There are 30 teams in Major League Baseball, currently five of which are undefeated, and you, yes you Reds fans, have the opportunity today to watch one of those five (hint: it’s not the Cardinals). The Reds will also be giving away (Super) Todd Frazier bobbleheads to the first 25,000 fans. Once again, all sunshine at the diamond today, and fun fact, the Reds are undefeated in games in which the sun makes an appearance.
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Michael Wacha makes his first start of 2015 after battling injuries and sitting out three months in 2014. Wacha did pitch against the Reds three times last season, going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA. In two of the three games, Wacha did not make it past the fifth inning and was touched up for six runs in one. The Cardinals are obviously hoping that the September workhorse from 2013 can return in 2015, but at the same time, they are expecting to limit Wacha’s innings so as not to push his arm.
The one and only Johnny Cueto makes his return to the mound this afternoon after shutting out the Pirates for 7 solid innings on Opening Day. Against the Cardinals last year, Cueto went 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA and 0.950 WHIP. Over the course of 20 innings, Cueto faced 79 batters, striking out 19 (24.1%) and walking 6 (7.9%).
Kevin Gregg hasn't fooled anyone yet this season. Except Bryan Price, I guess.
— Chad Dotson (@dotsonc) April 11, 2015
— Greg Dafler (@gdafler) April 11, 2015
So those two tweets pretty accurately encapsulate how the Reds bullpen has fared through its first four games. Every win has been attributed to the bullpen, J.J. Hoover taking two of them, but the bullpen did give up two of those leads in the first place. The most telling stat of the first four games, however, may be that of the four runs the bullpen has given up, three have been by Kevin Gregg. On the other side of the coin, J.J. Hoover is at least an early frontrunner to become the Reds setup man. Given how he pitched last season, I’m sure Redleg Nation collectively shuddered at that sentence but hey:
Just like we all predicted. RT @CincyRedsZone: J.J. Hoover leads the MLB in wins. This.
— Weathered Fan (@WeatheredFan) April 11, 2015
Mike Matheny is tweaking his lineup from yesterday a bit, putting Jon Jay in center instead of Randal Grichuk and shifting Yadier Molina and Kolten Wong down in the order accordingly.
Bryan Price is once again going with the same lineup as the past three games. If it works, don’t fix it.
BILLY THE KID
At this point, telling you that Billy Hamilton is fast is both redundant and insulting. Everyone knows that he’s fast. The fact that Hamilton is 7 for 7 in stealing bases this year is just not surprising in slightest. The guy even scares pitchers into balking him over. But what’s truly exciting for Reds fans: Hamilton is getting smarter at his craft.
“He’s [first base coach Billy Hatcher] telling me what he sees and I’m telling him what I see,” Hamilton said. “We’re making the decision on when I should go or not or what he thinks is going to happen the next pitch.”
“He’s been one of those guys, I didn’t really do that last year. I didn’t really ask him on what pitch I should go. It was, ‘I’m going, Hatch no matter what’s happening.’ I learned the game this offseason a little bit better.”
This team is fun right now, and as much as I’ve enjoyed all of the nail biters the past few days, I’m ready for the Reds to pile on today behind Cueto. Why the Cardinals aren’t pitching Wainwright after playing just three games in the last five days, I don’t know, but I’ll take it. I’ve missed mid-day games. There’s just nothing quite like a sun-washed diamond.