The Reds and Nationals open a 3 game weekend series tonight at GABP.  This is the first meeting  of the two teams in 2019. The Nats come into the series with a 24-32 (.429) record, good for 4th in the NL East. Despite having a better record at 26-30 (.464), the Reds have been unable to battle their way out of the cellar in the ultra competitive NL Central.  However, taking 2 of 3 against the Nats could be positive step in that direction. Game time is 7:10PM.

Starting Pitchers

Veteran left hander Patrick Corbin gets the ball to start the game for the Nationals. Tyler Mahle starts for the Reds.

Nationals

Patrick Corbin is pitching his first season with the Nats after signing a  6 year $140M free agent deal with them during the off season.  The former 2nd round draft pick (2009, #80 overall) broke in with Arizona in 2012 and played for the Dbacks from then through the end of the 2018 season posting 15.6 career fWAR .  So yes, the math says a not quite 30 year old pitcher of Corbin’s caliber costs around $9M per fWAR on the open market.

In 11 starts with the Nats, Corbin has posted an FIP of 3.33 in 72.2 innings of work. For the month of  May, he has posted an even better 2.88 FIP  across 5 starts comprising an even 35 innings.  In his most recent outing, Corbin pitched a complete game shutout versus the Marlins, the fifth complete game of his career. For those wondering, one of the previous four came at the expense of the Reds way back in 2013.

If Corbin is on his game expect to see a lot of K’s and not many walks from him. Reds fans should hope however for a repeat of the performance Corbin posted against the Reds in 2018 when the Reds lit him up for 6 earned runs in as many innings. The key for the Reds would seem to be not to chase after Corbin’s wicked out pitch slider.

 

REDS

Young Reds right hander Tyler Mahle is trying to get to where Patrick Corbin is in his career.  To date Mahle has made 37 career MLB starts. Since Mahle and Corbin were virtually the same age when they made their MLB debut,  let’s take a look at how Mahle stacks up against Corbin’s first 37 MLB starts.

Mahle struck more more batters per 9 innings (8.75/7.43) but also walked more per (3.63/2.25). Mahle’s WHIP was 1.47 versus Corbin’s 1.15. He also allowed 1.53 HR per 9 innings versus 0.85 for Corbin; and his  fly ball/ HR rate was 17% versus Corbin’s  10.3%.  Thus it should come as no surprise that in their first 37 MLB starts Corbin wins the FIP derby by a run and a quarter,  3.52/ 4.77. That’s the difference between a solid MLB pitcher and fringe rotation guy.

Mahle’s continuing progress is contingent on finding  a way to efficiently end at bats on his terms.  He needs a reliable out pitch like Corbin’s slider and to do better at keeping his pitches away from prime hitting zones.

2019 tale of the tape:

PITCHER FIP WHIP HR/9 BB% K%
Patrick Corbin 3.33 1.03 0.99 7.6% 28.0%
Tyler Mahle 5.25 1.59 1.60 5.1% 25.2%

 

BullPens

Both teams were off on Thursday and should be unconstrained unless there are health issues.

UPDATE:  Robert Stephenson has been placed on the 10 day IL with a cervical strain. Wandy Peralta  has been recalled from AAA.  Zach Duke has been activated from the IL.  Duke takes the spot of Lucas Sims who made a spot start earlier in the week. Get more details here on RLN

Lineups

         NATIONALS          REDS
1. Trea Turner (SS)
2. Adam Eaton (RF)
3. Anthony Rendon (3B)
4. Juan Soto (LF)
5. Howie Kendrick (2B)
6. Matt Adams (1B)
7. Victor Robles (CF)
8. Yan Gomes (C)
9. Patrick Corbin (P)
1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Yasiel Puig (RF)
5. Jose Iglesias (SS)
6. Curt Casali (C)
7. Jose Peraza (LF)
8. Kyle Farmer (2B)
9. Tyler Mahle (P)

Votto returns. Winker sits as does Dietrich, presumably because of the LH pitcher for the Nats.

News and Notes

Cody Reed recently was injured while pitching for the Reds in a MLB game. Yet because of a wrinkle in the rules, he ended up on the AAA injured list instead of the MLB injured list. Take a read at the costly (for Reed) implications…..

