Last night’s opener in Denver went like many games have for the Reds (18-34) in years past. Although they jumped out to an early 4-1 lead, they couldn’t hold onto the advantage, ultimately losing 5-4 to drop their all-time record in Coors Field to 40-60. They’ll look to get back in the win column against the Rockies (27-24) tonight at 9:10 p.m. ET.
Although Tyler Mahle has shown plenty of flashes in his rookie year, he’s battled inconsistency like most young pitchers do. Home runs continue to be his biggest problem. Mahle has allowed four of them over his last two starts and is tied with Homer Bailey for the most allowed in the National League with 13. Coors Field isn’t the ideal place to pitch when dealing with that particular issue, so Mahle will need to refine his fastball command tonight. That’s particularly true if his velocity continues to sit in the low-90s as it did in his last start. Against the Cubs on Sunday, he averaged 91.0 mph on his fastball, the first time his four-seamer has averaged below 92.1 mph in game this season. It’s certainly a trend worth watching tonight.
Mahle vs. Rockies
This will be Mahle’s first appearance against any Rockies hitter.
Mahle isn’t the only pitcher in the Battle of the Tylers who’s struggling. Tyler Anderson, a 2011 first-round pick from the University of Oregon, is in his third season as a major-leaguer and, like many Rockies pitchers before him, has struggled to find consistency despite making only three of this 10 starts in Coors Field. After a promising start to the season, Anderson’s last three outings have him going the wrong direction (6.75 ERA). He showed improvement in his strikeout ability through his first seven starts, maintaining a 26.4 K% far above his career marks. But regression has hit, and he’s fanned only 10 batter over his last 16 innings.
Scouting report: Anderson’s fastball is far from overpowering, sitting in the low 90s, averaging 91.6 mph for the season. He also mixes in a cutter and a changeup and added a sinker to his repertoire this season. The lefty has also thrown his curveball a bit more in 2018 after using it only three times in 2017. None of his pitches are particularly flashy, but he does get a fair amount of swings and misses with his changeup (18.3% swinging-strike rate) and his cutter (14.4%). Traditionally a ground-ball pitcher in his time in the minors, Anderson has been the opposite in 2018 with a career-high 38.1% fly-ball rate.
Anderson vs. Reds
- No Jesse Winker tonight. Scott Schebler is also sitting against a lefty, with Brandon Dixon getting his first career start in right field. The Reds are planning to start Billy Hamilton every day on their West Coast trip in the spacious outfields of Coors Field and Chase Field, so the rotation will only continue between Winker, Adam Duvall, and Schebler.
- Tucker Barnhart is getting a breather as well, with Tony Cruz making his sixth start since being recalled from Triple-A Louisville.
News, Notes, & Pre-Game Reading
— Enquirer (@Enquirer) May 26, 2018
Cincinnati #Reds Minor League Game Review: 5/25/18
— Doug Gray (@dougdirt24) May 26, 2018
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) May 26, 2018
Stat of the Day
Runs batted in is certainly a flawed stat, but it doesn’t make Eugenio Suarez’s total less impressive. After hitting a two-run home run last night, he now has 40 RBI, third in major-league baseball, in just 35 games and 150 plate appearances.
Bonus stat: Suarez’s home run yesterday was the longest of the season for a Reds player thus far at a projected distance of 429 feet.
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.