After a 6-1 start, the Cincinnati Reds (9-9) have now lost eight of 11, including four in a row, to land at .500 for the season. (Of course, five of those eight losses have come to the Diamondbacks. So glad the Reds don’t have to play Arizona anymore this year).

The Reds will try to rebound against one of their division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals (8-10). It will be the Reds’ first trip to Busch Stadium in 2021. First pitch happens at 8:15 EDT and you can watch the game on Bally Sports Ohio or listen on 700 WLW.

Since the opening series at Great American Ballpark in which the Reds took two of three from them, the Cardinals haven’t played well either. With the exception of sweeping the Miami Marlins, they haven’t won a series yet this season.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xERA FIP xFIP WHIP K% BB%
Sonny Gray 56.0 3.70 3.90 3.05 3.19 1.21 30.6% 9.6%
Kwang Hyun Kim 39.0 1.62 3.85 3.88 4.52 1.03 15.6% 7.8%

*Stats are from 2020.

REDS

Sonny Gray made his anticipated season debut on Saturday and pitched well. In 4.1 innings, he gave up two earned runs on six hits, including a home run from Andrés Giménez in the second inning. He struck out six and walked two. We all know Gray is known for that devastating slider he can throw and in Saturday’s game, he opened the season strong, throwing it 11 times to right-handed hitters and getting an 80.0% whiff rate on it. He also threw his change up six times to left-handed batters and had a 50.0% whiff rate on it.

CARDINALS

Just like the Reds did with Gray, the Cardinals activated left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim from the 10-day injured list on Saturday. He pitched three inning against the Phillies that day, giving up three runs on five hits and striking out four. After some early struggles in spring training, Kim started the season on the injured list with back tightness. He pitched only three innings last Saturday, which seems to indicate the Cardinals are easing him back into action.

Kim pitched for the SK Wyverns in Korea for 12 years before the Cardinals signed him to a two-year contract before the 2020 season. Last year, he started as the closer and ended up making seven starts to finish the shortened season. While he ended with a 1.62 ERA, his FIP and xFIP were closer to 4.00 and 4.50, meaning he may have been the recipient of some lucky breaks.

Kim has four pitches in his arsenal, but usually sticks with the four-seam fastball and the slider. In 2020, he threw his fastball almost 50 percent of the time and his slider 31 percent of the time, and saved his curve ball and change up for rare occasions. His velocity on the fastball only averaged 89.9 mph in 2020, and his slider and change up velocity was in the low 80s. His curve ball is one of those SLOW curves, only averaging 70.3 mph last season. He throws his curve ball and change up almost exclusively to right handed batters, with the change up having the better whiff rate at 36.4%.

Lineups

Alex Blandino gets his first start at third base this season.

Cincinnati Reds

St Louis Cardinals

LF Jesse Winker RF Tommy Edman
RF Nick Castellanos CF Dylan Carlson
SS Eugenio Suárez 1B Paul Goldschmidt
1B Joey Votto 3B Nolan Arenado
3B Alex Blandino C Yadier Molina
CF Nick Senzel SS Paul DeJong
2B Jonathan India 2B Matt Carpenter
C Tyler Stephenson LF Justin Williams
P Sonny Gray P Kwang-hyun Kim

News and Notes

Reds call up Ryan Hendrix and Heath Hembree

This afternoon the Reds called up relievers Ryan Hendrix and Heath Hembree. They sent down infielder Max Schrock and left-handed reliever Cionel Pérez. Doug Gray wrote a little bit about Hendrix and Hembree earlier today if you want more information.

Jay Bruce, Forever Red

If you missed it yesterday, Richard Fitch wrote about Jay Bruce and the legacy he left in Cincinnati.

84 Responses

  1. Frankie Tomatoes

    The Tomato is ready for some wins and there aren’t many better wins than ones over the Cardinals.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      They put up some fight late tonight but the Tomato is disappointed.

  2. MBS

    Reserve player in the 5 hole? Blandino is doing well, but the way duo of Stephenson, and Barnhart have been hitting, maybe they need to move into a better spot in the lineup

    • DBall

      Absolutely! Blandino batting .462 deserves a start. Farmer batting .156 does not. Let’s get that straight. Shouldn’t be a surprise that you want people to hit the baseball in the middle of the lineup. I would move up either catcher (Barnhart or Stephenson) personally to 5 or 6 (.366 / .370 BA). I’m old school: hitting determines OPS / RBIs / and Runs folks.

