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.
|Kwang Hyun Kim||39.0||1.62||3.85||3.88||4.52||1.03||15.6%||7.8%|
*Stats are from 2020.
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.
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%.
Alex Blandino gets his first start at third base this season.
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.