The first two days of the Jim Riggleman era haven’t looked much different for the Reds (3-17), who are now one loss away from their worst start in franchise history. At the very least, the team showed some fight yesterday, battling back from a three-run deficit to tie the game in the seventh inning and mounting a rally in the ninth that came up just short. But the only victory to be had was of the moral variety.
The Reds will look to get a real victory against the Cardinals (12-8) this afternoon at 2:15 p.m. ET.
Luis Castillo’s 2018 got off to a bumpy start, but he’s coming off his best outing of the year by far against the Brewers on Monday. While his overall line (6.2 IP, 4 ER) doesn’t look overly impressive, don’t let it fool you. Castillo was dominant until running out of steam in the seventh inning. Through six frames, the right-hander allowed no runs on two hits and two walks while striking out eight. His fastball command was as sharp as it’s been all year, and his changeup was particularly on point, getting a whiff on nine of the 13 swings against it. All four runs against him came in the seventh inning, and two of them scored after he left the game as his bullpen couldn’t get him out of the jam. So, yes, Castillo’s ERA isn’t pretty, but he’s starting to look like the pitcher we saw last year.
Castillo vs. Cardinals
The Cardinals quietly signed Miles “The Lizard King” Mikolas in the offseason after the right-hander had spent three seasons playing in Japan. After two unspectacular starts to begin his return to the major leagues, the 29-year-old had his way with the Reds last Saturday, allowing only one run (a home run by Tucker Barnhart), four hits, and two walks in a 6-1 win. Control was the calling card for Mikolas in Japan, and that has continued so far with the Cardinals. His only two walks of the season came in last week’s game against Cincinnati.
Mikolas’ fastball averages 94.3 mph and can touch 98. He also mixes in a sinker, and his primary off-speed pitches are the curveball and slider. Thus far, his breaking pitches have given hitters fits. The curveball has been hit for a groundball 76.9 percent of the time, while the slider boasts an 81.8 GB% and a swinging-strike rate of 19.0 percent. Mikolas has a changeup, as well, though he hasn’t thrown it much through three starts.
Mikolas vs. Reds
|SS Jose Peraza (66 wRC+)||3B Matt Carpenter (88 wRC+)|
|LF Jesse Winker (127 wRC+)||C Yadier Molina (142 wRC+)|
|1B Joey Votto (72 wRC+)||1B Jose Martinez (168 wRC+)|
|2B Scooter Gennett (88 wRC+)||RF Dexter Fowler (70 wRC+)|
|RF Scott Schebler (146 wRC+)||SS Paul DeJong (131 wRC+)|
|C Devin Mesoraco (84 wRC+)||LF Tyler O’Neill (-100 wRC+)|
|3B Alex Blandino (-4 wRC+)||2B Kolten Wong (28 wRC+)|
|P Luis Castillo (3.63 xFIP)||CF Harrison Bader (133 wRC+)|
|CF Billy Hamilton (55 wRC+)||P Miles Mikolas (3.19 xFIP)|
- The good news: Devin Mesoraco is back in the lineup for the first time since being hit by a pitch and exiting the game on Wednesday. Alex Blandino gets his third start in a row.
- The bad news: Jose Peraza is leading off for some reason. I have absolutely no idea why.
- The slumping Adam Duvall is getting a day off.
- Marcell Ozuna is getting the day off for St. Louis. Tyler O’Neill, the Cardinals’ No. 4 prospect, is making his first big-league start in left field.
- Tommy Pham is again out of the Cardinals’ lineup as he battles a groin injury.
- The Cards also placed Adam Wainwright on the 10-day disabled list before the game due to right elbow inflammation.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
An update on Eugenio Suarez:
Eugenio Suarez hit off a tee and also took soft toss yesterday. He's doing it again today and tomorrow. He said he didn't feel any pain
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 22, 2018
the tarp is on the field here in St. Louis, but word is we should be able to play with little-to-no heavy rain on the way. or at least that's the idea right now
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 22, 2018
A good read on Joey Votto from a St. Louis sportswriter:
— Benjamin Hochman (@hochman) April 22, 2018
More Votto stuff:
Joey Votto is hitting .243/.341/.257 through 19 G.
Based on @statcast's expected outcomes, which measures the quality of a batters contact (exit velocity, launch angle), Votto's expected BA (xBA) & expected SLG (xSLG) are .332 and .505.
Votto is the least of our worries. #Reds
— OnBaseMachine (@RedsFan_Brandon) April 22, 2018
Stat of the Day
The last two Stat of the Days have been bummers, so how about a more positive one today?
Jesse Winker currently has a 20.6 BB%. If that number somehow holds up for an entire season, he would become the third rookie since 1900 to eclipse a 20 percent walk rate (minimum of 200 plate appearances) and the first since the Reds’ Bernie Carbo in 1970.
If Winker plays his maximum potential of 159 games this season, he would be on pace to walk 121 times. That would trail only Aaron Judge (127 last season) and Bill Joyce (123 in 1890 for the Brooklyn Ward’s Wonders — what a name) for the all-time rookie record.
The Cardinals have won 10 straight games against the Reds dating back to last year. That is gross. Let’s change that today, Reds.
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.