As the great Justin Timberlake didn’t actually say, It’s Gonna Be May. April is behind us and the second month of the season is set to get started as the Cincinnati Reds host the Chicago Cubs this afternoon at Great American Ball Park for a 4:10pm ET contest where a win could give the Reds the series win.

Starting Lineups

Chicago Cubs

Cincinnati Reds

Ian Happ – CF Tyler Naquin – LF
Kris Bryant – LF Nick Castellanos – RF
Javier Báez – SS Joey Votto – 1B
Anthony Rizzo – 1B Mike Moustakas – 3B
David Bote – 3B Eugenio Suárez – SS
Jason Heyward – RF Nick Senzel – CF
Nico Hoerner – 2B Tyler Stephenson – C
Tony Wolters – C Kyle Farmer – 2B
Zach Davies – SP Luis Castillo – SP

Starting Pitchers

Luis Castillo

Since a disastrous opening day start, Luis Castillo has made four starts and posted a 3.86 ERA with five walks and 19 strikeouts in 21.0 innings. Lefties have found plenty of success against Castillo so far this season, hitting .362/.413/.586 against him. Right-handed hitters have hit .256/.319/.442 against him on the year in 15 fewer plate appearances. Surprisingly enough, given how opening day went, Castillo has a lower ERA at home than he does on the road thanks to 11.0 innings of 1-earned run baseball after the first start of the year at Great American Ball Park.

Pitch usage from 2021

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Change
Velo 95.7 95.7 84.2 86.4
Usage 23.7% 21.8% 14.8% 39.7%

Zach Davies

In 2020 Zach Davies had a very strong season with the San Diego Padres, posting a 2.73 ERA in 12 starts with 19 walks and 63 strikeouts in 69.1 innings. This season has been the exact opposite. Now with the Cubs he’s posted a 9.47 ERA in 19.0 innings while walking 15 batters with 14 strikeouts (and he’s hit a batter).

Never a hard thrower, Zach Davies is going to come at you with slow stuff, followed by slower stuff, followed by even slower stuff. The right-handed starter has been crushed by righties this season, who have hit .386/.481/.568 against him with more walks than strikeouts (7-to-5). Lefties have had success against him, too, but not quite to the extent that righties have. Left-handed hitters had hit .256/.383/.462 against him with eight walks and nine strikeouts in 48 plate appearances against him.

Pitch Usage in 2021

2-Seam Cutter Curve Change
Velo 87.5 86.1 73.2 77.5
Usage 50.5% 8.1% 6.8% 34.6%

When and Where

  • Game time: 4:10pm ET
  • Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio (formerly Fox Sports Ohio),
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 68°, Sunny, 0% chance of rain

News and Notes

No Jesse Winker in the lineup today

After exiting last night’s game when his back tightened up on him, Jesse Winker is out of the starting lineup this afternoon against the Cubs. He is feeling better today and is hopeful that he can get back in the lineup tomorrow.

Shogo Akiyama is getting closer

Last night in Columbus with the alternate site club, Shogo Akiyama went 2-4 as he continued his rehab stint. While he wasn’t specific on when he would be returning, he told the media “ASAP” and that he was “ready if they called”, but noted that there’s a plan in place from the training staff that he’s following. The target for his return was “early May”, so it seems that things are right on schedule.

Nick Senzel may see more time at second

I will have more on this at some point in the near future, but it probably won’t be until tomorrow. For now, you get this quote from David Bell.

NL Central Standings

Playoff odds via Fangraphs

Team W L GB Playoff %
Brewers 16 10 0 68.5%
Cardinals 14 12 2.0 27.5%
Reds 12 13 3.5 18.8%
Pirates 12 13 3.5 0.8%
Cubs 11 15 5.0 9.5%

147 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Would like to see Stephenson move up ahead of Suarez.

    • Mark Moore

      I’d like to see Geno bat 9th right now until he can get his head back into it. And I really love him as a player, but aside from the shot yesterday, he’s beyond battling and in a slump. He’s practically an automatic out.