If you haven’t done so yet, check out Doug Gray’s take here at Redleg Nation on the latest turn in the beanball wars between the Reds and Pirates

Doug has next week’s MLB June draft  covered at RedsMinorLeagues. Check out his latest update.

Final Thoughts

I noted in the first section of this preview that the Reds have been unable to battle their way out of the NL Central cellar. If you are like me, you probably get (at least a little) frustrated because while it seems like the team is playing better, the numbers always seem to say they are still 4 or 5 games below .500.

This is due to the size of the hole the team dug itself into with the 1-8 start (.111).  Since the bad start, the team has  a 25-22 (.532) record. However even if the Reds keep winning at about the same rate they have over these last 47 games,  they’ll only end up right about .500 for the season.

What’s a fan to do? Live in the moment. Savor the good days and highlights. Try not to belabor the missed opportunities. And above all else keep hoping for a 10 game winning streak (or be greedy like me and hope for 2 of them). GO REDS!!!


Data and stats courtesy of  Baseball Reference, Fangraphs,  MLB.com and Cot’s Contracts

113 Responses

  1. Curt

    Dear baseball Gods,
    We really need Farmer to step up at the plate tonight. And for Votto to continue his “coming around”. Otherwise, down to a 5 position-player line-up. Could be a long night.
    Thank you
    Curt
    ps. #freetheVanMeter
    Thank you

  2. matt hendley

    Reds take this series, i will be pleasantly surprised. Statement series. Nats not as dominent as other years. Still dont like the lineup

    • Jim Walker

      If the Reds want to start moving up in the world, they need to start consistently winning every 3 game series. Looks like they have about eight 3 or 4 game series between now and the All Star Break including 2x 4 gamers with the Brewers plus 4 games with the Indians (2×2) and 2 with the Angels. If my quick math is correct, the Reds need to come out of this run with the equivalent of winning all the 3 games series and no worse than splitting the rest to be at .500 at the ASB.

      • Jim Walker

        It is actually 6 three game series plus the another 14 games (2×4; 3×2). So if they do what I suggested that’s 19-13 and +2 against .500 at the ASB.

  3. Aaron B.

    Double D is having a tremendous season (at least we got that going for us…) and I would really like to see how Gennett and him hit in the same lineup, it seems we could score a ton of runs if Scooter doesn’t start off rusty, but I imagine they will give him a tune up in AAA before we see that happen. If Puig doesn’t heat up enough we could trade him at deadline, although he seems like a good weapon in the arsenal… wish they had done a better job with the bullpen, couple weak links in there that get exposed more than we like. That needs to get patched up if they want to have a chance of a wild card run.

    • Jim Walker

      Figuring out how to get the maximum output from DD and Scooter is going to be quite a challenge isn’t it, given they are pretty much mirror image guys?

      Who sits to get them both on the field simultaneously? As others have suggested, I think it is more likely we see DD in a super sub role which gets him 4 or so starts a week on average.

      • Aaron B.

        Sure that works, he can play 1B or corner outfield, not a good defender per se, but we have to keep a hot bat in the lineup one way or another.

        Didn’t mean to overlook Suarez, I think we all agree he is the best player on the team right now, which explains why the Pirates target him with the chin music, they really don’t want us leap frogging them. I sense things will be easier once we move ahead of the Pirates if they can somehow someway I don’t care how, patch up the pen. It is clear Bell is going to use everyone on the roster so you can’t have any weak links in that bullpen. I wish he would be wiser and we can only hope he will be otherwise management is also to blame for not addressing the issue, but its clear he likes to use the bullpen so you can’t carry any weak links in that dept. with that philosophy. Easier said than done I know, but I feel the Reds could have spent more to upgrade the bullpen. They saw how positive everyone was about the Dodgers trade and felt they had enough goodwill to mail it in from there. It’s going to prove to be costly we could be right in the thick of things with a slightly better bullpen.

      • Curt

        @Aaron B: yep, that Dodger trade was a fun way of getting rid of Bailey’s contract and sure kept people talking but with Kemp gone and Wood, er..unavailable, we’re already half-way to it being much ado about nothing.

    • Jim Walker

      Suarez was running on less than fumes last September. Think they have to bite the bullet and sit him once every 2 weeks or so even if they have off days.

