The Cincinnati Reds will kick off the 2021 season this afternoon by hosting the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ballpark. It’s been a heck of a year, hasn’t it? A lot has changed since last April. The Reds reached the playoffs last year for the first time since 2013. They had their first Cy Young Award winner, but he left via free agency in the offseason. Eugenio Suárez has returned to shortstop after an offseason of trying to find one from outside of the organization. The television booth added both John Sadak and Barry Larkin. New season, new team, new hope.

Starting Lineups

And here is the first lineup of the regular season.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cincinnati Reds

Tommy Edman – 2B Jesse Winker – LF
Paul Goldschmidt – 1B Nick Castellanos – RF
Nolan Arenado – 3B Joey Votto – 1B
Paul DeJong – SS Eugenio Suárez – SS
Tyler O’Neill – LF Mike Moustakas – 3B
Yadier Molina – C Nick Senzel – CF
Dylan Carlson – CF Jonathan India – 2B
Justin Williams – RF Tucker Barnhart – C
Jack Flaherty – SP Luis Castillo – SP

Starting Pitchers

Stats are from 2020.

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Luis Castillo 70.0 3.21 1.23 8.2% 30.5%
Jack Flaherty 40.1 4.91 1.22 9.4% 28.8%
Links: Luis Castillo’s Stats | Jack Flaherty’s Stats

Luis Castillo

The 2020 season was a small sample size as a whole. That means that the splits are even smaller and less useful than other seasons. That said, Luis Casitllo pitched much better against right-handed hitters than he did against left-handed hitters. While it’s not shown below, he also pitched better at home (2.05 ERA in five starts with a 1.08 WHIP) than he did on the road (4.12 ERA in seven starts with a 1.35 WHIP).

2020 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
RHH 139 29 6 0 1 5.0% 34.5% .221 .266 .290
LHH 153 33 12 1 4 11.1% 26.8% .244 .327 .437

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam Sinker Change Slider
Velo 97.7 97.8 88.5 87.1
Usage 26.1% 26.0% 29.1% 18.7%

Jack Flaherty

The same small sample stuff applies for Jack Flaherty as it does for Luis Castillo, but more so since Castillo threw 75% more innings. Last season saw enormous splits for Flaherty on the road versus at home. On the road he posted a 9.45 ERA in four starts, while at home he posted a 2.67 ERA in five starts. He only managed to throw 13.1 innings on the road in his four starts.

2020 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
RHH 76 14 1 0 1 10.5% 30.3% .209 .303 .269
LHH 94 19 3 0 5 8.5% 27.7% .232 .312 .451

Pitch Usage in 2020

4-Seam Sinker Change Slider Curve
Velo 94.3 92.3 86.3 84.6 77.4
Usage 43.9% 11.7% 1.8% 28.8% 13.8%

When and Where

  • Game time: 4:10pm ET
  • Where: Great American Ballpark, Cincinnati.
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio (formerly Fox Sports Ohio), MLB.tv
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 37°, partly cloudy, 5% chance of rain

News and Notes

The Full Opening Day Roster

We posted it in a separate article, but in case you wound up here without first seeing that and are interested here’s the link to see the whole thing.

The Alternate Site Roster

Until the minor league season begins in May, Major League Baseball teams will have alternate sites once again. The Reds will have theirs in Louisville this year at the Triple-A facility. You can see the full roster of 31 players at RedsMinorLeagues.com. A few interesting names are not on the list, including the teams top prospect Hunter Greene.

Jonathan India’s debut

It’s been nearly 60 years since a Cincinnati Reds player has made their debut at second base. That player? Pete Rose in 1963. It’s been over 30 years since a position player made their Major League debut in the Opening Day starting lineup. That was Chris Sabo in 1988. He won the Rookie of the Year and was an All-Star that season.

How the Reds built Spincinnati

C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic wrote about the Cincinnati Reds rebuilding the entire pitching philosophy, and the importance of a high spin rate within the organization. Of course, as noted by pitching coach Derek Johnson, high spin isn’t the only way a pitcher can find success. Still, many of the pitchers the team has targeted of late are high spin rate pitchers and it’s helped turn things around.

