After splitting an abbreviated two game series with the Cardinals in St. Louis, the Cincinnati Reds (28-33) head to Philadelphia this weekend for a three game series with the Phillies (35-27) at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is set for 7:05 ET.

The Phillies currently lead the NL East by two games over the Atlanta Braves. Their pitching hasn’t been terrible, but the team ERA is 4.32, ninth in the National League. The FIP is second to last in the NL at 4.94. They have also been just average at the plate, with a team slash line of .245/.325/.419. If the Phillies played in any other division, they probably wouldn’t be in first place right now. With a record of 15-9, they are feasting on NL East teams. Against all other teams, the record is 20-18.

Starting Pitchers

Tyler Mahle 61.1 4.26 4.09 3.48 26.20% 5.50%
Zach Eflin 65.2 3.02 4.36 4.81 18.70% 5.10%

The most impressive part of Tyler Mahle’s season has been his K/BB ratio compared to his rookie season last year. His K% has jumped by five percent from a year ago, while he’s lowered his BB% by five percent. His K/BB ratio sits at 4,79, up from 2.08 in 2018. It’s the highest it’s been since the 2017 season when he split time between Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville.

While Mahle is striking out batters more frequently, he’s also giving up home runs. He’s allowed 11 home runs already this season, with four of those coming in his last two outings. He gave up 22 home runs in 23 starts in 2018. He hasn’t been giving up a lot of fly balls (42.9 GB% and 32.4 FB%), but when he does give up fly balls, they go out of the ballpark. His HR/FB% is 20.0% this season.

The Phillies team ERA may be below average right now, but it’s not because of Zach Eflin. Before being put on the IL for back stiffness, he was their best starting pitcher this season, with a 3.02 ERA and 4.36 FIP in 65.1 innings. Tonight he makes his return to the rotation. Eflin won’t strikeout out a lot of batters–he has 51 strikeouts this season–but he won’t walk batters either. His BB% in 2019 is 5.1%, and for his career, it’s 5.8%.

Eflin has six pitches, but relies mainly on a four-seamer, a slider, and a sinker. He will throw a change-up as well, but mostly to left-handed batters. He very rarely throws a curve or a cutter. His velocity has topped out at 93.7 for his fastball and the high 80s for his off-speed pitches this season.


Here’s a fun fact for you. Both team have used their bullpens almost exactly the same number of innings. David Bell has used his bullpen 212.2 innings, while Gabe Kapler has used his bullpen 212.1 times.

The Phillies were off yesterday. The Reds, while not off yesterday, were rained out Tuesday night. Both teams should have a fairly rested bullpen.


1. Nick Senzel (CF)
2. Joey Votto (1B)
3. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
4. Derek Dietrich (2B)
5. Jesse Winker (LF)
6. Yasiel Puig (RF)
7. Jose Iglesias (SS)
8. Tucker Barnhart (C)
9. Tyler Mahle (P)
1. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
2. Bryce Harper (RF)
3. Jean Segura (SS)
4. Rhys Hoskins (1B)
5. J.T. Realmuto (C)
6. Jay Bruce (LF)
7. Scott Kingery (CF)
8. Maikel Franco (3B)
9. Zach Eflin (P)

-No Reds player has more than six at-bats against Eflin. Joey Votto has hit him the best, going 3-for-6 with a walk off him.

-Jay Bruce faces his former team tonight.

News and Notes

-The Chattanooga Lookouts have five All-Stars.

Pre-Game Reading

There’s lots of new content on this website and others today. Here’s a few for your enjoyment:

-If you’re an Athletic subscriber, read C Trent’s latest on AJ Bumpass, former Bearcat and one of the Reds draft selections.

Random Thoughts That Have Nothing To Do with Baseball

My brother moved to Arizona two years ago and will be back home this weekend. One of the first places he’s going when he gets back to Cincinnati tonight? Skyline Chili. He hasn’t had real Skyline (while a nice substitute, Skyline from a can doesn’t count) in 18 months. If you see a 25-year-old guy at a local Skyline restaurant tonight crying tears of joy while eating a cheese coney, it’s probably him.