After a successful first home stand, the Cincinnati Reds (5-1) look to bring their offensive machine on the road with them when they head to the desert to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5) at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. Get ready for a dose of #LateNightReds, folks. First pitch is at 9:40 pm EDT. You can watch the game on Bally Sports Ohio or listen on 700 WLW.

How impressive were the Reds’ bats over the first week of the season? The Reds have scored the most runs through the first six games for any MLB team since 1999 and the most runs through the first six games in all of Reds history.

Meanwhile the Diamondbacks have started in the opposite direction from the Reds, only winning two out of seven games to the Padres and the Rockies on the road. They’ve allowed 43 runs as well, including a couple of offensive explosions.

Starting Pitchers

In his first start of 2021 on Saturday, Tyler Mahle pitched well against the Cardinals, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out nine batters in five innings. Two of those runs came via home runs to Paul DeJong.

Mahle’s fastball averaged 95.1 mph on Saturday, up from 93.9 in 2020. He used all three of his pitches about the same as last year as well, with the four-seam fastball being utilized the most, followed by his slider. He only uses his split-finger about 11 percent of the time and almost always to left-handed batters. Mahle’s highest whiff rate on Saturday was actually his slider at 28.6 percent, but his fastball was right behind at 23.5 percent. He did end up with more strikeouts off his fastball, but he also threw his fastball more.

The Diamondbacks will counter with right-handed pitcher Taylor Widener, also making his second start of the season. Widener pitched Sunday, shutting out the Padres and only allowing three hits with five strikeouts and three walks in six innings. It was his first start in the majors. In 2020, his rookie season, he pitched in 12 games out of the bullpen.

Widener relies on three pitches: four-seam fastball, slider and change-up. He’s predominantly a fastball pitcher–he threw it almost 65 percent of the time in 2020–and uses his breaking pitches as secondary pitches. He will throw the slider mostly to right-handed batters. The change-up gets thrown mostly to left-handed batters. Widener’s fastball averaged 94.5 mph in 2020. In his first game this year, his fastball velocity was a little down, only averaging 92.8 mph. His breaking pitches will average between 85 and 86 mph.

Stats are from 2020.

Tyler Mahle 47.2 3.59 3.88 4.59 1.15 29.9% 10.4%
Taylor Widener 20.0 4.50 6.49 5.65 1.30 25.0% 13.6%


Cincinnati Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks

LF Jesse Winker CF Tim Locastro
RF Nick Castellanos RF Kole Calhoun
1B Joey Votto 1B Christian Walker
SS Eugenio Suárez LF David Peralta
3B Mike Moustakas 3B Asdrubal Cabrera
CF Tyler Naquin 2B Eduardo Escobar
2B Jonathan India SS Josh Rojas
C Tucker Barnhart C Carson Kelly
P Tyler Mahle P Taylor Widener

Kole Calhoun returns to the Diamondbacks lineup after being on the 10-day injured list to start the season.

News and Notes

Sonny Gray could return this week

Prior to the game today manager David Bell said that if Sonny Gray’s simulated game he’s expected to throw tomorrow goes well that the right-handed starter would return to the rotation this week.

Jesse Winker is back in the lineup

Jesse Winker returns to the Reds lineup tonight after being out for a few games due to sickness. He enjoys new Reds broadcaster John Sadak as much as the fans do.

Earlier today at Redleg Nation

Take a listen to the latest episode of Redleg Nation Radio, where Chad Dotson and Chris Garber discuss the Reds 5-1 start.

John Ring wrote today about the swagger and excitement the 2021 team brings to the table and compared this start to fast starts that other Reds teams have had.

Final Thoughts

Hey, look at the Reds, now at the top of Fangraphs’ odds to win the NL Central. I don’t care if it’s the first week of the season. I’m going to enjoy the ride this team is on.

148 Responses

  1. Bred

    Ashley, how does Senzel sit and Wink gets the start. We’ll see, but given Wink was sick enough to miss games shouldn’t he have been worked in to the lineup? Senzel had his best game Wednesday. I’d would have liked him to get a chance to build on that.

