The Cincinnati Reds (5-9) have won four of their last five games and will start the first of seven games in California tonight. Before playing against the first place Padres this weekend, they’ll start a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers (9-8) at 10:10 PM. The Dodgers started the season 8-2, but they have lost six of seven since (all coming against the Cardinals and Brewers).

Yasiel Puig will make his anticipated return to Dodgers Stadium this evening. He is one of five former Dodgers in the Reds lineup tonight, joining Matt Kemp, Jose Peraza, Scott Schebler and Kyle Farmer.

Starting Pitchers

Luis Castillo is off to a tremendous start to 2019. His first three starts have gone about as good as you could ever hope for. He will have a big test tonight against the mighty Dodgers lineup and against Clayton Kershaw. The one small area of concern tonight is walks. Castillo has walked 8 batters in his first three starts. The Dodgers lead the MLB with 78 walks. They also lead the NL with a 137 wRC+ and 35 home runs.

Castillo has a career 2.19 ERA in 2 starts against the Dodgers (12.1 IP, 1 BB, 17 K). He had a terrific start in Dodger Stadium last May: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.

Clayton Kershaw will be making his first start of 2019 for the Dodgers tonight. He missed the start of the season due to shoulder inflammation. He made two rehab starts (1 in AAA, 1 in AA): 10.1 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 HR, 2 BB, 12 K. This is the first year in a long time for Kershaw that he comes into the year not in the conversation for the best pitcher in baseball. Kershaw’s 2019 projections are still very good, but down from his incredible run of dominance from 2011-2017. His fastball velocity was down from 93.1 MPH to 91.4 last year. That likely had a significant impact on why his K/9 dropped from 10.39 to 8.65.

Kershaw has a career 2.54 ERA in 10 career starts against the Reds (22 BB, 78 K). However, the Reds haven’t faced Kershaw since 2016.

Lineups

Reds Dodgers
1. Curt Casali (C)
2. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
3. Yasiel Puig (RF)
4. Matt Kemp (LF)
5. Jose Peraza (2B)
6. Jose Iglesias (SS)
7. Scott Schebler (CF)
8. Kyle Farmer (1B)
9. Luis Castillo (P)
1. Joc Pederson (LF)
2. Corey Seager (SS)
3. Justin Turner (3B)
4. Cody Bellinger (RF)
5. A.J. Pollock (CF)
6. Max Muncy (1B)
7. Enrique Hernandez (2B)
8. Austin Barnes (C)
9. Clayton Kershaw (P)

This is the Reds first game of the season against a left-handed starter. A few hitters that mashed lefties last season were Eugenio Suarez (169 wRC+), Curt Casalli (164 wRC+) and Matt Kemp (124 wRC+). Joey Votto has his second off day of the season tonight. David Bell said that Votto would have more off days this season to keep him fresh. Votto is 5 for 25 with 2 HR, 4 BB and 13 K vs Kershaw.

Cody Bellinger leads all of the MLB in fWAR (1.8) and leads the NL in wRC+ (258), HR (9), Runs (22), RBI (22), AVG (.424), OBP (.500) and SLG (.909). He isn’t the only Dodger tearing the cover off the baseball right now. Enrique Hernandez (4 HR, 171 wRC+), Joc Peterson (6 HR, 158 wRC+), Austin Barnes (131 wRC+) and Max Muncy (4 HR, 130 wRC+) are all off to big starts. The Reds will really need their left handed relievers to step up in this series. Alex Wood would have been really nice to get a start in this series.

News and Notes

Conclusion 

The next 17 games for the Reds are really tough (3 at LAD, 4 at SD, 3 vs ATL, 3 at STL, 4 at NYM). How the Reds do over this stretch could determine if they will really be competitive in 2019 or not. Go Reds!

68 Responses

  1. Old-school

    The reds will need baserunners to score runs . Jose Peraza has zero walks in 43 PA and Matt Kemp 0 BB in 38 BB.

  2. J

    If Dusty Baker happens to see this lineup he’s going to be questioning his own sanity.

  3. Wayne nabors

    looks like bell just gonna lay down for em,winker and votto should never sit same game

  4. George

    “The next 17 games for the Reds are really tough (3 at LAD, 4 at SD, 3 vs ATL, 3 at STL, 4 at NYM). How the Reds do over this stretch could determine if they will really be competitive in 2019 or not.”
    If the Reds go 11-6 during this stretch it would give the Reds only a 16 win and 15 loss record the first week of May.
    Now if the Reds sign 2 certain free agent pitchers (Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel) before the first week of May, I will be buying play-off tickets.

