The Cincinnati Reds (24-29) and Pittsburgh Pirates (26-25) have already played nine innings today; what’s nine more? The gates at Great American Ball Park have closed and reopened for the nightcap, and the Reds will try to actually beat the Pirates, as they face Pittsburgh’s top prospect Mitch Keller, making his MLB debut. First pitch is at 7:10 ET.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA FIP xFIP K% BB%
Sonny Gray 50.0 3.78 3.12 3.38 27.40% 9.60%
Mitch Keller (AAA stats) 47.0 3.45 4.13 4.28 27.60% 9.90%

Giving a three-year extension to Sonny Gray when the Reds traded for him in the off-season is proving to be a good decision so far. Gray is in the top 30 of all NL pitchers who have a minimum of 50 innings. And he’s coming off what might have been his best start of the season. Gray pitched five innings of shut-out baseball with nine strikeouts in Milwaukee. The only downside was that he walked four.

What has been the difference between Gray in 2018 and Gray in 2019? He’s throwing his slider a lot more, and he’s throwing his sinker a lot less. In fact, his sinker is the fourth-most used pitch, behind the four-seamer, the curve ball, and the slider. He’s already recorded 23 strikeouts with his slider. In 2018, he had 38 strikeouts with the slider the entire season.

Corey Dickerson has had the most success off Gray, with two home runs. He just got transferred to the 60-day IL for the Pirates. Gray also will not have to face Trevor Williams, who single-handedly won the game for the Pirates with a single and two RBI off Gray in the second game of the season at the end of March.

Keller was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft, and according to Baseball America, Keller is currently the #1 prospect in the Pirates organization. He had a bit of a set back in his development last year, with a 4.82 ERA/4.13 FIP in 52.1 innings at AAA-Indianapolis. (Keller split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018). This season, he’s been better, but still has some issues with his control to fix. He’s already walked 22 batters in  47.0 innings and the past two years his BB% has jumped to around 9.0%.

Here’s more on Keller:

Bullpens

Bullpen usage is important during doubleheaders, and the Reds and Pirates were not able to avoid using multiple relievers. Both teams used four pitchers each. Neither team has a significant advantage going into the second game, it would seem.

Amir Garrett threw 31 pitches, so there’s a chance that he will not pitch in the second game. Francisco Liriano threw 30 pitches and Kyle Crick threw 26 pitches for the Pirates. I’m guessing that both Cody Reed and the Pirates 26th man, Richard Rodriguez, will see action tonight.

Lineups

Pirates Lineup

  1. Starling Marte – CF
  2. Gregory Polanco – RF
  3. Bryan Reynolds – LF
  4. Josh Bell – 1B
  5. Colin Moran – 2B
  6. Jose Osuna – 3B
  7. Jacob Stallings – C
  8. Cole Tucker – SS
  9. Mitch Keller – SP

Reds lineup

News and Notes

-What was that about Joey Votto’s career being over?

 

-Let the kids play.

98 Responses

  1. CFD3000

    Go Reds! They’ve been playing well. Losing two today with Castillo and Gray on the hill would not be fun. I like fun, so here’s to a win this evening. Happy Memorial Day everyone, and thank you thank you to everyone who is or has served in the armed forces, and especially to those who died in service to this great country. Thank you isn’t enough.

  2. Seat101

    Another great prequel!

    Winning the second game after losing the first game is always better than losing the second game after winning the first game, don’t you think?

  3. Old-school

    Votto is definitely seeing the ball better, giving quality at bats , fouling off pitches to frustrate pitchers, running deeper counts and spraying the ball around the field to keep defenses honest. The power is gone but that’s ok. A high avg guy with on base skills is crucial to an offense. He can be a good 2 hole hitter to complement this really good all around leadoff hitter.

    Gotta win tonight. Go Sonny Gray.

  4. D Ray White

    I wonder how aggressively the Reds tried to move Hernandez and Hughes last year? To paraphrase Macuso, “Always be trading closers (and relievers)…”

    • matt hendley

      when the team is losing badly. Although with Bowman up now (and under 3 years of control) there is back up now to safely move one of them. Hernandez is not the set up guy, I would say he is more the 7th Inning guy at best.

  5. D Ray White

    Obviously meant to say Mancuso

  6. matt hendley

    Reds gotta win, so obviously that means sit votto. Reds playing with 7 position players in tonights game.

