The Cincinnati Reds (13-17) will host the Chicago Cubs (18-12) tonight as they open a series at Great American Ballpark. Hopefully. The weather looks like it could become a factor.

Starting Lineups

Cincinnati Reds

Chicago Cubs

Shogo Akiyama – CF Ian Happ – CF
Nick Castellanos – RF Anthony Rizzo – 1B
Jesse Winker – LF Javier Báez – SS
Eugenio Suárez – 3B Kyle Schwarber – LF
Mike Moustakas – 1B Willson Contreras – DH
Matt Davidson – DH Jason Heyward – RF
Freddy Galvis – 2B David Bote – 3B
Jose Garcia – SS Victor Caratini – C
Tucker Barnhart – C Jason Kipnis – 2B
Tyler Mahle – SP Kyle Hendricks – SP

This day two, game three without Joey Votto in the lineup. Jose Garcia is back at shortstop after getting game two of the double header last night off. Matt Davidson gets the start at designated hitter despite a right-handed starter being on the mound.

Starting Pitchers

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Tyler Mahle 16.1 4.41 1.35 11.1% 29.2%
Kyle Hendricks 38.0 3.55 1.00 2.7% 18.7%
Links: Tyler Mahle’s Stats | Kyle Hendrick’s Stats

Tyler Mahle

When the season was set to begin, Tyler Mahle wasn’t exactly being counted on to be in the rotation. Tonight he’ll be making his 4th start, though, as filling in and pitching in double headers has opened up plenty of opportunities for the young right-handed starter.

2020 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
RHH 32 9 1 0 2 12.5% 34.4% .333 .406 .593
LHH 40 5 0 1 0 10.0% 25.0% .152 .275 .212

Small sample size alert here, but so far this season right-handed hitters have crushed Tyler Mahle, and he’s dominated left-handed hitters. That is the exact opposite of how things went in 2019 for Mahle. In 2019 lefties had an .875 OPS against him, while righties were at a .690 OPS against him.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam Cutter Slider Split Curve
Velo 94.2 87.6 85.6 88.5 80.5
Usage 56% 15% 15% 13% 1%

This season is seeing Tyler Mahle scrap his curveball that he threw 23% of the time last season in favor of a slider and using his cutter a bit more. His fastball velocity is up a tad this year. His cutter velocity is down nearly 3 MPH, and the pitch is also showing different movement than it did last season – moving more like a slider than a pure cutter. The pitch is still different from his slider, though.

Kyle Hendricks

If you talk about consistency and you should bring up Kyle Hendricks.In 2018 his ERA was 3.44. In 2019 it was 3.46. And this season it’s 3.55. The right-handed starter is among the lowest velocity starters in the game, but he has elite movement and control, helping him overcome that he can’t overpower hitters.

2020 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
vsRHH 65 19 3 0 2 4.6% 12.3% .311 .338 .459
vsLHH 85 15 2 0 2 1.2% 23.5% .181 .188 .277

There’s some reverse splits happening here, and in 2020 they are happening to the extreme. Kyle Hendricks also had some reverse splits in 2019, but they weren’t nearly as pronounced. Lefties had a .669 OPS against him, while righties had a .703 OPS against him. Lefties struck out more often, and walked more often, but hit for less power, too.

This season Hendricks has nearly twice the strikeout rate against lefties. He doesn’t walk anyone, but righties are making a ton of contact against him while at least walking on a rare occasion.

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam 2-Seam Change Curve
Velo 87.8 87.5 80.1 72.7
Usage 18% 33% 34% 15%

We’re still dealing with a small sample size of the 2020 season, but this year Kyle Hendricks has been using his fastball less this season, and going more with his secondary stuff compared to last year. In 2019 his fastball usage was 62%, while this year it’s down to 51%.

When and Where

  • Game time: 7:10pm ET
  • Where: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati.
  • Watch: Fox Sports Ohio, MLB.tv
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 82°, partly cloudy, 20% chance of rain

NL Central Standings

Team Wins Losses GB
Cubs 18 12
Cardinals 11 11 3.0
Reds 13 17 5.0
Brewers 13 17 5.0
Pirates 9 19 8.0

News and Notes

The Reds don’t plan to be sellers at the trade deadline

There are only a few days left until the trade deadline on Monday afternoon. The Reds currently sit at 13-17 on the season, but they don’t plan to become sellers.

The Reds are planning to go for it, not become sellers

Updated Playoff Odds

Entering the double header yesterday, the Cincinnati Reds playoff odds weren’t great. After sweeping the double header, and then having the Pirates also sweep a double header against the Cardinals, the Reds playoff odds improved dramatically.

Entering Thursday Entering Friday
Fangraphs 30.2% 49.7%
Baseball Reference 8.9% 23.5%

The numbers are different between the two sites because of how they calculate it. Fangraphs uses projections for the remaining 2020 season to calculate their odds. Makes sense, right? Baseball Reference uses the teams last 100 games played to simulate and then calculate the odds moving forward. That doesn’t make much sense given that the weight there is far more on 2019 than 2020, and the teams are very different. Still, it’s worth presenting both sets of data. As they say – there’s a reason you play the games.

Veteran Hitters are Letting the Reds Down

Chad Dotson wrote about the struggles of the Cincinnati Reds veteran hitters over at Cincinnati Magazine earlier today.

Bringing up Garcia was a good first step. What management does next—and what the veterans on this team do in the next few weeks—just may determine whether this team, despite all the high hopes, is destined to join nearly every other Reds team of the last 30 years in the dustbin of history.

Go read the whole thing.

Eugenio is back?