  4. Aaron B.

    PS Everyone should write in DD on the all star ballot, that is what I am doing. We get 5 votes per day, I am writing him at 2B. Although I worry it may cool him off, but he deserves the chance, what a great year. And Iglesias too really, some special things are happening.. I don’t mean to be too hard on managment they got us those 2 guys at the wire and they have proven to be tremendous and life saving additions. This team would be buried without those two guys, can’t imagine how bad the offense would have been without them. So yea I am voting Iglesias at SS also. Can’t bring myself to vote for Votto lol. I voted for FF (Freddie Freeman) who is basically a younger version of Votto.

  5. VaRedsFan

    Mahle On pace for 27 strikeouts.

    • matt hendley

      but if colbin doesn’t get anyone out (Peraza just got a hit, so its a real possibility) then the reds will just bat forever and Mahle wont get his 27 K’s lol

  6. matt hendley

    Tyler tMahle not messing around today

  7. VaRedsFan

    That , my friends, is how you run the bases…Senzel 1st to 3rd

  8. VaRedsFan

    Puig bangs one off the wall at 105 mph

    • VaRedsFan

      104.1 mph. Pitcher is making mistakes down the middle. Reds making him pay

  9. Indy Red Man

    Wow! The force is strong with the boys tonite:) This is incredible because Corbin has been nails this year!

  10. Indy Red Man

    So glad they determined Winker and DD just absolutely cannot hit lefties?

  11. Curt

    Ye Gads! Peraza in left field, yes, great idea!

  12. matt hendley

    Brillant, brillant move on the OF setup. As soon as Corbin is pushed out the game the REds should place either DD or JW. THat run is on Peraza

  13. VaRedsFan

    Free run for the Nats….and the chipping away begins.

    • vegastypo

      Yeah, I feel like I’ve seen that movie one time too many. Don’t need another remake.

      And Mahle isn’t doing himself any favors with these 20-pitch innings ….

  14. Indy Red Man

    What if they got a big lead and put Lorenzen in LF? Not only is he a good defender, but his arm can play like Puigs in gabp and challenge guys from advancing. He could still come in to pitch as well. Lorenzen, Senzel, and Puig are easily their best 3 defensive outfielders

    • Aaron B.

      I definitely wish Bell would utilize Lorenzen like you suggest… if he could get hot he can launch a home run or two; he is a tremendous athlete with strength, you don’t see buff pitchers like that… I just don’t understand why he isn’t utilized more as an offensive/defensive player vs pitcher only.

  15. Seat101

    You guys and gals are just so predictable about Peraza.

    But what really gets my goat is that the Reds are winning big time doing a great job and you are looking for things to complain about. It just tells me you’re not here for the baseball. You guys are here for the winning or the whining.

    Looks like this time you can do both. I’m gonna watch a great baseball game instead

    • Indy Red Man

      They did blow a 8 run lead to one of the worst teams in baseball. Remember that? I don’t like scrub players on my Reds. I don’t like that same scrub giving away runs. Call me crazy.

    • vegastypo

      I just want the Reds to maximize their chances of winning. Not sure Peraza aids that cause.

      • Pete

        This X 100. Winning series isn’t going to get us to the promised land. We need to start sweeping some. Reds have only lost 4 out of 18 season series. It’s not enough.

      • matt hendley

        REally, its that Few? I thought it would have been more. guess i lost count.

      • Pete

        Reds have one sweep and been sweep 3 times. Every even number series has been a perfect split, except the 4-game sweep by Pittsburgh. We have to start sweeping series or there will not be enough games in the season for the Reds to catch up.

  16. Indy Red Man

    Camden Yards and the Orioles……lol. Baltimore up 6-5 over SF in the 1st.

  17. Roger Garrett

    Mahle is still learning and I am good with it.He wastes way too many pitches that aren’t close enough for a hitter to swing at.Once he stops it his pitch count goes down and he becomes a consistent 6 and 7 inning pitcher.Right now he is 5 and done.I am sure he is aware of this and is working on it.Of course guys must help and catch what they should catch in the field

    • VaRedsFan

      Agree on the wastes too many pitches that aren’t close.

