Nothing would erase Friday night’s Milton-esque performance like two wins. The Reds (15-30) will play a doubleheader against the Cubs (23-18) at Great American Ball Park today to make up for a rainout on April 3. Game one begins at 1:10 p.m. ET, while first pitch for game two is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, though rain looks like it may again be a problem throughout the day.
Starting Pitchers: Game 1
Although he doesn’t have flashy numbers, Kyle Hendricks has been the Cubs’ steadiest pitcher so far in 2018. Per usual, the right-hander’s control is among the best in the game, ranking 10th in walk rate among 94 qualified pitchers. He’s also among the best at inducing weak contact, coming it at 17th in soft-contact percentage (22.7%). Among 119 pitchers with 100 or more batted balls allowed, he also ranks 15th in average exit velocity (86.0 mph). That’s all a pretty good combo when paired with an above-average groundball rate (49.3%). Hendricks has seen a dip in his strikeout rate, however, and his .234 BABIP seems bound to come up. He’s also had some home run problems at times, allowing nine so far on the season.
Hendricks vs. Reds
Luis Castillo’s sophomore season hasn’t been quite as spectacular as his rookie year, but his last three starts have him headed in the right direction. After making an arm angle adjustment, the right-hander has allowed just six earned runs, struck out 22, and walked only two over his last 17 2/3 innings. His fastball velocity still isn’t where it was last year, but his command has improved over his last handful of outings, as he’s doing a much better job of painting corners and changing the eye level of hitters. Still, he’s left a few balls out over the plate, allowing home runs in each of his last five starts. Getting through the opposing lineup a third Castillo’s biggest obstacle, as he’s lasted just 6, 5 2/3, and 6 innings his last three outings. We’ll see if he can get deeper into today’s game.
Castillo vs. Cubs
Lineups: Game 1
CF Albert Almora Jr. (114 wRC+)
LF Jesse Winker (91 wRC+)
- Jesse Winker is back in the leadoff spot, while Joey Votto moves back to his regular No. 3 spot.
Starting Pitchers: Game 2
The Cubs gave up a whole lot to acquire Jose Quintana before the trade deadline in 2017. He mostly lived up to the high price, posting a 3.74 ERA and a career-high strikeout rate for the season (26.2%). But he’s been a major disappointment so far in 2018. His strikeout rate has plummeted while his walks have skyrocketed, leading to an unsightly ERA and peripherals that don’t tell a much better story. On the opposite spectrum from Hendricks, the southpaw has allowed a tremendous amount of hard contact, with his 90.8 average exit velocity ranking 113th of 119 pitchers with 100 or more batted balls. He’s coming off a terrible start against the Braves in which he allowed six runs and three homers in 4 2/3 innings.
Quintana vs. Reds
Sal Romano’s run of solid starts came to an end on Monday as he lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs and eight hits against the San Francisco Giants. Over his previous two outings, he’d given up just two runs in 11 1/3 innings. Despite the solid outings, there are still red flags with the young pitcher. His strikeout rate is the fifth-lowest among pitchers with 40 or more innings, and his swinging-strike rate is dead last. Establishing a third pitch continues to be a struggle for Romano, who is throwing his fastball 65.3% of the time. Only Tyler Mahle (68.1%) throws his fastball more among starting pitchers. The difference is Mahle mixes in two other pitches, while Romano mostly relies on his slider as a secondary pitch.
Romano vs. Cubs
Lineups: Game 2
You can view game two’s lineups here.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
Kevin Shackelford will be the 26th man on the roster for today’s doubleheader.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 19, 2018
Sean Casey was no Joey Votto, but he was pretty dang good.
#OTD in #Reds history, 1999: Sean Casey goes 4-for-4 with a pair of three-run homers and Jeffrey Hammonds mashes three homers as the Reds smack 28 hits in a 24-12 win at Colorado. Casey and Hammonds each scored five runs, tying the club record. pic.twitter.com/8KLwp3TC4a
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 19, 2018
Minor league notes courtesy of Doug Gray:
Cincinnati #Reds Minor League Game Review: 5/18/18
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 19, 2018
The recently released Cliff Pennington already has a landing spot:
— MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors) May 19, 2018
Stat of the Day
Castillo has the highest whiff rate on the changeup among all starting pitcher in baseball who have thrown the pitch 100 or more times. Here’s the leaderboard, where Hendricks also appears:
|Lance McCullers Jr.||23.4%|
Nothing better than sitting inside on a dreary Saturday and watching not one but two baseball games. Go 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.