You can attend Alternate Site games in Louisville

In a surprising move, the Louisville Bats announced yesterday afternoon that the alternate site that will be held at their facility will host 11 games in April against other alternate site teams from the region and that there will be a limited amount of tickets available for purchase. You can buy them right now at BatsBaseball.com.

In Case You Missed It

This morning kicked off Ashley Davis’ bi-monthly column here at Redleg Nation and her first contribution this season looks at why outfielder Nick Castellanos could be primed to break out for the Cincinnati Reds this season.

ZiPS Projected Standings

Dan Szymborski released the ZiPS projected standings at Fangraphs this morning. ZiPS projects the Reds to finish 80-82 and in 4th place, six games back of the Cardinals who are projected to win the division. Cincinnati’s projected playoff percentage is 17.6% according to ZiPS. The Pirates are at the bottom of the division at 65-97 with a 0.0% chance of the playoffs.

139 Responses

  1. west larry

    I’m so ready for this season to start. Keep the rain away. Go Reds!!

    Reply
  2. Eric the Red

    Go Reds! You know, if we actually have a SS on the roster who can credibly play the position and hit 50 homeruns, it’s a good thing we didn’t do anything in the offseason to block that guy. I hope it works out and we go wire-to-wire again!

    Reply
  3. Magnum 44

    If you look at the lineup not many easy outs……They are tied for first let’s hope for an exciting season

    Reply
  4. Rednat

    i think we are going to stink this year yet I am excites as all get out! Go Reds!

    Reply
  5. Jimbo44CN

    Well, all the experts are predicting the Reds to finish lower than the Mud Hens, so let’s hope that lights a fire under these guys and we can fool all the so called experts. GO REDS!!!!

    Reply
    • TR

      They can predict all they want. All that really counts is winning.

      Reply
  6. Indy Red Man

    No Reds or Pacers on dish (Fox Midwest) in Indy. I’m gone, but Directv can’t come out til next Thursday(( Going to hit the sportsbook to watch our boys in the meantime when I can. I don’t miss the Pacers because the NBA sucks and cherry picks their teams. Its basically like 4-5 Bauer to the Dodgers moves every year in the NBA

    Reply
  7. Eric the Red

    Of course….a jam shot against the shift. I really hate the Cardinals.

    Reply
    • Greenfield Red

      He was trying to hit the other way and did so. The Reds could take a lesson. I stand by my prediction.

      Reply
      • Eric the Red

        Oh, I agree about the value of doing things like hitting the other way. It sure beats the strategy of exclusively “rip away and hope to pull the ball over the fence.”

      • Jimbo44cn

        Stupid shift on a rightie. David Bell 2021

  8. VaRedsFan

    Inauspicious start for the Reds.
    The Suarez Defense comes home to roost, as predicted.

    Reply
  9. RedsMonk65

    Wow 6-0 Cards with only one out in the first. Suarez already with an error. Castillo looks shaky. Horrible start to the year.

    Reply
  10. burtgummer01

    And this one belongs to the Cardinals
    Sigh
    Get used to it Reds fans

    Reply
  11. VaRedsFan

    6-0…..it was fun while it lasted….which means the pregame lineup announcements.

    Reply
  12. J

    At least the horrendous spring training results don’t matter, because then I’d be really worried about this team.

    Reply
  13. SultanofSwaff

    Great to see Barnhart wait until the 7th batter to call for a changeup. *facepalm*

    Reply
  14. Indy Red Man

    Lol. Get’em on Saturday. No need to overreact, but when you lose an ace then it forces everyone else up and compounds the problem. I love Luis, but lets not forget he blew 3-5 run leads multiple times in 2019. Atleast 4 times I think. He’s a #2 and Mahle sure as hades isn’t a #2….he’s a #4

    Reply
  15. Sliotar

    -Cardinals bat around

    -Suarez looks like an out of place Little Leaguer, whiffs on play

    – Reds TV booth starts apologizing for Suarez, Castillo’s cold hand.

    – After 6 runs, play-by-play guy (who is this guy?) overhypes Reds coming to bat.