  18. WVRedlegs

    Welcome back Jim. Hope you had a good break.
    Mahle needs to make this lead last. How much did Washington pay for Corbin?

    • ohiojimw

      $140M over 6 years according to Cot’s contracts. But this is twice in consecutive years the Reds have gotten the better of him big time.

  19. Roger Garrett

    Tyler watch Corbin.He just got himself right back in the game on his pitch count if not on the score.Vet guy that gets it.Tyler will get it as well I am sure.

    • RojoBenjy

      For some reason…when Patrick Corbin pitches I start thinking about Monica Seles…

  20. matt hendley

    5k through 2.1 In. Officially declaring yellow alert on pizza night.

  21. Big Ed

    This team has a habit of jumping on a pitcher, only for the Reds go 0-fir-17 thereafter.

    • VaRedsFan

      Reversing that trend at least for now.

  22. Indy Red Man

    Don’t forget the Nats have a very good lineup too! On a 5-1 roll and 7.8 per game I think they said? Turner, Eaton, Rendon, and Soto is a pretty nice 1st four.

    Mahle is getting it together, but for some reason he seems to have better stuff at home? It could be a fluke? I think he was worse at gabp last year if I’m not mistaken?

  23. Seat101

    You guys are defending your behavior about the complaining. Why? Because it defines you.

    I am speaking of definitions by no definition is Jose Peraza a “scrub”.

    • Indy Red Man

      Urban dictionary:

      A guy who mooches off of everyone else and has nothing going for him in life. Probably still lives with his mama, doesn’t have a car, a job, or a plan.

      Mmhmm Gurl, I had some scrub try to holler at me from his friend’s car yesterday.

    • matt hendley

      despite him having a better than average game today. Jose Peraza is by no definition an outfielder. He is by no definition a Starter against RHP. He is by no definition a Starter in a solid lineup. He is by definition, a player that is worse then replacement level. We are not up set at him, we are upset at the reds for a) Not trading him at his peak or b) countinually playing him where they are better options. By definition, the reds are a professional team. The organization should be making the full effort to win the maximum number of games. The continued presence of Peraza demonstrates this is untrue.

      • Indy Red Man

        I just have favorites and whipping boys. I admit it. Never like Jay Bruce. Never. He would swing over every slider like he never saw one before. He’d hit 7 hrs in 10 days and then hit .160 for 2 months. I loved Jeff Keppinger, Sam LeCure, Jerry Hairston. On this team I really love Lorenzen, Puig, and Senzel.

        We’re fans. Nobody said we need to be logical. I know I could suffer a stroke and still know more baseball then people that will not complain.

      • Indy Red Man

        Heard it on WLW earlier. If they win tonite then May is a winning month.
        In the last full 31 months of Reds baseball:

        5 winning months
        25 losing months
        1 .500 month

        5 winning months out of 31 earns Reds fans (all 12 of us on here) the right to complain if we want to.

      • Seat101

        You guys are on Peraza like white on rice. Or the poor guy on the sound truck who flipped the wrong switch. Or the beer vendor who got in the way of Votto maybe catching a ball. There have been literally hundreds of spiteful comments you all have spat out since Spring Training. I get it. That’s where your fun is.

        Pick any game at random. Go back and look at your comments and I guarantee you’re going to see mean-spirited personal comments about the players the front office the fans and the employees of the Reds. From now on I’m going to operate on the assumption that you guys are from Mudville. I just have too much joy in my soul for that

      • matt hendley

        Challenge accepted. I know for a fact i have defended Votto when everyone was saying his career was over. Scooter forever, positive statements about Rasiel Iglesias when everyone jumped on him about his comments. Puig, farmer also received positive comments about me.
        You go ahead and look. cite what you find. (which will be nothing).

      • vegastypo

        Seat: You cheer however you would like, and I’ll do the same. We disagree? Fine. Let’s leave it at that — about the game/team. Not about other commenters.

    • Aaron B.

      Peraza was good last year. He has speed, He is multipositional. He is a valuable member of the team no one is saying he isn’t… but he is not the star either, but I think he will have his moments, that is fine we need bench players, right now the focus belongs on the bullpen, that must come around, Bell relies on it so much it is vital to upgrade it anyway possible.

