After a 5-5 road trip, the Cincinnati Reds (15-16) return home to host the Atlanta Braves (14-17) for a Monday night game on ESPN. The Braves come to town in the middle of a nine game road trip, which started off poorly as they were swept by the Washington Nationals over the weekend.
Game 1 features a rematch of the April 30th game starters between these two clubs.
Shelby Miller has had a great first month with the Braves. He leads the team’s rotation in ERA, WHIP, WAR, wins, and quality starts. In his last start on May 5th against the Phillies, Miller threw a complete game, three-hit shutout. The only Miller start that the Braves have lost was against the Reds two weeks ago. In that game, Miller allowed just one run through the first six innings until giving up back-to-back homeruns to Tucker Barnhart and Mike Leake in the top of the 7th.
Mike Leake is coming off 16 consecutive scoreless innings on the backs of two eight-inning scoreless starts. Against the Braves and Pirates, he combined to allow just 8 hits and two walks while striking out five over those 16 innings. Leake has thrown four straight quality starts.
Braves closer Jason Grilli was listed as “day-to-day” yesterday due to back spasms. Jim Johnson will be given any save opportunities in his absence. Overall, the bullpen has been a real weak link for Atlanta. The Braves rank 28th in reliever WAR and 29th in reliever FIP. For comparison, the Reds enter play ranked 20th in each of those categories.
Kevin Gregg was designated for assignment today with Pedro Villarreal being called up from AAA.
The lineup for the Braves features their regular starting platoon against right handed pitchers.
- Nick MarkakisÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Andrelton SimmonsÃ‚Â (R) SS
- Freddie FreemanÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Kelly JohnsonÃ‚Â (L) LF
- Alberto CallaspoÃ‚Â (S) 3B
- A.J. PierzynskiÃ‚Â (L) C
- Jace PetersonÃ‚Â (L) 2B
- Cameron MaybinÃ‚Â (R) CF
- Shelby MillerÃ‚Â (R) P
Today’s Reds lineup is the same as we’ve seen the past few days. Marlon Byrd’s surge has pushed his OPS+ to 100 (league average). Tucker Barnhart is getting the start behind the plate.
- Billy HamiltonÃ‚Â (S) CF
- Marlon ByrdÃ‚Â (R) LF
- Joey VottoÃ‚Â (L) 1B
- Todd FrazierÃ‚Â (R) 3B
- Brandon PhillipsÃ‚Â (R) 2B
- Jay BruceÃ‚Â (L) RF
- Zack CozartÃ‚Â (R) SS
- Tucker BarnhartÃ‚Â (S) C
- Mike LeakeÃ‚Â (R) P
RETURN OF THE BANANA PHONE
The Reds have changed their mind. The Banana Phone is not returning. Insert your comment here.
— Mo Egger (@MoEgger1530) May 11, 2015
FORMER REDS CLOSER
Ryan Madson is a former Reds closer who never threw a pitch for the team. Inked to a $8.5 million guaranteed deal prior to the 2012 season, his season ended without even throwing a pitch in an exhibition game due to a torn ligament in his right elbow. It was Madson’s injury that prompted the organization to move Aroldis Chapman to the bullpen for the 2012 season.
Pitching for the first time since that failed signing, Madson made the Kansas City Royals (at 10% of what the Reds paid him) as a spring training invitee and is putting up numbers that he did in Philadelphia. He has a 1.62 ERA, 0.66 WHIP and struck out 18 batters over 16.2 innings.
The Reds and the Braves are both near-.500 teams, and they split four games just two weeks ago. Both teams have an expected win-loss record of 15-16 based on similar run differentials. Each team’s starter has pitched very well this season, yet each pitcher is outperforming his predictive pitching statistics. You could flip a coin to determine tonight’s winner!
Mike Leake and the Reds are going to have a national audience for tonight’s ESPN Monday Night baseball game. Let’s hope the coin flip goes in their favor.