The first place Cincinnati Reds face off against the San Francisco Giants in a winner-takes-the-series this afternoon at 3:45pm ET. Tyler Mahle will face off against former Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto.
San Francisco Giants
|Jesse Winker – LF||Tommy La Stella – 3B|
|Nick Castellanos – RF||Mike Yastrzemski – RF|
|Joey Votto – 1B||Alex Dickerson – LF|
|Eugenio Suárez – SS||Brandon Belt – 1B|
|Mike Moustakas – 3B||Donovan Solano – 2B|
|Tyler Naquin – CF||Brandon Crawford – SS|
|Jonathan India – 2B||Austin Slater – CF|
|Tyler Stephenson – C||Curt Casali – C|
|Tyler Mahle – SP||Johnny Cueto – SP|
Through his first two starts of the year, Tyler Mahle has allowed two earned runs in 9.0 innings. He’s walked six batters – not great, but of course, small sample size – and he’s struck out 15 of the 37 batters he’s faced. He’s coming off of a breakout season, though that only consisted of 47.2 innings thanks to the shortened year. Still, he took a big step forward in both his stuff and in his results and now he’s at 12 games post the 2019 season with a 3.34 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 56.2 innings pitched.
Pitch usage from 2021
The 2020 season was not a good one for Johnny Cueto. He barely pitched in the previous two seasons, making just nine starts in 2018 and just four in 2019. Making 12 starts last season he posted a 5.40 ERA in 63.1 innings. This season through two starts he’s pitched better, allowing just four runs in 14.1 innings with 14 strikeouts. Unlike the Reds, the Giants haven’t been holding back their starting pitchers. Cueto threw 105 pitches in his first start of the year and followed that up with 118 pitches on Friday. It will be interesting to see how that plays out this afternoon.
Pitch Usage in 2021
When and Where
- Game time: 3:45pm ET
- Where: Oracle Park, San Francisco
- Watch: Bally Sports Ohio (formerly Fox Sports Ohio), MLB.tv
- Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
- Forecast: 58°, Sunny, 2% chance of rain
News and Notes
Updates on Sonny Gray’s return, José De León, and Shogo Akiyama
Prior to the game today manager David Bell noted that Sonny Gray would return to the rotation on Saturday against Cleveland, José De León would pitch out of the bullpen, and provided an update on the status of Shogo Akiyama, who could be back around the first week of May. We wrote about it in far more detail here if you want to dive on in.
MLB to experiment with moving the mound, the DH
Earlier today the Washington Post’s Jacob Bogage and Chelsea James reported this morning that Major League Baseball is going to move the mound back as an experiment in the Atlantic League this summer. There will also be a desingated hitter tied only to the starting pitcher, and once the starting pitcher is out of the game a pinch hitter or a relief pitcher must go to the plate. Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I wrote about how both rules seem to lack any thought of consequences beyond the initial idea thrown out by someone in a meeting.
The Reds are conducting an experiment that may change the game
Travis Sawchik wrote about the Cincinnati Reds deciding to use Eugenio Suárez at shortstop this season and how it’s a move that could change the way other teams handle the position moving forward. You can read more about it over at The Score, but it gets into many of the things that have been discussed in more generic terms about defense: Balls in play are down and positioning is at an all-time best, meaning you can play lesser defenders at more positions because the defense just matters less than ever before.
Go to the plate hacking
Matthew Trueblood explored the idea that swinging at the first pitch is a big time advantage for hitters over at Baseball Prospectus this morning (subscription required to read).
Now, more than ever, you’d better step into the batter’s box ready to swing. If you don’t hit something early, you’re unlikely to hit anything at all.
It is an interesting read if you are into that sort of breaking down of plate appearances and how pitchers tend to attack hitters.
NL Central Standings
Playoff odds via Fangraphs