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.


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.



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:

Patrick Corbin 3.33 1.03 0.99 7.6% 28.0%
Tyler Mahle 5.25 1.59 1.60 5.1% 25.2%



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


         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, and Cot’s Contracts