    • LDS

      I agree, same with Stephenson. But I think we’re going to get the L/R argument again.

      • ClevelandRedsFan

        Yes, not seeing Senzel is a bit alarming. My best guess is that David Bell thinks Naquin is better against RHP, at least for right now.

        I like seeing Bell ride the hot bat with Naquin for another few games or week. But Nick Senzel needs to be your starting CF for 140+ games this year, if healthy.

      • Sliotar

        Yeah … but that is the issue … Senzel has been fragile to date.

        Shakes off a knock from a dive … while healthy, he should be playing every day and finding out his ceiling. He’s 26 in June … hardly a prospect.

        Naquin feels like the 2021 version of 2019 Aquino.
        A 30-year old version.

      • Rex

        Joey is no spring chicken, needs to rest them legs…I hope Wink brought his 1B glove

      • Jon Ryker

        Senzel hasn’t played 140 games in his career I don’t think….the only thing they should be doing with him is grooming him for a trade….very talented…plays hard……brittle.

      • Jim t

        Tyler B had 3 hits including the game winner. Oh and Winker was 3-3.

  2. docproc

    I guess I’m happy that Bell’s running with the hot hand in Naquin–something he’s been reluctant to do in the past.
    But the problem is, Senzel’s been just as hot. Not with power, but his BA/OBP is actually higher than Naquin’s.

  3. Klugo

    I can’t be mad at the Rest for taking a cautious approach with Senzel to see if they can get him through one full season. And then start talking about playing EVERY day for a full season.

  4. Redleg Bob

    How does review miss that call?? Ridiculous!!

    • JulioSanchez

      The ball clearly hit the chair and bounced back. I agree, it didn’t even look like a close call.

    • docproc

      Unthinkable. Clearly cleared the fence.

  5. Frankie Tomatoes

    I was listening to the game on the radio so I missed it but was the Winker double really an easy home run call that they missed twice?!

    • Amarillo

      There was a chair right behind the wall that the ball hit. It went out by 4 inches, if that. First call tough to make. but it seemed obvious it hit the chair on replay. I assume it was just umpires who hate being wrong saying it was too close to reverse.

  6. Chris Holbert

    IMO, Senzel is finally looking like we all hoped, and in a rhythm. Now he has to sitting, and is wondering what he has to do to stay in there…..good for Naquin, can you say Derek Dietrich…..Senzel needs to be in there when he is healthy…..and the DB tinkering begins

  7. Eric the Red

    How could replay miss that homerun? I get missing it live, but it was clear on replay it went over the fence and hit the chair.

  8. Tom Mitsoff

    High pitch count has been a frequent issue for Mahle in his career.

  9. Indy Red Man

    I’m excited about Mahle’s development, but trying to nail the corners will make you a 5 inn pitcher. The Ks will come!

  10. Sliotar

    31 pitches.

    Mahle needs to stop thinking these guys are the ’27 Yankees … or he won’t be around long enough to qualify for a win.

  11. VaRedsFan

    32 pitches, but Mahle gets through unscathed. Nice catch by Winker. Thet fouled off a lot of pitches, but he couldn’t put them away, and ended up walking 2 guys

  12. Broseph

    Widener might be working against the teams recent hitting patience, lots of meaty fastballs early in the count on first an second pitches and not a lot of swings.

  13. Sliotar

    Mahle is re-defining “Grinding.”

    That stat line after 2 innings is something.

  14. VaRedsFan

    Wink…rbi single.
    The sac bunt helped get Tuck over.
    Good work boys!

  15. Sliotar

    Former Pirate Joe Musgrove has a no hitter through 8 innings.

    Getting out of Pittsburgh and signing in San Diego, where he grew up, apparently was an improvement.

    • VaRedsFan

      I think I heard SD has never had a no hitter.