    • RojoBenjy

      Makes more sense than continuing to put Suárez in 4th—and now THIRD?

      SMH

      • Melvin

        I agree. He’s swinging pretty bad.

  3. Sliotar

    Regarding Blandino ….

    Feels like Bell playing hot hand/hunch. Blandino had doubles in each of the last 2 games vs. Arizona.

    Blandino at 5, Senzel at 6 says a lot of more about Senzel and his stature within the Reds at the moment, IMO.

    It took Winker until this year, age 28 season, to fully establish himself as everyday regular, starting vs. LHP, no platooning shenanigans.

    Within a couple of seasons, the Reds are likely going to need Senzel higher up in order, due to age, opt-outs, whatever.

    • Melvin

      Hope it works. Like “MBS” I would have thought Stephenson would be better at #5 tonight.

      • JB

        I like the 3 speed guys in a row then Stephenson knocking them in. Dont like 3 speed guys in a row then Gray comes up. Just my preference and can see your point with Stephenson though.

  4. JB

    What a deflating series for the players and the fans. Time for them to get back on the winning side and win this series because it will be hard to win against the Dodgers. They are scheduled not to face Bauer in that series. Thank God.

  5. Klugo

    Who’s going to ding who first? Molina deserves one.

    • JB

      I think Nick C. will get the most applause.

    • Sliotar

      You know …. great question … but I will be surprised if Gray does it.

      He is ramping back up and needs to get innings in, not risk an ejection.

      If Wainwright was starting for STL, IMO, he would do it, feeling he would not get tossed, especially at home.

      I don’t know if anyone gets plunked on purpose … but, seems like it won’t take much to get benches to empty tonight.

  6. DBall

    Blandino batting .462 deserves a start. Farmer batting .156 does not. Let’s get that straight. Shouldn’t be a surprise that you want people to hit the baseball in the middle of the lineup. I would move up either catcher (Barnhart or Stephenson) personally to 5 or 6 (.366 / .370 BA). I’m old school: hitting determines OPS / RBIs / and Runs folks. The bullpen obviously is not where it should be. I will be disappointed to not see De León. It’s time for David Bell to drop a hammer on this bullpen: right now. If you are striking people out you should stay out.

  7. Gared2004

    The five hole may be curious, but it is about time that Blandino got playing time over Farmer. He has certainly earned it over Farmer.

  8. Redsfan4life

    Would be really nice to split this road trip 3-3. Get back home still at .500

    • LDS

      Aim higher, 3-3 isn’t enough. If the Pirates win and the Reds lose, it’s last place. From first to last in about a week is morale crushing. The team needs to dig deep and sweep St. Louis.

      • JB

        They were in first on Wednesday morning.

      • LDS

        Good point JB. Down 4 in the 3rd. This isn’t fun. You all have a good night.

  9. Sliotar

    Gray is a real gamer … from stumble on mound to a killer Uncle Charlie for a strikeout.

  10. ClevelandRedsFan

    Cards are clearly trying to be patient, up the pitch count, and then hope to get fat on the bullpen.

  11. Old-school

    Sonny Gray Tyler Mahle Luis Castillo and Wade Miley are 4 reasons to stay + on this pitching staff over 162 games

    • Indy Red Man

      Miley was topping out at 86 last time. I don’t know? Castillo is down a little bit on his velocity too, but its been cold. Thing is he needs 97+ on the heater because he’s basically got 2 pitches. Pitching and scoring on the road are the issues….same as always.

      • Old-school

        Kim has thrown 2 pitches so far 91mph

        Most comfortably below 90

        Good Lefties mess up timing

  12. Sliotar

    Reds Killer 1st Ballot Hall of Famer … will Molina ever retire?

    • VaRedsFan

      Not if he can play the Reds 18 times a year

    • DaveCT

      I love Molina. I mean I love watching a Hall of Famer several times a year. I don’t fault him for anything he does to provoke the opposition. I’d take seven more just like him, wouldn’t you? I say appreciate while it lasts. He might be the smartest guy I’ve ever seen play the game.