    Pretty sub-optimal start.

    Reply
  16. ClevelandRedsFan

    Welp, Suarez SS experiment is going well so far.

    Reply
  17. SultanofSwaff

    Latin pitcher on a day so cold even a high school team would cancel, you could almost see this coming……I said so to my Cardinal fan coworker 2 hours ago.

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      My son’s HS game cancelled.

      But they don’t get paid to play.

      And they are teens, not men

      Reply
  18. docproc

    Suarez chose an awful time to muff a DP ball hit by the slowest player in the league.

    Reply
    • VaRedsFan

      Should have been a 1 run inning, but hey we get India in the game instead of Farmer. If India drives in 5 the move will be a wash

      Reply
    • SultanofSwaff

      Broke down late AND whiffed on it. Can’t decide which is more troubling.

      Reply
  19. Doc

    Once again, they did not come out of ST ready to compete. Castillo’s Cy Young might need to wait another year.

    Reply
  20. Doug Gray

    Just dropping in to try and head off *some* of you guys and gals….

    We allow you to be mad, and angry. We do not allow insults of people – including the players. We do not allow cursing.

    Thanks.

    Reply
      • Doug Gray

        Now you’re speaking my language!

    • Big Dan

      I don’t think anyone said anything inappropriate- just saying we wishes Suarez made the plays. It can’t all be ice cream and rainbows

      Reply
      • Doug Gray

        They didn’t. But I’ve been doing this long enough to just try and get ahead of the ones who think they can get it in there. As I said – people can be mad, angry, voice their displeasure. Just no insults, no cursing.

    • RojoBenjy

      Doug-

      Are Drat! and Blast! going to be allowed this season?

      If so I want to set the trend

      Reply
  21. Mk

    Terrible blocking mechanics by the Cardinals anointed Catching God.

    Reply
  22. SultanofSwaff

    Geno struck out in nearly half his spring training at-bats. Probably should be a #6 hitter if he stays over 30%.

    Reply
  23. SultanofSwaff

    Can’t believe major league ballplayers still pop the mitt prior to making their throw……that’s 3 steps for the runner.

    Reply
    • Sliotar

      If there are more defensive shenanigans in the Top of the 3rd and the lead for STL increases, maybe Castillo should get pulled before he comes up to bat.

      Zero reason to have him trying to grind, in this situation, in the first start of the year.

      Let the bullpen guys take over.

      Reply
  24. Frankie Tomatoes

    At least they are playing 161 more games this year. Makes one loss easier to overcome.

    Reply
    • TR

      Some needed positivity in a long season. Two games to go before an L is put on this series.

      Reply
  25. Nate

    It’s only one game but this defense looks troubling and I don’t think the offense will be able to make up the difference over the course of the season.

    Reply
    • Sliotar

      Good call, Doc.

      That is exactly who needs to be showing he can get regular-season outs, in a 7-1 game.

      Reply
  26. VaRedsFan

    Suarez will continue to bat .230 until he starts hitting the ball to right-center like he used to. Hope he can adjust. It took Votto 2.5 seasons to quit the crouch.

    Reply
  27. LDS

    If we were honest with ourselves, we all knew this was coming. As I half facetiously predicted on an earlier thread, the Reds lose their first 6 and Bell is out. Get to cling to what we have.

    Reply
    • burtgummer01

      Yep it’s all Bells fault that moneybags Bob didn’t plan on making the team any better
      Smh

      Reply
      • LDS

        5th inning and has used up his outfielders. Yep, it’s on Bell. And the Reds fragile doll is broken once again (Senzel).

    • RojoBenjy

      The Cardinals have to play in the same weather. Perhaps a few breaks will come for the Reds before it’s over

      Reply
  28. Preach

    Castillo seems better when he actually throws that vaunted changeup. Huh.

    Reply
  29. ClevelandRedsFan

    Blastellanos!!!!

    Losing baseball still beats the sticks out of no baseball.

    Reply
  30. Indy Red Man

    Castillo throwing 93-94 with no Ks…..not good? Get him out of there.

    Reply
    • J

      But left him in to bunt because it was essential to more of his bad pitching before yanking him.