      • RojoBenjy

        He was good last year. And that earned him the chance that he already received. A chance that he did not take advantage of. But he hasn’t earned the length of the leash he has now been given. Only players like Votto and Suarez have earned the length of leash that Peraza has somehow been granted, especially given how two or three other players have been outperforming him.

        I get why he’s in tonight. Both he and Suarez have owned Corbin. Peraza extending his ownership by going 2 for 2 tonight so far.

        But unless it’s a situation like tonight, DD, Farmer, and arguably the kid JVM have earned more playing time than he has. His credit should have run out.

    • VaRedsFan

      Peraza turned a corner last year and deserved a shot to continue his progress…he just hasn’t made the most of his opportunities. He provides decent bench depth. He has also played good defense at 2nd from what I’ve seen.

  24. matt hendley

    GOod to see the 3-day break didn’t slow down Votto. 3 Hit day, 1 RBI. REds knock out Corbin in 3 innings while Mahles planning Pizza delivery in the 5th. excellent start to the series. ROugh up the bullpen now.

  25. vegastypo

    That single was the hardest ball I’ve seen Votto hit in seemingly weeks. Great to see.

  26. RedsMonk65

    Hey wow, look at this!

    Reds up 8-1.

    One of best NL pitchers knocked out of the game in less than 3.

    Every Red but the pitcher has AT LEAST one hit.

    Mahle is dealing.

    Life is good.

  27. Indy Red Man

    Soto is the real deal!! Won’t even be 21 til October and he’s got the game mastered! He’s such a smart hitter….like a lefty Manny Ramirez.

    588 career atbats with 37 doubles, 32 hrs, and 108 rbis

    • VaRedsFan

      Real deal for sure. No sophomore slump….yet.
      Superstar in the making.

  28. vegastypo

    So there is a ‘campaign’ a-brewing to get Dietrich into the All-Star Game. Just one question: If he gets into the home run derby, which Pirates pitcher should pitch to him ??????????

    • matt hendley

      fast forward a couple of years” and tonight on 30:30 we will talk about the first bench-clearing fight during the home run derby”

  29. Pete

    Iglesias has mastered the art of the line drive. Text book.

  30. MK

    Soto’s swing reminds me of a left-handed version of a young Tony Perez.

  31. VaRedsFan

    Casali needs a triple for the cycle!

  32. magi210

    Tucker might be looking over his shoulder for playing time a bit.

  33. Indy Red Man

    Casali>Barnhart and its not close. It really isn’t

    • matt hendley

      from a batting perspective undoubtedly, however, there is some sort of ‘working with pitchers thing’ that TB is better than CC for, supposedly…..according to DB.

      • Indy Red Man

        I don’t know? TB has been the primary backstop for 29th or 30th in era for the last 3-4 years?

    • Roger Garrett

      Your right Indy.Casali has just been the better overall player since the Reds picked him up last year.He could hit 6th or 7th in this lineup everyday and produce at a high level.Not sure if he has fully recovered from his off season surgery so that may factor in some but for now Tucker is the number one catcher.

  34. Indy Red Man

    Tyler Mahle’s walk up song is Alice in Chains? I forgot….he’s easily of my favorites too on this team. Just needs to keep working on his offspeed stuff. The splitter is getting results! Up to 96 mph tonite too!!!

  35. VaRedsFan

    Is it good if your pitcher bats 3 times thru 4 innings?

    • vegastypo

      It’s even better if your pitcher is around long enough to bat 4 or 5 times in seven innings !! (Although there really isn’t a need to push Mahle too far with this big of a lead.)

  36. matt hendley

    Mahle clamps down and escapes the 5th. Would be alright with starting the 6th on a short leash. He has done alright today. REds need to take it home.

  37. Indy Red Man

    Whew that could’ve got ugly!! Good job by Mahle!! Teaching moment there….even great hitters can make outs. Have to throw strikes instead of turning 0-2 and 1-2 into 3-2 (or walks).

  38. Roger Garrett

    Nats can hit but Mahle really really needs to take that next step.That could have went the other way for a grand slam making it a 2 run game.Just have to stay away from those type of things like the walk to Rendon after being ahead 0-2.Hard to pitch with a big lead I expect but again its a step Mahle needs to take and I believe he will.

