All baseball fans love Opening Day. Maybe you share some of these sentiments:

You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen. Joe DiMaggio

Opening Day. All you have to do is say the words and you feel the shutters thrown wide, the room air out, the light pour in. In baseball, no other day is so pure with possibility. No scores yet, no losses, no blame or disappointment. No hangover, at least until the game’s over.journalist Mary Schmich

An Opener is not like any other game. There’s that little extra excitement, a faster beating of the heart. … You know that when you win the first one, you can’t lose ’em all.Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn

and …

In Cincinnati, Opening Day is an unofficial local holiday, and has been for most of the past 150 years. This year, there is hope that the home team can be competitive or even more than that for the first time since a Wild-Card game appearance in 2013. Offense again appears to be the team’s strong point — perhaps the best in the National League. But defense and pitching are still question marks. Hope for pitching improvement will toe the rubber this season in the form of three veteran starters acquired through trades – Sonny Gray, Alex Wood and Tanner Roark.

Members of Redleg Nation have spent the last six months watching dramatic changes in organizational leadership and the team’s roster, hoping that a significant on-field improvement can happen. We still have much to learn about new Manager David Bell’s strategic tendencies, and that will also be very interesting to watch. This observer is particularly interested in how Bell will manage the fact that he does not have a player on the roster with an established track record as a defensive centerfielder. Will Michael Lorenzen, reportedly an outstanding defensive outfielder in college baseball, become a regular late-inning defensive replacement in center? Perhaps after pitching in a relief role later in the game?

The 150th anniversary season of professional baseball in the Queen City should be gripping in numerous ways, and it all begins today. Join us here now and all season long to share your thoughts on your favorite team with like-minded Reds fanatics.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Jameson Taillon (2018) 191 3.20 3.58 22.8% 5.9%
Luis Castillo (2018) 169.2 4.30 3.69 23.3% 6.9%
Luis Castillo (Photo: Doug Gray)

Luis Castillo (Photo: Doug Gray)

At first glance of 2018 stats, Taillon would seem to have the advantage on paper. But check the xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) numbers. In his recent series of articles on measuring pitcher performance, our Steve Mancuso pointed out that the xFIP measure normalizes home runs across luck and stadiums. xFIP estimates how many home runs a pitcher should give up assuming normal luck. “It’s based on the notion that a pitcher only controls how many fly balls he surrenders, and that home runs are a fairly constant percentage of all fly balls (HR/FB) over time,” Mancuso wrote.

Pitching about half of the time in Great American Ball Park certainly doesn’t help Castillo’s or any other pitcher’s ERA. xFIP indicates that today’s starting pitching matchup shapes up as fairly even.

Starting Lineups

Pirates Reds
2B Adam Frazier LF Jesse Winker
RF Melky Cabrera 1B Joey Votto
LF Corey Dickerson RF Yasiel Puig
1B Josh Bell 3B Eugenio Suarez
C Francisco Cervelli CF Scott Schebler
3B Jung Ho Kang 2B Jose Peraza
CF J.B. Shuck C Tucker Barnhart
SS Erik Gonzalez SS Jose Iglesias
P Jameson Taillon P Luis Castillo

Both teams open the season with key starters on the injured list. Outfielder Gregory Polanco is in rehab from a shoulder injury suffered late last season, and subsequent surgery. He’s expected back perhaps in May. Of course, the Reds are without the potent bat of Scooter Gennett until sometime in May or June due to a groin muscle strain.

Additional insights into the statistical history of the players in today’s Opening Day game is available all season long at BaseballSavant.com.

News and Notes

These moves finalized today’s 25-man roster:

Looks like the weather will be to the liking of Yasiel Puig and 40-plus thousand of his new admirers:

One of the more memorable Opening Day moments in recent history:

Breaking News

Shortly after the game thread went up the Cincinnati Reds announced that they had designated left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan for assignment and claimed right-handed pitcher Jose Lopez from the Giants and optioned him to Triple-A Louisville. Lopez, if you can remember all of the way back to February, was designated for assignment by the Reds who needed a spot opened on the 40-man roster. Less than two months later he’s now ahead of Finnegan on the totem pole.