  13. Indy Red Man

    Like Castellanos but no reason whatsoever to swing at that first pitch? He’s got to be more selective to become a top tier hitter and not just a streaky one.

  14. Old-school

    April strong start is officially over.

  15. Indy Red Man

    Well can’t say I didn’t see it coming. I jumped on Over 7.5 as soon as it opened last night. Even if Sonny was sharp we’d have to go to the pen in the 6th probably and their guy isn’t that good either. Sonny will be ok, but its a work in progress.

    The team? Hey we were 6-1 at one time.

    • VaRedsFan

      Reds are 13-5 to the over this year…heading to #14 tonight

      • Indy Red Man

        Sensed that, but good to know. Thanks!

  16. Indy Red Man

    Of course if the “wish this site wasn’t so family friendly because 8 year olds aren’t baseball nerds anyway” pitcher had been rung up by the “colorful adjective” ump then they don’;t get a 5 spot. Why are we cheated on an almost daily basis?

    • RojoBenjy

      Please don’t try to avoid the swear filter.

      • RojoBenjy

        LOL just kidding that was funny!

  17. VaRedsFan

    Arenado showed Suarez how to hit an outside pitch….basic hitting 101

  18. VegasJohn

    Seems so repetitive for reds. Our ace gets eaten alive by cardinal rh batters. Cards throw out a junker who ties reds in knots. This team just never evolves, as I see it.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Trainer out to see Sonny…
    UNCLE

    • VaRedsFan

      Stays in the game…thank goodness

  20. VegasJohn

    Seems so repetitive for reds. Our ace gets eaten alive by cardinal rh batters. Cards throw out a junker who ties reds in knots. This team just never evolves, as I see it.

  21. VaRedsFan

    Hembree signed the bullpen agreement and walked the 1st batter he sees

    • VaRedsFan

      But just like that, he shoots up the bullpen depth chart with 1.1 inning of 0 runs.

    • RojoBenjy

      He had to or face a clubhouse fine

  22. DaveCT

    Pretty sure I heard it right out loud, a shout to RedlegNation by the broadcast team re: a podcast with Welsh? Haven’t seen it in the comments above. But, hey congratulations are very much in order. Well earned.

    • DaveCT

      But now do something different to change the luck

    • VaRedsFan

      Welsh has given the shout out before.
      I’m on the St Louis feed so I didn’t get to hear it.

    • Redsfan4life

      Yes you heard right. Redlegnation did get a shoutout.

  23. VaRedsFan

    Blasto brings the boos with that tater

  24. DaveCT

    The guy Kim, of the Cards, reminds me so much of Danny Jackson. Guy’s has been breaking bats all night. I could some peak Danny Jackson right now. Maybe some … def some Jose Rijo. And Jackson. Touch as balus.

  25. DaveCT

    It occurred to me tonight, in teal time, that by having Tyler Stephenson here, catching young guys like Antone, now Hendriks, others coming along, with existing relationships. Could help out. Which we do, indeed, require.

  26. Roger Garrett

    Bell matching wits with the guy in the other dugout.Pinch hits for the pinch hitter.I love it.I was afraid it was going to be one of those just boring nights and the Cards manager just couldn’t let it be.

    • DaveCT

      Off topic, but I loved that last at bat by Tyler Stephenson. Man, he is a tough kid. You can see why they live this guy.

      • Roger Garrett

        Young guys have done some good things tonight.They are the new core of this team.They just need to play and the more they do I feel the better they will get.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. He kept his shoulder in and closed his stance then got an opposite field hit. Imagine that.

  27. Roger Garrett

    Farmer restores the boring night by not even making contact.Glad that one is over.

  28. Doc

    Tinker Bell is at it again. Burns two pinch hitters hitting for Hendrix.

    Another series of one inning relievers. He’ll burn 2 or 3 more relievers before the night is over. When Gray only goes 3+ it doesn’t make sense to me to bring in 1 inning relievers rather than, say, DeLeon or someone who might give you several innings. If you’re going to burn a 1 inning pitcher, Garrett might have been a good choice.

  29. DaveCT

    Jose! Really? That last pitch really wasn’t fair at all. C’mon. You know it too.

  30. Roger Garrett

    Bell will need to change how and when and for how long he uses his guys in the pen.Only offense is Nick’s homer and the young guys with the other 5 hits so we probably aren’t making a comeback.Good time for Garrett as you said to go 1or more just to maybe restore some confidence.