    • RedAlert

      Peraza has no business on this roster – should be at Louisville. Good to get out to a nice lead though !

  7. Hanawi

    So they sit Votto when he’s warming up and still can’t get VanMeter a start and more than 1 at bat at a time.

  8. John G

    Does anyone know, but I think this is the first time the Reds have worn the red tops in a night game ?

  9. Old-school

    Three consecutive quality at bats to wear down this rookie. 18 pitches and no outs yet.

  10. matt hendley

    Suspect meter is rising on this ‘prospect’

  11. Old-school

    And the hard work of consecutive quality at bats wears down the rookie.

  12. seat101

    No one in my pool has Jose Iglesias.

    When was the last time we had two grand slams in one inning?

  13. RedAlert

    Peraza needs to be at Louisville – has no business on this roster . Good tonhetboutbro a nice lead though !

    • Seat101

      I’m great, private is 0 for 1 with 2walks.

      Enough with the knee-jerk reactions when he makes one out.

      • Seat101

        Sorry “I’m great private” = Jose Peraza

      • matt hendley

        hahaha. No one believes that this is the reaction of one out. 1000 outs, maybe.

      • RedAlert

        Peraza sucks – it ain’t knee jerk at all

  14. matt hendley

    Great AB by iggy, gets RBIs, First Career Grand Slam, And gets as many REds off the Bases so Peraza doesn’t mess it up.
    REds Bat Around at a minimum in first. Suspect alarm going off loudly, Pirates BP is working at half strength keep it up and we will be facing position players in the 7th

  15. Old-school

    Absolutely pour it on and deplete Pirates bullpen. Reds can put the pirates in a bad way bullpen wise for the next 2 days. Gray needs to go 7.

  16. Roger Garrett

    Just odd to say the least.We made the guy with an ERA over 8 look like Cy Young and the kid who as you can see has much better stuff look like Loretta Young.Gray hasn’t got this many runs in all of his starts I would imagine.Baseball is just silly sometimes.

  17. matt hendley

    abusing the Pirates bullpen tonight will have to follow on effects for tomorrow and weds games. Important that they come into the second and absolutely crush this kid.

  18. Old-school

    After game 1, Sonny Gray can really reset the whole series with 7-8 solid innings. Let’s go Sonny.

  19. matt hendley

    Phillies evidently looking for a LH bat from the Bench. Schebler has turned things around in LOU, could the reds swing a trade for a possible prospect, or at least open up a 40 Man spot for the eventual return of scooter and wood

  20. Hanawi

    At what point do the Reds have to consider mixing up the rotation in RF? Puig is one of the few power guys in the lineup right now, but he’s just not hitting consistently enough to justify being penciled in the middle of the lineup everyday. It’s not like they don’t have options that are producing on the bench or in the minors (Farmer, VanMeter, O’Grady) that could fill in RF or play LF while Winker mans right.

    • matt hendley

      Perhaps three years from now. After all thats what they have given the real problem on the roster. Puig is coming around. ANy replacement in Right is a defensive reduction.

  21. Hanawi

    Apparently the high strike zone is in effect for this one.

  22. Indy Red Man

    It feels like Sonny is getting a little better every week! Early on he only had the fastball & curve, but now he’s working the slider in and also a cutter that seems to run away from lefties.

    Wow…..so glad we don’t have to bother seeing JVM get a start? Peraza is such a dynamic performer that Bell just can’t leave him out. Granted he did hit in the 2nd half last year, but 95% of younger players would’ve been shipped out after hitting .256 (.290 obp) thru May last year! Why is Peraza Louisville proof? I don’t get it?

  23. Curt

    (Shaking head) Peraza…. #FreetheVanMeter

  24. Indy Red Man

    Cubs @ Houston
    Milw @ Minnesota

    Good luck with that:) Milw always has to play Minn, but I’m guessing we have to play Houston this year too?

  25. Roger Garrett

    We have now turned Loretta Young back in to Cy Young.He will save the bull pen for them at this rate.Hurdle had no choice but to leave him in and we are doing our best to help matters along.

    • matt hendley

      perhaps, but his PC is now above 80 after 4, Clint will still need to fill at least 3 innings. maybe 4

  26. Indy Red Man

    So now for the important stuff. Do I pickup Lucas Sims in fantasy baseball for a spot start tomorrow?

    His last 3 starts = 19 ip with a 2.37 era and 21-4 K’s to walks

    • matt hendley

      A very good question, no one seems to be able to get the answer. Reds information security on this subject is unusually tight.

