bad?

    • Both.

      Taillon has not given up a run yet now over 2 starts. And one walk.

      Reds’ bats are cold.

      Welsh referencing the need for Hamilton to be “reckless” on the basepaths and Brantley at the game’s start, when I was in the car, stating the team has to get at least one or two guys going to have a chance to win.

      Feels like the broadcasters sense this thing could turn into one lousy month real quick.

      Lot of “meh” offensive guys in this lineup when Votto is cold, Suarez may miss time and Schebler and his hot Spring isn’t playing.

      • He was a #2 overall pick so he clearly was seen as a guy with talent. Injuries held him back. I think they said he missed 2014 and 2015 with TJ surgery then a sports hernia.

  27. Mahle and Garrett are pitching and logging innings at the mlb level….that’s the important thing. Both are good young pitchers who need the work.

    Suarez fracture thumb.

  28. Can Duvall play 3b for 2 months?

  29. I’m tired of the Pirates hitting our guys. Maybe they need goons in baseball? Get it a pileup on the mound and break a few thumbs ourselves. This season is over. Need to use it to actually try out different youngsters that can actually be part of the future.

    • They hit Phillips in June when he was having his best star ever. Wasn’t the same for the rest of the year

    • Reds have hit them more than they’ve hit us. Just seems to hurt more when our players get hit, BP being a prime example, and now Suarez.

  30. ERA of 54.00

  31. Looks like Louisville pulled Blandino from game

    • Now let’s hope he actually plays every day instead of Pennington/Gosselin

  32. Only Red’s hit from Mahle. With two and a third scoreless innings from Garrett, isn’t it time he joins the starting staff.

  33. Oh no!!! Sal , Castillo and Reed are much better then Garrett. Two of Sal’s 3 strikeouts could have been walks and if Castillo is so good why has he been traded 3 times? Price gave a couple of the starting pitchers their jobs from the very beginning and now he is seeing the error of his way. Bring RobSteve up because he will help the bullpen and send Cody Reed down to AAA since he wants to be a starter.

    • You’re absolutely wrong Grant.

      Price does not see the error of his way.

  34. I’ve been a Reds fan since the 60s and I’ve never been this bummed. Feel terrible about Suarez. And not just because of his importance to the Reds but because of how he seemed to be on the verge of becoming a star and how happy he is to be a Red. Now that’s all delayed until ?

    And I do lay the blame on Hurdle. I think he must have emphasized pitching him inside, knowing that if Suarez got hurt, well, that’s just baseball. The bastard.

    And the lousy thing is, that Hurdle is right. It is baseball. The prick.

    I can take the losses. I thought the Pirate pitcher was simply dominant today, and that happens. But a lot of the joy went out of the game for me today.

    And that sucks.

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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2018 Reds, Game Thread

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