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.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) April 8, 2021
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.
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.
|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.
Jesse Winker told new play-by-play announcer John Sadak during his pre-game Zoom that he's really enjoyed him on TV broadcasts. Winker watched #Reds games from home when he was sick with the flu earlier this week.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) April 9, 2021
Earlier today at Redleg Nation
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.
Why hello, new NL Central favorites pic.twitter.com/1469pTv2Sn
— ???? ????y (@Nicholaspkirby) April 9, 2021