    • VaRedsFan

      He got it….1st ever for a Padre confirmed.
      Only runner was a HBP

  16. Indy Red Man

    Tucker is hitting out of his mind, but Stephenson needs to play the majority once TB comes back to reality. That ball TB hit would’ve left gabp

  17. Sliotar

    Mahle has 6 batters left to get through the order twice and get 5 innings in.

    It would be nice if he can make it.

    Whenever he has got to 2 strikes, I don’t think any of the next pitches have created an out. That really runs up the pitch count.

    • MBS

      He’ll have to switch his approach, the D backs seem pretty patient tonight. I think this is going to be an Antone W tonight.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      As long as he’s hitting like this, how do you sit Naquin against righthanders?

      • Tom Mitsoff

        At this moment, he’s leading MLB in homers (5), RBIs (14), slugging (1.048) and OPS (1.488).

      • MBS

        Honestly I don’t envy Bell in this situation. “It’s a great problem to have” but nevertheless a difficult decision to make with this hot outfield.

  18. VaRedsFan

    India almost got one….to the oppo wall.

  19. MBS

    The Nasty 9

    Castellanos, Winker, Senzel, Naquin, Votto, India, Suarez, Moustakes, Senzel

  20. Indy Red Man

    Naquin looks like vintage Jim Edmonds and not the Walt Jocketty Reds version. How about batting him 3rd vs rhp? Joey has to take one for the team eventually

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Joey is making good contact. 106 mph on his first-inning groundout.

      • Indy Red Man

        Naquin is jogging around bases. I’d rather have that))

      • MBS

        Could be true, but it gets old looking for the positives. It’s too early to dramatically reduce JV playing time. But Naquin, Winker, or Aquino need to buy a first basemens glove. 1 start a week?

      • RojoBenjy

        Just drop Votto to 6th in the lineup and leave it

  21. VaRedsFan

    Mahle gone after 4. Need Antone and company to cover the next 5.

  22. Frankie Tomatoes

    I am still adjusting the mindset from my youth that there is no way you pull a pitcher with a no hitter especially this early in the game. It is a weird feeling but I figure that is just the game we are in nowdays. Just get the win for the team and I am a happy camper.

    • Amarillo

      If it makes you feel any better, the pinch hitter ended up scoring a run.

      • Frankie Tomatoes

        As I said

        Just get the win and I am a happy camper. And this old Tomato is feeling quite happy in his tent right now.

  23. VaRedsFan

    Winker 3-3….hitting screamers all over the field

  24. VaRedsFan

    Reds get a 2 run break, as they kick the Votto double play ball. 3-0 pitch too.

  25. Indy Red Man

    Joey with a dribbler on 3-0, but they played it like a hand grenade!! Arizona isn’t Pirates bad, but this banged up version might be NL’s 14th place

  26. VaRedsFan

    Love Antone….Fastball 100….curveball 80 mph…..well located most of the time. Fast worker too.

  27. Tom Mitsoff

    Antone MUST start. Possibly the best stuff on the team, and he’s pitched only a handful of innings so far this season.

    • 2020ball

      Yup, really hoping he’s in the rotation by midseason. He might be the best pitcher on the team.

      • 2020ball

        I agree, but the Reds dont seem to. I’d have him in the rotation ASAP.

  28. Chris

    I don’t recognize my Cincinnati Reds. This season is so unlike them.

    • Indy Red Man

      They look familiar now? Blowing 5 run leads to a scrub team

  29. SoCalRedsFan

    Let’s pinch-hit for a guy that’s 3 for 3 just because there’s a lefty on the mound. Never change David Bell, never change.

    • 2020ball

      Kind of a defensive replacement move at the same time as a handedness move. Bells done worse IMO.

  30. VaRedsFan

    Winker looked hobbled when he tagged up last inning. Senzel batting for him. I’m hoping it’s just defensive sub vs a lefty pitcher.

    • VaRedsFan

      I got the DBack feed…any word from the Reds feed?

      • Grand Salami

        Bedrosian is dead man walking with Gray’s return and Romano is sighing in relief.

