Yesterday was a long, tumultuous day for baseball, but the Reds (16-31) ultimately came out with a 1-1 record despite being outscored 14-5 by the Cubs (24-19). Cincinnati will hope to come away with a series split when their fourth game in three days starts at 1:10 p.m. ET.
Yu Darvish was one of the few big-ticket free agent signings during the offseason, and his Cubs career has gotten off to a rocky start. The right-hander has been uncharacteristically wild in a way he hasn’t been since early in his big-league career and has given up nearly two home runs per nine innings. He’s also had some trouble staying on the field, as he missed almost two weeks due to the flu. His first start back on Tuesday was a positive one, as he gave up one run on three hits in four innings against the Braves before leaving the game with a leg cramp.
Darvish vs. Reds
It’s been an up-and-down season for Tyler Mahle. He’s been dominant at times and struggled mightily in others; in other words, he’s looked like a rookie. His last two starts fall under the latter category. On Tuesday, the right-hander had the shortest outing of his MLB career, getting knocked around for four runs and seven hits in 3 1/3 innings. His fastball command hasn’t been quite as sharp recently, which is largely leading to his struggles. Mahle may have some confidence heading into today’s game, however, as he shut this Cubs team out for seven innings back on April 3.
Mahle vs. Cubs
- The scuffling Jose Peraza and Jesse Winker are out of the lineup today. Alex Blandino is making his second start at shortstop of the season and batting leadoff for the first time in his big-league career.
- Kris Bryant is getting a day off for the Cubs.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
The @Reds Anthony DeSclafani was thrilled with his rehab start @BlueWahoosBBall tonight saying it is first time in 3 seasons he’s felt effects of pitching 6 innings in a good way. Will make next start in Louisville, then probably up to Cincy.#pnjsports pic.twitter.com/Y7LvEOVUqd
— Bill Vilona (@billvilonaPNJ) May 20, 2018
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Anthony DeSclafani felt strong in his rehab start with Pensacola on Saturday. https://t.co/qnnNUDpNn6
— PNJ Sports (@pnj_sports) May 20, 2018
Who is to thank for the improvement we're seeing in the Reds? https://t.co/VExijl6Aix
— Cincinnati Magazine (@CincinnatiMag) May 20, 2018
Cincinnati #Reds Minor League Game Review – 5/19/18
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 20, 2018
Last night I felt terrible, so I needed something to make me feel better. I turned on Major League. I asked every #Reds player, ‘what’s your favorite baseball movie.’ Billy Hamilton got it right. https://t.co/6SsUqAvheC
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) May 20, 2018
Stat of the Day
Tucker Barnhart has quietly been one of the best offensive catchers in baseball this season. His 118 wRC+ ranks sixth among all catchers with 100+ plate appearances, and his walk rate (13.4%) is tied for second. While he’s no slugger, he also rarely make soft contact. His Soft% is a minuscule 9.5%, third-best among all catchers and 10th-best in baseball.
The Reds have been a bit inconsistent of late, which is what you’d expect from such a young team. Typically, as the starting pitching goes, so goes the team. After an extended string of solid starting pitching, the rotation has struggled in the latest turn around. Getting a strong start from Mahle today would be huge, as Jim Riggleman had to use nine pitchers in yesterday’s doubleheader.
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.