169 Responses

  1. matthew hendley

    Incidentally, the reds have claimed Jose Lopez back from the Giants, (who claimed him from us late last year) and DFA Brandon Finnegan

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Thanks for that update! Very interesting!

  2. lwblogger2

    Holy crap! I’m going! Not sure where I’m sitting yet but a friend has an extra ticket and asked me! First Opening Day for me in about 8-9 years.

    • lost11found

      Enjoy!!! HF!

      Will have to join from distance!

  3. Sliotar

    Regular season RLN Game Threads are back…..Laissez les bon temps rouler.

    Reds were 5-14 last season vs. the Pirates. Sure feels like that has to improve this year for the old home team to get where we all hope they can get.

    Go Redlegs.

  4. BigRedMachine

    Happy Opening Day all! Here’s hoping the excitement of the winter and spring carries over to the boys of summer.

  5. Klugo

    Jared Hughes has quickly become one of my absolute favorite Reds! Hope to see a lot more of him.

  6. David

    “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game; it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh…people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.” – Terrance Mann (aka James Earl Jones)

    People will come today, like they always did.
    It’s baseball.

  7. Preach

    Wire to wire, baby.

    Hope springs eternal!

    • lost11found

      Wake up in the dugout! Bat Incoming!

      Good top of the first by LC!

  8. WVRedlegs

    One pitch one out to first batter. Second batter 4 pitchrs one K. That’s the way to get started.

  9. Preach

    Good start by Castillo. Now let’s bat around!

  10. WVRedlegs

    Castillo is on his game in the first. 2 K’s. Nice job.

  11. Shchi Cossack

    Winker stings the ball on sinking line drive out to left field. Votto smashes a line drive to the wall in right center for a double. This is Cincinnati Reds baseball, 2019 version.

  12. WVRedlegs

    Joey Votto with a 2 baser on first AB after no xbh in spring training. Just as I had hoped. Go JV.

  13. Shchi Cossack

    Luis Castillo, age 26, 1.101 years service time.
    Jameson Taillon, age 27, 2.110 years service time.

    These guys are going to be fun to watch.

    • VaRedsFan

      Reds cameraman still in spring training on that hit

  14. Shchi Cossack

    Scooter who?! Kidding, just kidding.

    Iglesias stings the ball off the LF wall on another line drive. Reds up 1-0.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Reds getting good swings on Taillon so far.

  15. Shchi Cossack

    The Reds are barreling up the ball off Taillon with ease. The Pirates are struggling to even find the ball with the bat.

    • Joey

      Great interview with Deitrich. Never heard him talk before, think the Reds got a great player and person right there.

  16. Roger Garrett

    Let me get this out of the way on day one.Four batters saw 8 pitches and our pitcher swings and makes an out on the first pitch.We scored anyway and boy do I feel better and promise never to bring up pitch count again.Go Reds.

  17. Seat101

    My 16-year-old son just told me there’s nothing he enjoys more than her hearing Rob Rob Manfred telling us what young people want.

    By the way my prediction is that Jose Perez a hits the first homerun for the Reds today

    • steve stevens

      you called it sir, well done!

    • ToBeDetermined

      But, didn’t you know Rob Manfred is a “Thought Leader”

      to Seat’s son – I appreciate a more experienced person giving me perspective, I can learn a lot. But, I don’t want them to tell me how to think or what I want. Don’t let it get you too cynical. Enjoy Life !

  18. Shchi Cossack

    The sun in LF & CF looks wicked today.

  19. Shchi Cossack

    Votto with an anti-tootblan!!!

    • lost11found

      We need an acronym for bone-headed defensive decisions…

    • ToBeDetermined

      An anti-tootblan ?

      My mind is doing mental gymnastics to figure out what that is.
      Is that good ?

  20. VaRedsFan

    Votto’s blazing speed, gets out of the pickle… Billy who?

  21. VaRedsFan

    My “not too early assessment” on Votto…Yanking the ball with authority…I like it.

    • Shchi Cossack

      After two PA by Votto, the Old Cossack’s assessment of spring training…

      Votto had a plan in place heading into spring training and coming out of spring training. He spent spring training honing his strike zone coverage with the intent to attack the ball early in the count, if the pitcher tries to get ahead in the count early, once the games have meaning.