      Reply
  31. docproc

    Sorry, Joey, but you should have come up with both the throws that were bounced to you today.

    Reply
    • VaRedsFan

      1st one was super tough. The 2nd one, 75% of little leaguers could scoop.

      Reply
      • Indy Red Man

        Votto was drafted next to last in my fbb draft last night. 12 teams 23 players each and that just factors in offense and not his lousy defense or baserunning. Thats why you don’t give 10 year contracts. That was insane.

    • VaRedsFan

      The scorekeeper gave a hit on that? That’s as bad as the play itself.

      Reply
  32. Tom Mitsoff

    It sure would have been nice to see a better effort today.

    Reply
  33. VaRedsFan

    Great catch Senzel! Hope he’s OK….looked to be grabbing the shoulder.

    Reply
    • JayTheRed

      Nope he is injured here we go again. Shakes head. Senzel just can’t seem to stay healthy.

      At least the reds are trying to make somewhat of a comeback.

      Reply
  34. J

    After letting him hit, NOW it’s time to change pitchers after one more out has been recorded because he’s not pitching well. Who could possibly have seen this coming?

    Reply
  35. Sliotar

    Bedrosian throwing high lollipops for 2-run HRs will make for a short career pitching in GABP … especially when it warms up.

    Reply
    • Tom Mitsoff

      These guys in the back of the bullpen are going to be on very short leashes. People have to go when the pitchers come off the injured list.

      Reply
  36. Indy Red Man

    Just 1 game, but was Castillo throwing 94-95 in the first? It got ugly quick when his velocity was down a few years ago. His fastball is straight and for some reason he can never get past the “keep the ball down” coaching that every young pitcher receives. If he could keep the 98 at the top of the zone then we’d see him at his full potential.
    94-95? Mediocre at best. Hope its just the weather or getting untracked, etc. If he’s not right then they’re done.

    Reply
  37. VaRedsFan

    The hidden runs….5 in the 1st (although 4 were earned, because you can’t assume a double play even though Molina was hoofing it down the line).

    3 more that inning due to the Votto fumble (not called an error…all earned).

    Reply
    • Yerisdad

      So it’s Votto’s fault that Castillo threw a one hopper to first???

      Reply
  38. Jonathan Linn

    I cant listen to the game online through iheart radio from Northern Indiana. Anyone else have this issue? J thought you could online this year

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      There is a regional limitation to listening online. I do not know how far the availability stretches, but apparently you live too far.

      Reply
  39. ClevelandRedsFan

    And Senzel hurt…again. That’s just the cherry on top of a disaster for opening day.

    Reply
    • Indy Red Man

      Senzel made it thru 1 at-bat. Same with Josh Donaldson. He pulled a Senzel earlier….hit a double to the wall and hurt himself jogging to 2nd. I give up on him officially. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life? Maybe this Ohio State kid Paris Campbell with 8 plays in 2 years and 5 broken bones, but thats the NFL

      Reply
      • JayTheRed

        He’s cooked shoulder you can’t do anything in baseball with. The guy is a bigger injury nightmare than Eric Davis was.

        Ouch Tyler Stephanson just doubled up and made us not score. This team is doing so well today I just am glad my Secondary team took it to the Yankess today.

      • Doug Gray

        Maybe pump the brakes just a little bit on that one. He might be in the lineup on Saturday. We have no idea how injured he actually is.

    • ClevelandRedsFan

      They’re saying left shoulder injury. Doesn’t sound great. Shoulder injuries are never good for hitters.

      I hate to believe it…but he can not stay on the field.

      Reply
      • Sliotar

        Senzel has –

        -injury today, diving

        -was shaken up from hitting wall

        -way back, had a collision with a 2B coming from the infield (Gennett) ?

        But … Reds will keep running him out in CF.

        His best shot at maintaining a MLB career may be as a DH, when it comes to the NL.

