The Reds open their second series of the season tonight at GABP versus the Milwaukee Brewers. Starting time is 6:40PM. Note this will be the starting time for Monday-Thursday night games through the end of May. While the Reds and Pirates split their opening series, the Brewers opened by winning 3 of 4 at home from the Cardinals. The bigger news is 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich has picked up where he left off last season. In 4 games he has 4 home runs and an OPS of 2.250, yes, an OPS of 2.250. That’s not a typo or April Fool joke.
Tanner Roark for the Reds and the Brewers Zach will be on mound to start the game. Both are right handers.
Tanner Roark is one of the three veteran pitchers acquired by the Reds in the off season to bolster their rotation. The Reds traded pitching prospect Tanner Rainey to the Nationals for the 32 year old Roark who will be eligible for free agency at season’s end. Roarks’ career began when he was drafted deep in the 2008 draft (25th round; #873 overall) by the Texas Rangers. In 2010 Roark was traded to the Nats. With the Nats Roark carved out an improbable MLB career eventually making 141 MLB starts (182 appearances) between 2013-18. His career FIP (4.27) and FIP- (105) suggest he is a league average pitcher.
The Reds hope Roark’s sinker based repertoire will play well in GABP. But Roark sports a full arsenal of pitches. In addition to the sinker (40%) look for a 4 seam fastball about 20% of the time augmented by a slider, curve, and change about equally mixed to fill out his pitch count.The Reds also hope Roark will be an innings eater as he has pitched at least 180 innings per season since 2016. Tonight against the slugging Brewers we will get the first test of those hopes.
Like Roark, Brewers Starter Zach Davies has also defied long odds to make it to MLB since being drafted #785 overall (26th round) by Baltimore in 2011. Davies was traded to the Brewers in July of 2015 and made his MLB debut later that same year. He has appeared in 80 MLB games, all starts, since. Following complete seasons in the Brewer rotation in 2016 (28 starts) and 2017 (33 starts), rotator cuff irritation limited Davies to 13 starts in 2018. Davies is also similar to Roark in featuring a sinker as his primary fastball. Look for him to throw the sinker between 55-60% of the time and spread the remainder of his pitches somewhat evenly among a cutter, curve and, change up.
The back end of the Reds pen is rested. Michael Lorenzen and Robert Stephenson both worked 2 innings yesterday and are most likely very limited or not available. The silver lining here is that Lorenzen should be fully available for off the bench work.
Matt Albers worked 2 innings Sunday. The guy that really matters, Josh Hader, last worked on Saturday for just 1 inning.
News and Notes
Reds have a rotation update. Castillo on Wednesday, Mahle pushed back to Thursday:
Updated #Reds rotation…
?? Tonight. vs. MIL: RHP Tanner Roark
?? Tues. vs. MIL: RHP Anthony DeSclafani
?? Wed. vs. MIL: RHP Luis Castillo
?? Thurs. at PIT: RHP Tyler Mahle
?? Fri. at PIT: RHP Sonny Gray pic.twitter.com/w1ltuG31Iv
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 1, 2019
And perhaps we have our first lineup controversy of the David Bell era roiling up
Jesse Winker sitting consecutive games against righties is not encouraging. https://t.co/S1R801p5Ju
— Matt Wilkes (@_MattWilkes) April 1, 2019
Reds won’t face a lefty in the first 16 games. Kemp is going to play against more than lefties. https://t.co/Fce70LbrjO
— John Fay (@johnfayman) April 1, 2019
And so another season is underway. Hopes are soaring among Reds fans because of the Reds busy off season. Yet the first series of the season versus the Pirates underscored that baseball is a sport where the long view is best. On Thursday the Reds looked like world beaters. Sunday they were much the polar opposite. As the events swing back and forth, keep in mind that even the best teams often win just around 60% of their games. Thus over a season, changing the outcome of 1 game in 10 typically defines the difference of how teams align. Little things do add up over time to make a big difference. 160 games remain to see where toward the middle of the spectrum the Reds will end up. GO REDS!