  31. B

    Votto has to be the unluckiest hitter in the league so far this year! He’s blistered the ball so many times without the hits to show for it.

  32. LDS

    So Bell pulls Antone after 32 pitches? A guy touted as a possible starter all spring? What’s Bell’s rationale here?

    • LDS

      Looks like Bell’s “management “ just turned this into a close game.

      • Julian Michael

        He’s a team psychologist not a manager. Needs to be replaced by a Francona type manager.

    • Grand Salami

      It was a bad call with hindsight. It seemed like a premature hook for a relief pitcher who can give you 40-50 pitches

      • MBS

        Don’t disagree, i thought he would be out for a 3rd, I guess they want him available for multiple days a week, 3 innings might prevent that.

    • bug

      He is an idiot. That’s why he did it. He likes to make dumb moves that cost us gaes. That’s what he’s all about. And I thought Dusty was bad! Bell is the worst manager I’ve ever seen. Oh well.

  33. VaRedsFan

    The 1st two batters for the DBacks were lefties, but Bell decides to use the righty Bedrosian. then brings in Dolittle in later in the inning.

    • Grand Salami

      Ouch. Dusty rolling over in his Houston grave.

  34. Chris

    Now THIS is feeling more like the Reds I’ve come to know and…be frustrated with. I knew there would be trouble once Bedrosian was brought in.

    • Grand Salami

      He’s the one guy whose not MLB ready.

    • Tomn

      Being in Lucas for the next two innings. I don’t trust Garrett either

  35. Grand Salami

    0-2 and a walk. Doolittle isn’t locating per Brantley. Bell really treated the 5-0 lead as mop up and pulled Antone early.

    • Tomn

      The Diamondbacks are hurting personnel-wise. We should sweep.

  36. VaRedsFan

    Saved by the Moose.
    Turns out Dolittle’s bad Spring has carried over. No more high leverage for him for awhile.

  37. Grand Salami

    Mark it down. Doolittle didn’t have it when we needed it but he got VERY lucky.

    The ‘back end’ of this pen is still very unsettled. With Garrett’s struggles and Doolittle yet to prove he’s ‘back’, that leaves Sims.

    • VaRedsFan

      Allowed both inherited runners to score, so his ERA doesn’t get blemished…they call this a Lorenzen special.

      • Grand Salami

        Sims on but I better not see a ‘set up’ role emerge here.

  38. Grand Salami

    5-3 and the Reds response is nada. Feels like the D-bags are getting two more chances to KO a gassed opponent.

    • Grand Salami

      This statement feels more true now that they tied it up in a flash.

      The Reds have bats and 5 is a season low so they need to step up bc I don’t trust the pitchers on 5-9 close outs in a game. Not yet

  39. VaRedsFan

    Leadoff walk for Sims…it’s contagious.
    We need a vaccine.

  40. VaRedsFan

    Down and in to a lefty…said it 1000 times.

  41. Grand Salami

    I stayed up Reds! Man these west coast trips are the pits!!!

  42. Grand Salami

    It’s hindsight but the Reds have left a ton on base tonight. Didn’t seem to matter when the D dags were listless.

  43. B

    Lol! Bell’s management strikes for the first time in 2021. Poor management of the bullpen has it tied and his little league let everyone play style has 2 of the starting lineup already subbed out!

  44. Hanawi

    I know it’s hindsight, but pulling a hitter that was 3-3 in the 6th inning is a Bell special. Never seen a manager want to switch out his better players in the middle of the game as much as him. Back end of the bullpen might need some shoring up if they do want to chase a playoff berth. Hope they can rally back!

    • VaRedsFan

      Winker was limping on the sac fly

  45. bug

    I knew as soon as he took Antone out, we’d lose. No sane manager would make that move. Antone was unhittable. You only make that move if you want to lose, or if you are real dumb!!! Bell is an idiot! He can’t make stupid moves like he’s always done and expect to compete with the Cards. No chance. He’s the worst manager I’ve seen. Fire him!!!