      • Indy Red Man

        Easy solution to that. Pull a Nelson Cruz and just turn and watch the ball hit the wall. If Cruz can gift the WLBs a WS by not going for the ball vs wall scenario then Senzel should be able to do it. Only 161 after today. The guy just isnt going to cut it. Trade him before he gets too old. Get him back and hope for a few good months or half a season and trade him

    • 2020ball

      nice AB too. Interesting approach to the high FBs, looked like he was trying to go to the left side of the field with them and eventually was able to.

      Reply
  40. Hanawi

    Just joining on. Looks like defense has been a little rough, which is probably to be expected. Makes Castillo’s outing a little harder to judge, but pitching in the cold weather is not going to be easy.

    Good news is that the offense is already looking better!

    Reply
  41. Nick in NKY

    Perhaps early this season we’ll finally get some resolution on a couple long running debates; whether or not Nick Senzel is actually made of glass, and whether or not Aquino is August ’19 or September ’19.

    Reply
  42. VaRedsFan

    India great debut….2 hits and made all the plays in the field so far.

    Reply
  43. VaRedsFan

    Blandino….the human take machine. Saw that so much when he’s had chances before

    Reply
  44. Preach

    I loved Barry Larkin as a player……and I’m going to end that comment right there.

    Reply
    • JayTheRed

      I have enjoyed Larkin as an announcer today. It’s been pretty good.

      Reply
      • Frankie Tomatoes

        It’s been very painful to listen to.

  45. Preach

    Am I the only one who wonders how Jesse swing can look so good when everything he does before his swing looks awful?

    Reply
    • J

      I’m always surprised whenever he makes contact. No matter how many times I’ve seen him do it.

      Reply
      • Preach

        Farmer is wearing a T shirt tonight.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Stevenson didn’t know how many outs there were!

      Reply
      • Tom Mitsoff

        Huge momentum swing right there.

      • J

        Baseball is hard. So many things to keep track of. How many outs are there, what base am on, what’s the objective of the game, etc.

      • JayTheRed

        Tom Brewers win in Extras did you see that. Pirates won too.

        At least the after Bedrosian left the bullpen has held them in runs.
        Your right though that metal error really hurt. We don’t have too many inning left to score in.

  46. Preach

    Usually a bad sign in game 1:
    “Now pitching, a guy I don’t think I’ve ever heard of”.

    Reply
      • JayTheRed

        He did a nice job though. Lets Hope they keep pecking away at the Cardinals lead.

  47. Preach

    They’re not doing the pronoun shift because they’re pitching him off speed. Duh

    Reply
  48. Preach

    This is really strange. Reds give up six runs in the first inning, and this might be a “game that got away”

    Reply
  49. Indy Red Man

    You get 6 hits, 3 walks, and 2 hrs from 1-4 in your order and you’re still down 5. Not good. 1 loss is just 1 loss, but they need Senzel and Castillo to be 100% and thats just to flirt with something like 83-79. Then throw in the fielding issues and the low baseball IQ (baserunning usually) from the Reds thats been a staple for the last 20 non-Rolen Reds seasons. I’m not overreacting, but not a good Opening day.

    Reply
  50. JayTheRed

    If Senzel is injured for any significant time and Aikyama is not going to be back for a few weeks I wonder if they try to Resign Dee Strange Gordan. Noticed he has rejected several minor league deals according to MLBRumors.

    Reply
  51. Brennan

    Uh, is it impossible to watch the game on tv in Cincinnati right now? I was just watching it in the top of the 9th and the channel just switched to the Cavs game.

    Happen to anyone else?

    Reply
      • Preach

        Lol. “What’s Eugenio playing today”. Anytime he boofs on the field, someone can crop him into a different sport uniform.

  52. JayTheRed

    Only thing I want to add to today’s game is that it did seem like there was a different hitting approach overall by the team a whole. Lets hope they keep that. Today we were put in a hole from the beginning and I don’t expect that to happen on a daily basis. Castillo was pitching in the coldest weather ever on opening day in Cincinnati and me being a former high school / college pitcher from Wisconsin I can tell you it definitely is harder to pitch well in cold weather.

    My honest hopes for the 1st series is to win at least 1 game. We tend to never play that well against St. Louis so if we can get 1 win. I would be ok with that. Winning the series would be a huge benefit though but I’ll take 1 win and move forward.

    Reply

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