  31. Roger Garrett

    I consider Winker one of the younger guys and he has quietly had a good year so far.Not trying to do to much just putting the bat on the ball and its working.

  32. DaveCT

    Wow. Gallegos. Give me 3-4 like this guy. Talk about attacking the strike zone.

  33. Indy Red Man

    Reds lose 9 out of 12 and then I bet on the pen to meltdown and they shut the Cards down. I’m taking a break. Its too depressing. We’ll be lucky to score 5 runs in LA and maybe get 1 in this series. The hitting is better. Their approach is better, but just too many holes on the roster. I think we’ll need a vintage Votto season to even threaten .500

  34. Indy Red Man

    There must be something wrong with espn? It says the mighty Diamondbacks lost. That can’t be possible? They’re the most powerful offensive team in the history of the game.

  35. Roger Garrett

    You can look at the box score tonight and see the hole.Eugenio is close now to striking out half the time and Joey never was a 4 hole guy.Just move Eugenio down to 6th and Joey up to 2nd with Nick to 3rd and lets play.Takes the pressure off and splits them up.They go 0-8 with 6 punch outs tonight.

    • LDS

      Or bench them. Just tuned back in and see the Reds are getting Bell’d again.

  36. DaveCT

    The young guys are really fun to watch. India, Blandino, Senzel, Stephenson. Winker, sort of.

    • Roger Garrett

      Thats the new core if they let them play.Disagree with Tuck for Stephensen right here.That run at third means nothing.

      • DaveCT

        They are very accomplished baseball players. Very competent. And ready
        to carry their weight. It’s not the first they, as younger guys, have hit lower in the line-up, you know? It’s relatively recent. I think these kids will recognize a feeding frenzy when they see it, ultimately. Just like as freshmen.

  37. Sliotar

    Cardinals were 99% favorites to win at one point in this inning.

  38. VaRedsFan

    How fitting…Another Sombrero for Geno

  39. kevinz

    Nice fight to come back reds.
    Just Shame game came down to K Suarez.

  40. LDS

    All Suarez had to do was hit the ball, a single would do it. And instead he strikes out for the 4th time tonight. He and Votto, 0-9 with 7 strikeouts? The Reds won’t win many games with these two back to back in the 3-4 spots.

    • RedAlert

      And Bell will make no adjustment here … like always . Hardheaded and thinks he’s smarter than everybody else . It’s not that hard …. move him down in the lineup . Crushing the Reds where he’s batting .

  41. Doc

    Only two starting position players, #3 and #4, failed to get a hit. Of the 14 Reds strikeouts, half of them were by the #3 and #4 hitters. Blandino needs to start at SS and Geno needs a three game benching. I didn’t see the game so wonder about the called strike 3. Was it a legitimate strike or did Geno get hosed by the umpire?

    At least the bullpen pitched well tonight.

    • VaRedsFan

      Legitimate… froze him with a curve ball…dead central.
      He threw about 20 pitches, that might have been the only curve he threw for a strike.

    • VaRedsFan

      Castellanos swung at a 55 footer….not even close.

  42. KG

    It was legit, but I do agree with you. Time to sit Suarez down for a game or three.

  43. Roger Garrett

    Thats 32 punch outs in 70 at bats.I feel for him but seriously he shouldn’t be hitting that high in the order.If anybody needed a big hit right there it was Eugenio but honestly he was ahead in the count 3-0 and took strike three so that kind of tells you where he is at.

    • TR

      Whether it’s the weight loss or the move to shortstop, who knows, but Suarez should be given a rest and then moved back to third base with Blandino and Farmer alternating at shortstop for this year. It presents a quandary of what to do with Moustakas. Perhaps alternate him with India and/or Votto. The Reds need to make changes in the offseason in order to play their young core who are coming into their own.

      • Doc

        Don’t know that I agree. The case can be made for Blandino, who is hitting well, but not for Farmer, whose average was worse than Suarez within the pst couple of days.

        I agree that Suarez needs to sit for a few games, ala Votto last year, to get his swing together. Where is the hitting coach. Have the pitchers uncovered a huge hole in Suarez swing? I can’t believe that his switch to SS has an affect on his hitting. He wasn’t playing SS last year.