  27. Old-school

    Both Winker and Votto seem back to the hitters they were. Good at bats, spraying the ball to all fields , working the count and pitcher. Senzel and Suarez do the same. Get Scooter back and the offense is primed.

    • Indy Red Man

      Votto will probably never be what he was in 2017? Father Time is unrelenting! Can he be the .830ish ops guy with 12 hrs he was last year? Hopefully? Just get the obp at or near .400 and drive the ball occasionally when they get careless. That has value….just not $25 mil/year value.

      Cmon Sonny? Pitching scared to Marte with a 6 run lead?

  28. earmbrister

    Great. 2 walks in the inning by Gray. Bases loaded.

  29. matt hendley

    Gray more then any other pitcher falls off a cliff when he runs out of stuff…. needs to get this batter here or Bell will also need to go to the BP

    • matt hendley

      and he does, the question is do they run him out there for the 6th. Despite the walks, he is up 6, and has not given up a run.

    • earmbrister

      Big time pitching to get Polanco out with the bases loaded.

      Does Gray come back out for the sixth? Only about 80 pitches.

      • VaRedsFan

        I’d let him him start the 6th at least. 2 baserunners and he is gone.

  30. Pete

    Whew!! We may need to get more runs, let’as get to work.

  31. Roger Garrett

    Gray usually has that one inning where he loses command,runs his pitch count up and leaves the game early.Was hoping for 7 and may not even get 6 but we will see.Yes we need to score more to make this a laugher and re set the pen.

  32. Indy Red Man

    Sonny with 219 ip & 208 ip in 2014-2015. Where did that guy go? This guy is on fumes every 5th inning no matter what his pitch count is. It must be a mental thing atleast partially? He was nibbling with Marte with a 6 run lead?

    • VaRedsFan

      He does seem to use max effort with every pitch.

    • Pete

      He looks very thin. Some of mama’s cooking might be just the ticket.

  33. Indy Red Man

    Give Puig a few days off. He looks clueless at the plate. He did hit 2 hangers out of Wrigley, but if they hit their spots at all then its an easy out. DD or JVM in LF and Winker to RF. Has Farmer played any OF?

    David Bell? Why even push Gray there? Bring in Reed to their Bell and turn him around. Now its atleast 2?

  34. RojoBenjy

    Nobody runs on Puig’s arm at least.

    • Indy Red Man

      You’re right! He plays hard! He’s also been aggressive on the bases! I like the guy, but he just looks lost right now. Baseball is a tough grind!

      • matt hendley

        i suspect that some of the players that played both games today will find days off tommrowo and Weds.

      • RojoBenjy

        No argument there. Just noting that he saved a run.

    • Indy Red Man

      Yep….that means Peraza plays some SS soon. Wow….can’t wait:) Have they ever tried Farmer at SS?

  35. matt hendley

    That’s it he is done, surprising that the bullpen was empty to start the inning. Fail on Bell, gonna have to drag this out to allow CR to get ready. Maybe get an out or too.

  36. earmbrister

    Strong finish of the inning by Gray. Great start by him, when the Reds needed innings from their starter to rest their BP. This could set up the rest of the series nicely for the Reds.

  37. Pete

    Sonny is running on fumes but he really battled to get out of the inning. Like the cut of this guy’s jib.

  38. Old-school

    Gray did well. Needed another inning. But, Reed and Stephenson get 9 outs. Do your job

  39. RojoBenjy

    And JvM succeeds where JP has failed.

  40. RedAlert

    VanMeter > Peraza — wake up Bell !

  41. Curt

    And with that hit, the VanMeter now has a better avg and OPS than “you know who”. #freetheVanMeter

    • Indy Red Man

      JVM looks like a hitter up there. When did Peraza hit 11 Hrs in April in AAA? Or whatever it was. Thats not easy to do at any level. I would be willing to deal Scooter or DD to a contender if we could get some young arms back. Surely they’re not planning on dragging back H&H next year? Romano is a bust. They have very little in the way of arms that are close in the minors….atleast from what I can see?

  42. matt hendley

    Strong work by Gray, got out of a dangerous situation with only one run given up. VanMeter gets the hit off the bench again, while peraza just gets outs and outs.

    • RojoBenjy

      But…but…Peraza is so YOUNG. That dictates that he’ll be a good ball player, right?