    • Indy Red Man

      Antone is on a pitch count. He’s building up his arm strength. My God….have to be able to hold 5-0 lead vs a garbage team?

      • J

        Did he look like he was tiring to anyone? This “pitch count” thing is just something they make up. It’s not based on anything but hunches.

      • Grand Salami

        30 pitches is a pitch count? He was throwing 70 in Spring training.

      • Doug Gray

        And then he got hurt and had to start building up again from scratch.

  46. J

    In hindsight, maybe you just leave in a relief pitcher who’s cruising along and can easily go another inning or two instead of making a 5-0 game seem like some sort of chess match where you have to try to outsmart everyone.

    • bug

      I concur. Oh, but this won’t be the only dumb move Bell makes. He routinely makes these kinds of illogical moves. That’s what he’s all about. Now,…lets see if because of that moronic move, he kicks off a losing streak for us. Time will tell.

  47. Indy Red Man

    Joey 0-5. Just got to have him batting 3rd and playing every day

  48. LDS

    Bell should be fired before the game ends. This is on him. Pulled Winker. Pulled India. But Old Joey is still in there. All 0-5 of him.

    • Grand Salami

      And he’s played everyday with no in game subs like the game the guys. It’s sad.

  49. Grand Salami

    Top 9, tie game and runner on with no outs. Votto gets a fat
    2-0 pitch for a routine fly. The Suarez steps up to hit into a double play. They are 0-9 between them.

    Bell has to think about a change at 3 and 4 if the Reds give this away.

    • bug

      I concur. But he won’t make a change. He would have to be smart to do that,..which he is NOT.

  50. Indy Red Man

    Bedrosian and Doolittle? They’re both castoffs for a reason. I don’t know? Bell might be forced to put Lorenzen back in the pen. Perez might be the wildcard? If he came in instead of Doolittle then we might not be in this mess.

    • bug

      OR,… if he had just done what every other manager in MLB would have done, and just left Antone in the game,..then we might not be in this mess.

      • Indy Red Man

        Pitch count???? Antone would be starting over our current 3rd-5th starters Moe, Curly, and Larry except he’s building arm strength and he’s on a pitch count.

  51. J

    Sims finally settles down and starts pitching well, so of course it’s time to get him out of the game because he throws with the wrong hand.

    • Indy Red Man

      Bell drives me nuts at times too, but this isn’t on him. It was 5-1 with 2 outs and nobody on and they got 2 more runs off Bedrosian/Doolittle. Then Sims walks the leadoff man on 4 pitches and serves up a HR. Just a meltdown, but Antone was already on a pitch count and he had to go with someone. 5-0 didn’t seem like an emergency situation. Now lets play some free double baseball))

      • B

        If he leaves Antone in there’s a good chance it’s still 5-0 going into the 8th.

      • J

        You can always say it’s the players’ fault whenever something goes wrong. The manager never throws a pitch or swings the bat. The manager’s job is to make decisions that maximize the chances of success, and removing a relief pitcher who’s cruising along, and might be your best relief pitcher, when you’ve still got a few innings left in a game that isn’t an insurmountable lead, isn’t maximizing your chances.

      • CP

        Get over it. Teams do not burn their best reliever up in 5-0 games unless it is the playoffs, particularly on the first game on road trip. If your bullpen can’t hold 5 runs leads, you aren’t going to win many games as a manager anyway.

      • J

        What does “burn” mean in this context? He’s already probably not available tomorrow. Another 15-20 pitches isn’t going to cause him to go on the disabled list.

    • Indy Red Man

      ON A PITCH COUNT….please read

      • VaRedsFan

        They don’t…they just react. It’s like Winker coming out. He was seen limping, but they have their own agenda.

      • J

        You seem to think “pitch count” is something a manager is required by law to adhere to. It’s something he and the pitching coach make up based on hunches. My hunch, based on how strong he looked on those last few pitches, is that his arm was strong enough to throw another inning without destroying his season.