      • Amarillo

        I think I heard Votto was purposefully taking 2 strikes to practice hitting with 2 strikes.

  22. Preach

    I got to the 4th inning before I said “shut up, Thom.” Things are looking up.

  23. vegastypo

    Ump gave him the called third strike, maybe a makeup call there? Pitch looked outside to me (as did the only earlier in the inning)

  24. Preach

    You can win the Tundra, BUT….you have to drive it down from there

  25. Indy Red Man

    Baseball is back baby!!! Luis is pitching well but we need some breathing room?

  26. Preach

    Pirates in mid season defensive form, I see.

  27. Shchi Cossack

    Castillo’s stuff is dominating today, but his control is not. Some of his pitches are just missing badly.

  28. Shchi Cossack

    OMGosh!!!! Just shut up Thom…please…

    • Preach

      You made it an inning longer than I did. ?

  29. ToBeDetermined

    Vega

    I never thought of that. And Chris know so much more about baseball then so many of us and he has to listen to Thom.
    I sure hope they drive a fairly large truck full of money up to Chris’s home for the abuse he has to endure.

    • Shchi Cossack

      We’re about to find out…

  30. Centerfield

    73 pitches for Luis through 5. What do you think, one more inning then bullpen?

  31. Matt WI

    Any way to put time-stamps back on for the Game Threads? Helps know when comments are applicable! I miss them, but really miss them here. Just jumping into listening to the game after a meeting and hungry for all of the comments about what’s going on to catch up!

  32. Indy Red Man

    LC is only hitting 95 on the heater, but keeping out of the middle of the plate! Thats the key! Still though…I miss the kid with the 98-100 mph missiles he had on that night in Arizona in his 1st year. The more he can bring to the plate = more margin for error.

  33. Shchi Cossack

    Jordan Zimmerman working on a perfect game thru 6.0 IP against Toronto.

  34. Matt WI

    Hmm. On radio they said that strike out pitch wouldn’t have been a strike, but Gamecast shows it firmly on the outside line. Whatever, Dickerson swung.

    • vegastypo

      Sure looked outside to me. Not that it has mattered to Joe West a few times this afternoon …..

  35. Shchi Cossack

    Castillo reached his pitch limit after 90 pitches.

  36. wutinthehail

    Not digging that pitching change.

    • MuttonLettuceTomato

      Oh my! Hughes with the 2 out gasoline fire. Looks like his control is not sharp and his sinker looks pretty flat. Not good

  37. Preach

    Defensive gaffe. Good base running by the Pirates

  38. Indy Red Man

    This is the type of game that the Reds simply have to win!

    No Marte. No Polanco. Melky was on the waiver wire most of last year and had few biters. Dickerson had 13 hrs last year…prob about 8 off of non-Reds pitchers. These guys aren’t that good.

    Of course Winker/Peraza fall asleep and we give the lead away:(

      • Indy Red Man

        ?
        Checking the lead run first is job 1 and he looked for the hitter to come to 2nd before he belatedly threw home.

      • VaRedsFan

        His back is to home plate , if nobody communicated that runner going home then he can’t know. 100% on Winker.

      • Indy Red Man

        I give Peraza some of the blame but he just HR’d so all is good:)

  39. Indy Red Man

    Who was it on RLN that pointed out that Hughes is an old gaseous emission and not likely to repeat his career season of 2018? Those hits were just little floaters over the infield but this pen really worries me.

  40. Doug

    Hughes is not looking too sharp today. No decision for Castillo. Shame.

  41. WVRedlegs

    Hughes putting them up on a tee when he actually finds the plate. Week relay throw from 2B.
    Where is Bell with the hook? Should have removed Hughes. Bell is the reason if this game is lost. What BS from Bell.

  42. doofus

    Winker was asleep. The lackadaisical defense we saw during Red’s game last weekend in Sprint Training is still present. Except now the games count. Opposing scouts know the Red’s defenders (except j Iglesias) are fundamentally bad. The opposition will continue to exploit it all season unless the on field coaches are able to wake the Red’s fielders up.

  43. Doug

    Taillon is only at 61 pitches in the bottom of the 6th?