  39. VaRedsFan

    Not thrilled with that decision to send Nick with no outs.
    Another Votto hit at 102

    • matt hendley

      I gotta say i would have sent him as well. Everything had to go right on that play for Senzel to be out. They executed that time, i would say they wouldn’t do it a second time.

      • VaRedsFan

        Most times I say yes…send him. Ball was hit very hard, Senzel looked back over his shoulder when he approached 3rd, and House gave him a late “go” signal. Be committed (both runner and coach) if you are sending him.

  40. matt hendley

    Pizza alert. Hughes strikeout was #10

  41. VaRedsFan

    Votto out…resting the hammy hopefully is all there is to it.

  42. Indy Red Man

    A JVM sighting! The kid looks dangerous at the plate, but the Reds are already so lefty dominated? You just can’t find atbats for Scooter, DD, Winker, JVM, etc. Somebody has to go? Prob 2 guys need to go?

  43. vegastypo

    Nationals didn’t challenge that call at first? Down by 6, I wouldn’t think they’d have much to lose by doing so.

    • matt hendley

      You might want to check your mailbox, cuase i think at this point the Nats have mailed it in. lol

    • Seat101

      The new “front of the glove ” interpretation would’ve made it difficult to overturn that call.

      I just came Peraza wasn’t able to handle that first hit by the Nats.

      I hope we can get Casali one more at bat

  44. Indy Red Man

    2 more with the Nats then Monday off. Then on to St. Louis for 3 and they just DL’d Molina. He runs that team pretty much. Do the Reds have the talent to run off a decent streak? On paper they do?

  45. Slicc50

    Nice night for the O. I see even Peraza got in on the act. Joey continues where he left off. Who would have thought a week and a half ago, that today Joey Votto would be hitting .253? The Reds can live with a drop off in power from Joey. As long as he is getting on base, there are guys that will drive him in. Casali needs more playing time! I love watching young Nick Senzel hit, he is looking good. Mahle just needs to keep working oh his game. He will get better and better. Need to put a nice little winning streak together here. It is time to get back to the .500 mark! Go Reds!

  46. earmbrister

    Suarez didn’t help Duke there

  47. Slicc50

    I get nervous when Duke is pitching, lol

    • Indy Red Man

      I think Mrs Duke does too. She knows the gravy train is about over:)
      In the last few years the Red had 4-5 guys that could only play for the Reds. Nobody else wanted them, so they’d retire or go to Japan. Now its just Duke.

      Thats progress from Reds management!!

      • earmbrister

        So you’re saying that Duke could only play for the Reds? Yeah, the Reds are so oblivious that they’d pay $2 Mil for someone that could only play for the Reds.

        Gimme a break.

  48. DHud

    Why is Zach duke back on the roster

    Make Zach duke go away.

  49. VaRedsFan

    Raise your hand if you thought that was gone.

  50. Roger Garrett

    Hughes and Duke got it done tonight but it really is just what it is with them and pretty much all releivers.Some times they have it and other times they don’t.I like that Hughes got that second inning without any trouble.Hope we see them both the next time in a game just like this.

  51. matt hendley

    Could have sworn i heard some boos about the pizzas mixed in with the cheers. Oh well. A dominating victory. Do not let history repeat itself. go out tomorow and win the series. Good work all around.

    • Roger Garrett

      Couldn’t agree more Matt.Just got on em from the get go and that was that.Great job by the pen even with the big gulp heard every where when Adams hit that ball in the 8th.Bowman,I like,so far in 4.2 innings he has given up 1 hit and punched out 5.Maybe he gets some high leverage time soon. Reds had a real good approach against Corbin and that was to try and stay away from that wipe out slider.Swung at the first fastball they saw and it worked

  52. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I thought I would include some of these stats about this team, for sabermets out there:

    If I read it correctly, this team has the 3rd best “expected W/L record” in the league.

    They are tied with the 3rd best run differential in the league.

    We are 5 down in 1 run games. Switch just 2 of those, we are above 500 for the season.

    That 8 loss streak at the beginning of the season, if we just have gone 400 during that time, we would be in 3rd place in the division, 1.5 games back, I believe.

    If we just had some more offense.