      • Indy Red Man

        Well they have to fight the 162 war & not your win game 7 at all costs approach. Not Game 7 of a big playoff series, but just game #7. Once again….if Antone was 100% then he’d be starting

      • Indy Red Man

        Va Reds…..yeah so much talk about playing time for Naquin. Do they not remember Senzel and Winker play OF for the Cincinnati Reds

      • J

        I don’t think having Antone pitch three or four innings instead of two innings is a “game 7, win at all cost” mentality at all. Throwing 50 pitches instead of 32 pitches isn’t quite as big a deal as you’re making it out to be, especially when the guy is throwing as hard as he ever has in his life and showed no signs of tiring whatsoever. This “pitch count” thing is made up. They don’t actually know how many pitches he’s able to throw. What if the pitch count had been 30 and they let him go over it? Should Bell be fired for taking such a risk? Of course not. We’d all say “well, it’s made up.”

  52. Indy Red Man

    Somehow I forgot the extra inning rule. So Suarez makes the last out in the 9th, but starts off on 2nd? I was thinking it was the leadoff man.

  53. VaRedsFan

    Tucker’s bat has been huge tonight.

  54. J

    Who is this amazing left-handed catcher the Reds suddenly have? Where did this guy come from?

  55. Indy Red Man

    My fellow Hoosier Tucker is killing it this year. I’m not buying that he’s a .340 hitter, but he’s picking them up when they need it!

  56. VaRedsFan

    We have to survive AG now.
    The training wheels are off this time. No safety net available.

  57. Indy Red Man

    Anyone think they aren’t scoring with nobody out and man on 2nd with the way Garrett has looked? We need a screamer at someone….maybe 2?

  58. Hanawi

    Big first out without the runner advancing.

    • Tomn

      Nice inning by AG. AG hadn’t looked good in my view this year but he shined tonight. Not perfect but good enough. Bell made so many bad moves. Pulling out antone after two innings and removing starters as though he assumed the game was already won

      • Amarillo

        Winker tweaked something, the rest were normal Pinch Hits for the Pitcher. I didn’t see anything too weird.

      • Indy Red Man

        They’re trying to baby Antone til he can start. Really blame can be cast on Mahle for only going 4. I think they were trying to send him a message by not letting him get the win, but he nibbled too much and drove his pitch count up.

  59. VaRedsFan

    1:30 on the East Coast….at least it was for a W.
    Night Night

  60. Hanawi

    Yes! Little shaky from Garrett, but another W. Glad to see them battle back after the rally.

  61. greenmtred

    It’s a good thing that none of us are managing. “Bell is terrible. Why did Bell do this stupid thing. Why have pitch counts for players coming back from injury…” Oops! The Reds won.

    • Doug Gray

      The Reds are 6-1 and you’d think by some of these comments they were 1-6.

  62. Jimbo44CN

    You know I just think it’s lack of confidence in Bell. I know he thru 96 pitches in 4 innings, but Mahle had not given up a hit. And then to remove Antone after two quick innings makes no sense to me. I am sure the guy can throw more than 30 pitches in an outing. Anyway, not complaining(except maybe about Bell) but watching him manage is scary sometimes.

    • Doug Gray

      How are you sure that Antone could do that?

      • Jimbo44CN

        Throw 30 pitches? He could do that warming up. I would be the last one in favor of him getting hurt by throwing too many pitches, but even guys rehabbing throw more, don’t they?

      • Doug Gray

        Starters do, sure. Antone, however, wasn’t ready to be a starter when the season began. You’re making assumptions based on him being healthy all spring and starting when he wasn’t and wasn’t. He noted at the beginning of the regular season that he was not built up to start yet, but was ready to be a reliever. We were 8 days into the season yesterday. It feels like it’s a big assumption to think he was ready to go out there and throw 45-50 pitches.

  63. Jimbo44CN

    Not going to argue, just seemed an awfully short outing to me.