  2. Redsfan4life

    Need to knock out Davies early. Sweep would be great. White Sox up next. Reds always seem to struggle with the junior league.

  3. Klugo

    Cant catch a break with these injuries. Pro athletes are paid big money basically for their bodies. I, for one, feel they have an obligation to do all they can to keep them healthy and strong. Imo, it’s a big, big part of the job.

    • Doug Gray

      Which players do you think aren’t taking care of themselves?

    • LDS

      I don’t think it’s necessarily the case that they aren’t taking care of themselves. Some of them, e.g., Senzel, seem a bit more fragile than average. Really durable players, like a Cal Ripken, Jr., have been relatively rare. In the old days, I think AstroTurf was probably a contributor. But, from what I’ve read, modern turf solutions aren’t as bad. So as frustrating as the continuous injuries are, sometimes it’s bad luck. The Reds have to win regardless.

      • Klugo

        I agree. Bad luck is certainly part of the equation. But when the same dude(s) are repeatedly “unlucky”, you have to ask yourself ‘why?’ Then look at the type of injuries. Cant help getting beaned with a baseball or tearing up a knee in the grass or running the bases. But hammies and back and muscle strains and such are different. I mean Winker comes to mind. Meseraco. I dont know… it happens in all sports. Some guys seem more serious about their bodies than others. They invest countless hours and resources to it. Sure, some of it is bad luck, but not all of it and when you combine the bad luck with the lack of real effort, then you start see them pile up. I’m reminded of the quote, “I believe in luck. I find that the harder I work, the luckier I am “.

      • Melvin

        Thinking just in terms of baseball (Doug) :), that’s one of the reasons why Pete Rose was so good. He rarely got injured. He had a very durable body somehow. He played on Astro Turf too and as we know lasted a long time. Personally I think players these days don’t have as much body fat. They are pushing their bodies constantly working out much more these days. I think some of them would be better off backing off of that a little and giving their body a break. Eric Davis would probably be an example of this. His manager Lou spoke of this one time as I recall.

    • RojoBenjy

      Reds fans always beef about injuries. I’ve been guilty too—starting with Eric Davis, then Kal Daniels, and finally with Junior

      I think it’s either the chili or goetta 😉

      • LDS

        Davis, Daniels, or Junior – it’s a shame the Reds don’t have someone like that in the pipeline

    • JB

      Judge and Stanton are in great shape and get injured , so there goes that theory.

      • Klugo

        There’s more to it than being big and strong.

  4. Melvin

    Boy that was a dumb throw. Thank you Cubs.

  5. Melvin

    Votto getting the runner to 3B is a “productive out”. Small ball. Good job.

    • Mark A Moore

      Almost looked like a weak cricket shot to a specific place he knew would advance Nick C.

      • RojoBenjy

        I can’t watch right now but if JDV is doing that it’s smart baseball

  6. Melvin

    Awesome. That’s small ball. Good job Moose. Almost a homer. 🙂

    • Mark Moore

      Heyward just gloved it … which is what Bote should have done two plays earlier.

      Thank you, Stupid Cubs for the first couple of runs.

  7. Mark Moore

    Hate to sound snarky, but what’s the over/under on Geno getting another Golden Sombrero for his collection today? Still looked completely LOST there.

    • RojoBenjy

      Hey he’s leading the league in something!

  8. Mark Moore

    La Piedra is dealing so far … Debbie likes!!

  9. Mark Moore

    OK, limited the damage after some very tough AB’s. Time to help himself and then back to the top of the order.

    Today’s motto: Everybody hits. Everybody scores.

  10. RojoBenjy

    Alright Luis! Good job to limit the damage. That could have been more

  11. Mark Moore

    Loved Larkin’s comment after the HBP … “Don’t miss that. At all.”

  12. Indy Red Man

    Why not Blandino over Farmer? He’s a much much better offensive player. Hopefully we’ll score plenty today though off of Davies and their lousy pen.

    Naquin gets on base! Thats his second hbp lately and he walks too. He hits it the other way. He’s a keeper!

