Tonight the streaking Reds (32-45; 5th NL Central) look for their eighth straight win in the opening match of a quick 3 game road trip versus the Braves (44-32; 1st NL East) at Sun Trust Park. The last time the Reds won as many as 8 consecutive games was in 2012 during the 10 game winning streak which  resulted in Marty Brennaman having his then still long but thinning signature locks subsequently shaved at home plate.  Let’s hope the guys can keep it going if for no other reason than to see what sort of encore Marty comes up with this time around. Game time is 7:35ET.

Starting Pitchers

Tyler Mahle is scheduled to square off against Mike Foltynewicz of the Braves in a battle of right handers.

With his 16th start of his rookie season tonight,  Mahle has reached the halfway point of a full season in the Reds starting rotation. His ride to this point has been uneven. Flashes of promise have been punctuated by reminders that work remains if he is to reach heights Reds fans are hoping for him to achieve. The good news is that in four June starts, Mahle has allowed just 4 earned runs in 22.1 innings of work and surrendered only 2 home runs after being plagued by the long ball previously. The sore thumb is that Mahle has completed just those 22.1 innings in the four starts. However he is young; and, now that he is seemingly learning to achieve otherwise successful outcomes, improved game longevity should (hopefully) come with time and experience.

Mike Foltynewicz was the 19th overall pick in the June 2010 draft. He was drafted by the Houston Astros and subsequently acquired by the Braves prior to the start of the 2015 season in the  trade which sent Evan Gattis and James Hoyt to the Astros.  In short order the Braves placed him into their rotation where he has been since. In 79 career starts with the Braves, Foltynewicz has accrued 3.8 bWAR, 2.3 of them coming this season, his age 26 year. Tonight Foltynewicz returns from a short DL stint brought on by bicep tightness in his pitch arm. In his 7 starts prior to going on the DL, his era was just 0.86 while he held opposition hitters to a sub .200 batting average.

2018 Comparative Stats:

PITCHER xFIP IP/ Start HR/9 BB% K%
Tyler Mahle 4.16 5.1 1.67 9.3% 22.0%
Mike Foltynewicz 3.48 5.2 0.57 10.2% 28.9%

Foltynewicz is prone to walking folks at times but compensates with an extremely high K rate and extremely low HR rate. Mahle can follow the same prescription if he can nudge up his already very good K rate just a bit and continue to allow home runs at the reduced rate (0.81/ 9) he has in June.

Bullpens

The Reds pen was tasked to cover 4 innings on Sunday.  Four players pitched an inning each. Of the four, only Amir Garrett was pitching on a consecutive day (total of 1.2 innings; 15 pitches for both days) and would figure to be  somewhat limited tonight.

The Braves pen has been called upon to provide 16.1 innings over their last 3 games due to an extra inning game on Friday which required 8 bullpen innings. However, their 8.1 bullpen innings on Saturday and Sunday were well distributed with no one working both of those days. Still if the Reds could get into the Braves pen early, the accumulative effect might be felt throughout the series.

Starting Lineups

             REDS             BRAVES
1. Scott Schebler (RF)
2. Tucker Barnhart (C)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Scooter Gennett (2B)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Jesse Winker (LF)
7. Jose Peraza (SS)
8. Tyler Mahle (P)
9. Billy Hamilton (CF)
1. Ender Inciarte (CF)
2. Ozzie Albies (2B)
3. Freddie Freeman (1B)
4. Nick Markakis (RF)
5. Kurt Suzuki (C)
6. Danny Santana (LF)
7. Johan Camargo (3B)
8. Dansby Swanson (SS)
9. Mike Foltynewicz (P)

News and Notes

Read all about the Reds newest minor league affiliate

Get busy at the All Star ballot box  and help make this so. While you are there don’t forget to vote for Suarez and Votto too.

And let’s hope Scooter does an encore to this again tonight

Final Thoughts

The last week has brought heady times for Reds fans, a welcome relief to the early season nadir which threatened to drive us all into a season long fit of depression concerning the Reds direction.

The improvement in the Reds outcomes of late has everything to do with a leap forward in quality and stability of the starting pitching. However, there figure to be more tough times ahead. Even as tonight’s starter Tyler Mahle and Sal Romano seem to be growing into their rolls, it is unlikely they have the innings in their arms to make it through to the end of the season. Matt Harvey will certainly be traded. How the Reds fill these openings and the outcomes produced by the players who take over these innings will figure substantially not just  in 2018 but also for future planning. The prescription now as back at the start of 2018 is to try our best to stay on even keel.

Enjoy the moment to its fullest; but, keep those seat belts buckled. GO REDS!


Data and stats courtesy of  Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and MLB.com