  44. Indy Red Man

    Eugenio thrown out by 17 feet…oh boy

    • Shchi Cossack

      Please tell me that Schebler missed a sign and that was not a steal attempt by Suarez.

  45. WVRedlegs

    WTH? Did Schebler miss a hit and run sign? Left Suarez out to dry. Cervrlli threw from his knees and had Suarez out by 4 feet.

  46. Sliotar

    Suarez last 3 seasons, basically his career as a regular…

    23 SBs
    14 CS

    That’s before that debacle of an attempt last half-inning, with a LH at the plate.

    I hope the lapdogs covering this team have the gumption to ask Bell if the steal sign came from the dugout, or if Suarez was free to go on his own.

    • doofus

      The lapdogs are heralding the Pirates baserunning, not Winker’s lackadaisical throw to 2B for Cervelli, a CATCHER, scoring.

  47. vegastypo

    Didn’t somebody predict that Peraza would be the first Red to homer this season?????????

    Tie game !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. Indy Red Man

    Put Ervin or Lorenzen in to pinch run? We have 3 catchers now

  49. vegastypo

    Dietrich !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome to Cincinnati also !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  50. Shchi Cossack

    A minor league FA contract!!!! Dietrich goes yard! Reds up 5-2.

  51. Sliotar

    HRs in Coors Field East cures some earlier ills.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yeah that ball Dietrich hit doesn’t hit the wall in that huge Miami park. Bottom line though….the Reds bench is no joke this year!

  52. Indy Red Man

    Yeah baby….the new guys have made it happen today!!! Pour it on….nobody out!!

  53. WVRedlegs

    Dietrich and J. Iglesias are endearing themselves to Reds fans today. That’s the way to do it. Now if only the Reds bullpen can hold the lead.

    • doofus

      Dickerson goes yard off of R Iglesias. You are prescient.

  54. Shchi Cossack

    1st game of the season and Lorenzen pinch runs for Winker in the 7th inning.

    Man Lorenzen is fast and his st step is quick.

    • Shchi Cossack

      And Lorenzen goes out to CF with Schebler shifted to LF. YEAH BABY!!!

  55. WVRedlegs

    R. Iglesias coming in to pitch the 8th. Will this be a 6 out save opportunity? Lorenzen in CF. Well I’ll be.

  56. Preach

    Absolutely love putting Lorenzen in CF and bringing the closer in the 8th.

    • doofus

      True, but who else do they have? The Reds FO has short-changed the roster on centerfielders. Senzel should have made this squad last Friday.

  57. Indy Red Man

    Corey Dickerson. Guy just bombs the Reds. Cmon Raisel?

    • vegastypo

      That would be one very expensive phone call, however. Not sure I could see it happening.

      • WVRedlegs

        Yes. Big Bob would have to write a rather big check. At least Iglesias rebounded after that HR.
        I really, really like the reduction of commercials between innings from 4 minutes to 2 minutes. Much better.

  58. matt hendley

    Impressed with Peraza today, the run was Winkers Fault. Impressed with Iglesias the Batter, and detrich. Not so impressed with Iglesias the Pitcher so far. A kimbrel pick up is not too far off in my opinion.

  59. Preach

    Iglesias is all over the place with his off speed stuff. He ain’t duplicating his motion. Keeps changing.

  60. Indy Red Man

    Iggy up to 98….great sign!!! At 21 pitches already though….do they go with Hernandez now?

  61. Shchi Cossack

    Let’s hope the robo-ump experiment for calling balls and strikes goes well this season and MLB makes a commitment to implementation soon. This strike zone is just ridiculous.

    • Preach

      Ladies and gentlemen: Country Joe West……

    • doofus

      Joe West behind the plate, that is why.

    • Greg Pearson

      It was bad in the Brewers game too. Almost as if MLB has instructed umps to call the outside pitch a strike. Three inches outside.

  62. CFD3000

    Interested to see if Iglesias comes back out for the 9th. I heard his velocity was down in Goodyear but he hit 98 in the 8th. Breaking ball looks a little loose. Either way the Reds need to lock this W down.