  13. RojoBenjy

    Suárez- will he come through? Hope so

    • Mark Moore

      Nope, nope, nopity-nope. He just can’t lay off the garbage. He looks completely lost up there and opportunities to chase a pitcher die in the process.

      Half way to another GS … not what you want to be known for.

  14. Mark Moore

    Loving the JV and Moose patience … let’s chase Davies this inning.

    Time would be great to show us you are actually Geno, sir …

  15. Melvin

    Okay Suarez. Just shorten your swing and hit the ball hard.

    • Indy Red Man

      Riiiight. Take the first one down the middle and end up K’ng on garbage. Rinse and repeat

    • Mark Moore

      Looks like he just can’t help himself … he needs to drop in the order severely. Maybe some “team discipline”. Something other than flailing swings at garbage down for a K.

  16. Doc

    When Zach Davies pitches around Moustakis to get to Suarez, you know what the league is thinking about Suarez. And it’s not good for the Reds.

    • Mark Moore

      Nope – not good for our Reds at all.

  17. VaRedsFan

    Suarez strands 3…half way to what must be a closet full of somberos

    • Mark Moore

      I’m thinking he’s got a large storage locker at this point and he’s looking to fill it.

    • bug

      No excuse for playing Suarez. Any other player starting in Suarez’ spot this year, and the Reds would be several games above .500. I like Suarez as a person, but I like the Reds more!!! Bell is going to let Suarez sing-handedly keep us out of the post season. No excuse for that. They pitched around every Red batter that would have a chance to rip that broke arm pitcher just to get to Strike Out Suarez. All the teams that face the Reds are doing that. No excuse. Bell likes Suarez more than he likes to win. Simple as that.

      • Melvin

        Suarez needs to take a page from Johnny Bench. I read where Bench asked to be moved down to 8th one time when he was struggling until he got it figured out….It worked.

  18. VaRedsFan

    Farmer continues to make every play in the field, no matter where he plays.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Casto is never getting the out at home, with 2 outs. That throw needs to go to 2nd

    • VaRedsFan

      Then throws a strike, on a ball he could charge, to nail Haywood

  20. Jeff

    He is going to have to get on a hot streak to catch Chris Davis

  21. Melvin

    People can say what they want about Larkin but he talks baseball wisdom.

    • JB

      I didnt like either of them in the beginning but to me they both have gotten better. Way better than Thom. Thom never talked about the game in front of him. It was always birthdays , High Schools and pointless other crap.

  22. Melvin

    Good play by Casty on that last one but I thought he was safe. We’ll take it. 🙂

  23. Indy Red Man

    Luis is just down the middle too much? He never throws the heater on the inside. He’s getting 2 strikes and not even trying to paint the outside with the heater either? His stuff is good today, but he’s failing the mental part of the game. Bote 113 mph? Aces don’t give up rocket blasts to borderline players. Its fixable, but maybe he’s not listening?

  24. Melvin

    Stephenson should be moved up in the order. He has more of a controlled swing with power.

    • Mark Moore

      And Geno down … but “rules”

  25. JB

    Why bunt when they are that bad. Just giving an out away. Swing away for crying out loud.

  26. Mark Moore

    C’mon Nick C!!! Unload on this kid and chase him!!

  27. Mark Moore

    Weird play, but I like the result.

  28. RojoBenjy

    Nick C showing off the cannon today

    Luis owes him big time

  29. VaRedsFan

    The ole bait and switch by Castellanos.
    Cubs gonna Red for the 2nd day in a row.

  30. JB

    Wow! We found a team worse than the Reds at running the bases.

  31. Melvin

    That was a very poor read by the runner. We caught a break.

  32. Dennis Westrick

    Seriously guys! Two (2) runs off a Cubs pitcher who had an ERA coming into this game of 9+

    • Roger Garrett

      Left them loaded twice and Davies leaves after 4 innings.Hope it doesn’t come back to haunt us but those things usually do but we will see.

  33. Melvin

    Just hope he’s not injured. Good play.