      • matt hendley

        i know….right…. but yet we can’t give extensions to proven commodities, and we cant give AAA Performers more than PH at bats. DOnt worry when Peraza is making 5 million next year to suck, i am sure there will be another litany of defenders of him.

      • RojoBenjy

        Not sure why some love him so much. The reason he’s a Red is because Walt Jocketty was in love with the guy.

        Doesn’t that tell us something?

      • Rich H

        Well, Peraza and VanMeter’s career OPS in the minors are .726 and .738 respectively, and Peraza was 3 years younger at each level, faster, and a better defender. So, how exactly is it that you all know JVM is clearly better? A month and half crushing the MLB ball they just switched to in AAA? Is that what makes you believe he’s that much more valuable than a guy who was an MLB average starter at shortstop over a full year last year?

        Josh VanMeter could be the next Justin Turner, but most guys don’t usually sustain this much improvement at his age. If you’re wondering why so many people (rightly) like and have liked Jose Peraza, that’s why. It’s really not a puzzler.

      • RojoBenjy

        @Rich H

        The point is that we know what Peraza is. Time to find out what VanMeter is. He frankly can’t do any worse.

      • matthew hendley

        @ Rich, Yes, Technically he could do worse. it is statistically possible, however, a reasonable projection of his (vanmeters) talent would indicate that he wouldn’t do worse then Peraza unless he was deliberately trying to.

        It needs to get through the FO heads, and his supports heads. Jose Peraza is not the (insert rotating position here) of the future, he is not a starting anything, He is a average to below average player who went on fire for roughly 2.5 months of one season, of the 4 seasons he has been in. That is called an outlier. The reds are trying to win games. Jose Peraza is not helping the Reds towards that goal.

  43. earmbrister

    This ump is squeezing the zone on Reed.

    • RojoBenjy

      I don’t have anything against umpires, only bad umpires.

  44. earmbrister

    Reed looks like he’s got a lower body injury. Landing funny.

    Was really looking forward to Reed’s appearance. Hopefully it’s nothing major.

  45. Indy Red Man

    Marte? The guy has never been hungry. Never. He was barely jogging there? He had the talent to be better then Andrew McCutchen, but McCutchen has heart!

    • matt hendley

      Also pretty sure he had a problem with the pills, or injections…. or whatever

    • RojoBenjy

      @matt hendley

      It was a clear cream that his trainer told him just to rub on his skin for—uh—a moisturizer.

  46. matt hendley

    Third inning for McRee, Pirates obviously burning him for the rest of the series to preserve what they have left of the bullpen.

  47. Hanawi

    So much for wearing out their bullpen. This dude is shutting the Reds down. May finish it for the Pirates.

    • Hanawi

      Or Dietrich will take him deep. One or the other.

      • matt hendley

        SOmething about, counting chickens before they are hatched or something.

  48. earmbrister

    Had a feeling DD was going yard right before the pitch, Man can he hit some long homers!

  49. matt hendley

    THERE IT IS, AND HE KNEW IT TOO, DEITRICH with the long look, and runway walk down to first. Make the Pirates suffer…… PUIG says look at me too .

  50. VaRedsFan

    DD and Puig…..2 LOOOONNGGG Taters

  51. Hanawi

    Assume they’ll try to get Reed to finish it and then send him back down afterwards.

    • matt hendley

      Let the Kid get his first save. No Bullpen game tomorrow putting my money on Lucas Sims. Reed will have to go down tomorrow as the 26th man, Sims will require another 25 man spot

  52. Indy Red Man

    DD makes me laugh:) He has kind of a boxers mentality out there! I like it!! If I was a pitcher though? He’s wearing one the next time up. I don’t think he cares though?

  53. matt hendley

    Reds win it. Lets see if the 10 time is a charm tomorrow or who’s pitching tomorrow or roster moves tomorrow.

  54. RedsMonk65

    Much, MUCH better. That’ll do, Reds. That’ll do.

  55. Pete

    This is a really good ball club with some rough edges. Who knows maybe they were believing the headlines going into game one. The second game was a beauty, everything game one wasn’t. As seat101 said earlier if you can only win one, I’ll take the second game every time.

  56. Don A

    Back to 4 under again! Time to break the curse! LOL

  57. Pete

    What I learned today? 1) Bowman and Reed need to big with big club. 2 Peraza needs time in AAA to get straightened out. 3)VanMeter looks like a hitter and is versatile.