    • matt hendley

      The two (who are still inflexible with there demands) would still need a near month to get to speed.

    • matt hendley

      if he goes down, Brandon Phillips has just announced his intent to play in 2019. lol

  5. matt hendley

    Looks like a lefty special lineup tonight, This will either work real well, or some underlying in the Reds FO will get fired. CK making his first start, and he got hit around in his rehab starts (yes i know that’s not what they are for). The Reds are catching Kershaw at the best possible moment, short of not facing him at all

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Dang, the Brew Crew are at it again. They knocked Hudson out after 3.2 IP with the Brewers coming up in the bottom of the 5th, leading the dirty birds 6-3. Yelich with a 3 run HR & a solo dinger by Mous.

  7. Shchi Cossack

    Alex Wood scheduled to pitch off the mound on Saturday for the 1st time since spring training. Fingers crossed Reds fans. He’s still a ways off from pitching live games, but Wood’s addition to the MLB rotation could be a huge boost to an already good starting rotation.

  8. Preach

    That is an interesting line up, that’s for sure. Looks almost like Bell wants to get all the ex Dodgers in game one.

  9. Seat101

    I’ve never understood the lack of love for Jose Petaza. But what has me baffled now is the willingness to give him up because we have two guys on minor league contract who are filling innicely for an aging injury prone second baseman.

    • matt hendley

      Except scooter is not injury prone. He has an injury that is true. Injury prone is playing a season worth or less of games in 2 seasons…. sort of like…..senzel. Deitrich shouldn’t be on a MiLB deal, how we got him on one was a shock, and Jose I isn’t a bad pick up either. The problem with Peraza is that he has had near 4 seasons to figure it out. Still having trouble. He is due arbitration next year, still has trade value now. we have backups, and the money argument is not valid.

      • Preach

        Yes and no on Peraza: yeah, he should be a little farther along, but I still blame some of that on his initial use when he became a Red. That put him back significantly IMO. He is still young and I really believe this may be the season he puts it together. Usually I’m in the “deal ’em” camp when they have peak value, but he is one guy I’m holding on to. I like the utility.

      • CP

        He put it together last season. He put up 2.7 WAR, more than Jose Iglesias.

        It’s like last year didn’t happen with some fans.

      • matt hendley

        That Peraza at bat is why he needs to be just not. A grossly out of the zone pitch and nearly hit into a double play. Garbage. even his hits look that gross. AND as i am typing this he TOOLBANs. GARBAGE!!!!

  10. Preach

    Casali said he wants to create havoc.
    That’s what I’m talking about.

  11. matt hendley

    hell has no wrath like a Puig Scorned

  12. Seat101

    Back to Scooter. He played most of the season her last year, and he’s out for at least a quarter of the season this year already. I don’t know where you got your definition of “injury prone“.

    Regardless of your opinion of what kind of contracts they should have signed, they are two very able players who came in on minor league contracts. And they are filling in for an injured second baseman who is injured all last year. So your solution is to dump Jose Peraza.

    C’est a rire

    • matt hendley

      except for scooter hurt is better then Peraza healthy, better defender, absolutely. Better hitter definitely, Peraza has not produced in his planned position, SS, he sure as heck aint holding second when Scooter returns. Deitrich is giving him a run for his money, Senzel probably will outproduce him as well. Tired of hearing what Perazza may do, when others are demonstratively outproducing him

      • Seat101

        Let’s have this conversation in six weeks. Maybe Scooter. will be back on the field. Maybe not. Right now he’s not out producing Ron Oester.

      • matt hendley

        If Peraza is so good, why is Iglesias making his plays at second as well, (ok that’s a joke i know its the shift)

      • matt hendley

        Peraza isn’t out producing Ron oester either

  13. Preach

    That was a cement mixer to Bellinger. Better throw more heaters this time through the lineup

  14. Seat101

    Do they still fine players? Can they? Will the front office and let him be fined?

    • matt hendley

      worst hitting pitcher on the roster who thought it was foul? He is probably getting a block of instruction tomorrow. If it happens again, a fine. In theory he would have been elininated in a Curt Casailli double play. Not excusable though

  15. Seat101

    If you don’t fine Castillo you can’t fine anyone.