  34. CI3J

    I really hate seeing Senzel dive in the outfield. He’s so awkward, jerky, and discombobulated. It’s blindingly obvious he doesn’t have that natural outfielder’s instinct to catch the ball then fall gracefully. It literally makes me cringe every time he does it.

    I hope he didn’t just injure himself again.

    • Melvin

      I’m not sure it’s the outfield. He was kind of awkward making a play at 2B the other day. Don’t get me wrong. He gets the job done and he’s good. You’re right though. He’s not exactly graceful at times.

      • RojoBenjy

        Perhaps that’s why the SEC had him at third? Where quickness and athleticism can shine even ungracefully

      • CI3J

        Yeah, the idea is to dive and slide, like you’re diving onto a Slip N’ Slide. When Senzel dives, he looks like he just tripped and fell face-first into sand.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. It’s like he goes all out on every play no matter where he’s playing offence or defense without any regard for his body. I think he needs to be a little smarter. It is possible to play hard and be smart at the same time. 🙂

  35. Melvin

    Does Suarez EVER not swing for the fences? He’s his own worst enemy.

    • Roger Garrett

      Nope and its no secret been that way even when he hit 49 homers in 2019

      • bug

        Yeah. But he’s going to try to hit 50 this year,…or so he says. I feel sorry for him. But no excuse for playing him and him fairly routinely striking out 4 times per game,and stranding a ton of base runners. I repeat what I said early on. The Reds can’t compete if they play Suarez. And Bell is going to play Suarez. Simple as that. Wonder if he has something on Bell? Maybe blackmailing him?? That’s the only logical reason to play him game after game. Oh well. It is what it is.

  36. Roger Garrett

    Great inning for us.Three up and all three strike out and three foul balls all by Eugenio is all we did.Time to finish the grass.Oh yeah Davies has been awful and so has there pen so maybe just maybe

  37. Melvin

    It would be really good if Castillo could go 7 or 8 today. Need to get out of this inning quickly.

  38. Melvin

    Well. So much for the quick inning. 🙂

  39. Old-school

    So dropping suarez from 3 to 5 hole or 4 to 6 hole doesnt solve futility?

    Dropping him to the 7/8 hole wont either. Off day monday and off day thursday. Sit him till friday and give some mental rest and he can just work with his coaches till Cleveland

    • VaRedsFan

      Totally agree….doesn’t matter where you bat in the order if you can’t put bat on ball. There’s no such thing as less pressure if you bat lower.

    • MBS

      Unpopular opinion but move him into the 2 hole. Have Winker and Castellanos 3 and 4. It gives him protection, and moves him out of a heavy RBI spot like the 3, 4, and 5.

  40. Ted Alfred

    First off, I love Suarez ‘s personality and his approach to the game, but I wonder how much longer this Suarez experiment at SS can continue? He is the worst regular playing defensive shortstop that I have ever seen watching MLB since 1970…and likely the worst hitting everyday player who hits in the top half of a batting order in the
    majors… leaving people on base every game over and over with an
    astronomical strike out rate. At some point you have to try something different…we’re almost 30 games into this and he is a huge negative on the field almost every single game. It’s obvious that his terrible defensive play at shortstop is in his head hitting and this just can’t
    continue. I think Bell needs to try moving Moustakas back to second, putting Farmer at SS and putting Suarez back at 3rd just to shake it up and see what happens. Since the first 10 games of the Season India isn’t anything special and I think this might be our best lineup… or they could bring up the shortstop from Lewisville and keep Farmer as a utility player, but something has to change

    • LDS

      Let’s not blame Suarez’s performance on playing shortstop. He didn’t exactly rock the house last year.

      • Melvin

        I agree but playing SS sure ain’t helping. What’s the point if he’s not going to hit? He’s terrible there

  41. Old-school

    Moose is a better 3b all around than Suarez. Suarez needs to hit or he has no value- regardless of position or lineup order

    Reds committed to SS

    Theyve not lost 1 game because he played SS. They may have lost several games because he cant

    • RojoBenjy

      The six run top of the first was on Suárez, wasn’t it?