  63. Indy Red Man

    Chisenhall on the DL for Pitt too along with Marte & Polanco. Nice time to catch Pitt. The Reds really need to go 5-2 or better in these 7 games

  64. Preach

    A leadoff walk. Seen this movie. Didn’t like it.

  65. WVRedlegs

    Does that count as a mound viit when just the infielders go meet at the mound?

    • doofus

      It depends if they are just figuring out their dinner reservations or defensive strategy.

  66. Preach

    Well, the 2 inning save was a nice idea…. .

  67. Indy Red Man

    I don’t like this? Iggy at 34 and counting on Opening Day?

  68. CFD3000

    Gotta think Garrett is excited for this opportunity and full of confidence.

  69. Sliotar

    Wow.

    One game into the season and already, not having enough high-quality arms in bullpen rears its ugly head.

    Still need a top arm to get the last outs….Iglesias can’t cover everything.

  70. WVRedlegs

    Iglesias can’t finish this off. I would bet that this is the last time we see Iglesias come on in the 8th inning. He was not sharp at all.
    C’mon Amir, get r done.

    • Indy Red Man

      I like the 8th inning aspect…it was 3-4-5 in their lineup. Don’t like coming back out for the 9th at 21 pitches already. Now he’s prob done for Sat?

      • jazzmanbbfan

        Based on Bell’s post game comments, this isn’t the last time we will see Iglesias in the 8th. He wasn’t sharp today. Unless he has an injury I think he will be fine over time. It’s a long season.

  71. Indy Red Man

    The beauty of baseball. Bell is already under heavy scrutiny from all the armchair managers like myself:) Atleast he’s mostly unknown at this point. A chimp could point out Price & Whathisnames next move.

    • ToBeDetermined

      And the Honeymoon is over…

  72. lwblogger2

    2nd time today Bell has over-managed. I’m fine with the platoon disadvantage and Garrett out there. Don’t like this at all.

  73. Shchi Cossack

    If ya got an 8 man bullpen available in the 1st game of the season and an off day scheduled for tomorrow, DB says give me another arm.

  74. WVRedlegs

    C’mon Bell. Don’t make Garrett a LOOGY. Give him the save chance.

  75. Tom Mitsoff

    Interesting situation now … can’t use Lorenzen in this inning because he’s not warmed up.

  76. Doug

    Just in case the pace was too fast…we better not let Garrett face a righty.

  77. WVRedlegs

    Bell’s bullpen management is worse than Riggleman.

  78. Preach

    Gee, would like to have Garrett face Dickerson……

  79. matt hendley

    Rasiel in the 8th was a mistake.

  80. Indy Red Man

    Oh Lord? Walk somebody named Reyes to get to Reds slayer Dickerson?

  81. doofus

    I love this type of duel btwn pitcher and hitter.

  82. Indy Red Man

    Bell did screw up…but will it cost us?

  83. Indy Red Man

    2 outs and the D is in no-doubles mode up 2 with men on 1st/2nd. Reyes has to hit it off/over the wall to really hurt you. If he does hit a single then you have a lefty vs Dickerson. Stupid?

  84. Preach

    Reds win!
    But i still don’t agree with pulling Garrett.

  85. WVRedlegs

    Whew. Made it exciting. 1-0. Not impressed with Bell. But he did make the call to pinch hit Dietrich.

  86. Indy Red Man

    What a game!!! 161 to go baby!!! That was fun!!!

  87. matt hendley

    Reds WIn, overall, despite the nervousness, looked good. Cant wait till Saturday

  88. CFD3000

    I’m going to say that the next time around Garrett will get to stay in to finish the inning. Exciting game. Reds Win! 1 game down, 161 battles to go. Baseball is back!

  89. vegastypo

    My heart is not going to withstand 162 of these endings. But I’ll take the win !!!!

    • ToBeDetermined

      The heart will get stronger.
      It’s a muscle that needs to be exercised.
      It’s been so long since the Reds played in any meaningful games.
      The heart was just broken early in the season last year so it got no excercise

  90. CFD3000

    Classy, articulate interview by Dietrich. Welcome to Cincinnati young man.

  91. Jeffery

    Kinda a Hal King moment in the very first game…..going to be interesting season. Have a good mix here i think.