    Do I sound like a crank, or what? Pretty soon I’m gonna start yelling “get off my lawn!”

    • matt hendley

      if that had been a position player, fine him in an instance. pitchers…. its different

  16. CP

    Not his fault on that at bat but man, Bellinger stands extremely close to the plate. That said, ouch!

    Can’t believe they are keeping him in the game though.

  17. Preach

    Castillo needs to throw over to first a couple of times. Crowd will boo, but if you’re going to stay in……

    • matt hendley

      Thank you, you notice how he didnt homer in cincinnati? No, we are playing the dodgers not the brewers right now.

      • Sliotar

        Are you getting paid by the reply?

        Besides, I thought the narrative here at RLN was that the Reds were going to contend this season. I have a few other games on at the same time.

      • Rich H

        As Sliotar repeatedly points out, he watches a lot of baseball.

  18. Old-school

    ESPN tearing apart Puig. “Sucked the oxygen out of the room. Tore up outfield position cards in front of coaches. Let Puig play. Dodgers don’t need to attack Puig through the media.

    • VaRedsFan

      Puig had his faults in LA. But so far, he has been nothing but professional in Cincy…IMO

  19. Seat101

    We can’t afford to give away so many outs. You might be able to make an excuse for Castillo, but that was an incredibly boneheaded play by Peraza.

  20. Indy Red Man

    Time for Peraza to work his way out of a slump on the wrong end of a platoon with DD. His RLN supporters have dried up this year?

  21. Indy Red Man

    Man? These guys just don’t let up? One 123 inning vs 789 but everything else is a quagmire

  22. Preach

    Brand new game. How’s the BP looking?

  23. Old-school

    Castillo not sharp but competed his tail off against Kershaw. Gave his team a chance to win.

  24. Indy Red Man

    LC baby!! Great stuff but all over the place as well. Tough lineup and 2 thru 5 isn’t bad…atleast if we had a bullpen? He’s getting nice sink on the fastball and the slider is better then last year. An emerging #1-#2 type guy

  25. VaRedsFan

    Castillo battled thru 5, just off with his command a little tonight. I’m glad they didn’t bring Lorenzen in, with the bases juiced.

  26. RedInIND

    Jim Day sounded incredulous when Welsh informed him the Dodgers are paying $20M this year for analytics.

  27. Preach

    Peralta with the nice comeback. Time to put up a few runs.

  28. VaRedsFan

    Peraza with a mental error there. The Cardinals had the exact same play yesterday, and played it perfectly. If the runner stops, throw it 1st, then you got Kershaw in the rundown

  29. Sliotar

    Yeah, Duke and Garrett have pitched each of the last 2 days.

    Get a run, let Iglesias deal with Pederson and Seager next time around to close it out.

  30. Indy Red Man

    I haven’t been on Bell at all, but why in the hell would they bat Peraza 5th?

  31. vegastypo

    Who are you, and what have you done with Robert Stephenson ??? Do I dare start to believe in this guy???

  32. Old-school

    The reds aren’t winning this year.
    Why? Joey Votto is done . It’s time to admit the obvious. He is no where near the hitter Paul Goldschmidt or Christian Yelich is. He’s not close. He might be an old Joe Mauer. .280/.370/.380. Joey Votto is no longer an all star or elite player. he can’t hit for power

  33. Wayne nabors

    Did Suarez forget how to swing the bat,that was pathetic

  34. Sliotar

    Kemp doing his best Vlady Guerrero…bad ball hitting impression.

    Golden chance to squeeze out a win now, especially since they had not scored outside of the Puig HR.

  35. Sliotar

    Wow.

    Bullpen woes extend to Iglesias. He wasn’t right that entire outing, from pitch 1.

    No bueno.

  36. Old-school

    Iglesias and Votto aren’t what they were .

    5-10.

  37. TyGuy88

    Iglesias has looked suspect the early parts of the season, whereas Garrett and Stephenson have looked exceptional thus far. Gotta wonder if these guys get save chances if Iglesias continues like this.

  38. jreis

    you know , I wouldn’t be surprised if our win total this year is the same as it has been the past few years, albeit with much more competitive games then years past. For this team to get over the hump though, the culture has got to change. the Castillo ground out to the right fielder is a classic example. He is laughing about, the dugout is laughing about it like it is no big deal.
    I mean I go to a lot of minor league games at all levels and I don’t see the lack of concentration that I see every game with the reds team so that means there are still some bad apples in the clubhouse.