      The game they lost by 5 runs?

  42. JB

    More Hembree please. Reds hitters need to wakeup.

  43. Roger Garrett

    Cubs pen is dominating our hitters.Nine up and nine down with 6 punch outs.Sad that we just can’t hit consistently.

  44. Melvin

    Ooooh Boy. Here goes Bell’s lefty vs. lefty thing. That pitcher was doing good.

  45. Tom Mitsoff

    Let me just say — I disagree completely with taking out a guy who is dealing like Hembree and bringing in a struggling pitcher because of a matchup.

    • Melvin

      Well it worked this time but I still agree with you Tom.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I hope this is a sign he is figuring things out.

    • JB

      Bell wonders why he burns through his bullpen.

  46. Frogem

    Why take Hemree out?! He only has 15 pitches. The next two batters are lefty eighty, so you get no advantage by bringing in AG. Ridiculous management.

  47. LDS

    He Bree out after 15 pitches. Garrett in. I guess Bell wants to see if he can turn a close game into another blowout. Maybe we can”count on AG” today.

  48. Tom Mitsoff

    So Garrett loses his mind because he gets one guy out?

    • RojoBenjy

      “Act like you been here before “

  49. VaRedsFan

    AG strikes out 1 guy, and runs his mouth. He is totally at fault….Hate big mouths

  50. JB

    AG needs to get a couple batters out first before he runs his mouth. Yeah Rizzo is an idiot and I can’t stand him but AG needs to show some results first.

  51. Yerisdad

    That was an embarrassment to this organization! Someone needs to calm this man down before one of his teammates gets unnecessarily injured from these bush league antics. It’s not like we haven’t seen it before!

    • Brian M

      I never thought I would side with Baez on something

    • Melvin

      Yeah. I think the whole reason the Reds didn’t want Puig back is because every time he got upset it was their 25 million dollar player Votto as the only one with any success at slowing him down.

    • Yerisdad

      His stuff actually looked good today which is the sad part. Where’s all this anger coming from?

  52. Daytonnati

    Why wasn’t he tossed? I thought it was worse than Castellanos and the Cardinals

  53. Melvin

    i give Suarez credit on that one. Good play. It looks like to me Votto has been working hard and concentrating on his defense with success.

    • Melvin

      How can this take so long? It looked pretty easy to call.

      • JB

        Exactly. Why would Ross ask for the umps to look at it? He might be worse than Bell.

      • Melvin

        haha No comment about our mananger this time. lol

  54. Mark Moore

    OK, it’s now down to this. So far, we’ve made their mediocre BP look stellar (not to mention we didn’t chase the SP like we should have done).

    Bottom 1/3 up which makes me a bit nervous for our Bell to out think himself …

    • JB

      No reason to pinch run for Stephenson. Bell just can’t help himself.

  55. Tom Mitsoff

    I have really, really liked what I have seen from Hembree. The announcers mentioned he has ditched his curveball, his third-best pitch. That may go with the Derek Johnson idea of working to be really great at what you are best at. I’d like to see him get a shot in a late-inning situation with a lead to see what he can do.

    • Melvin

      Yes. I’m impressed with him and Hendrix.

  56. Melvin

    Great two hits. Have to play small ball again. Put the ball in play.

  57. Mark Moore

    Love seeing Kimbrel getting squeezed!!

  58. Melvin

    Come on! Cannot let that pitch go by without making contact.

  59. VaRedsFan

    So tired of seeing Blandino taking strike 3s.

    • Ted Alfred

      When I watch Blandino’s body language when he is at bat in crucial situations he doesn’t look like he wants to be there…. looks like he’s afraid of the big moments

  60. JB

    I swear Blandino never swings on 3-2 pitches.

    • Doc

      Nor did he swing on 3-1 pitch nor on 1-1 pitch. He just enjoyed his brief opportunity to watch Kimbrell without having to buy a ticket. He must be taking instruction from Señor Suarez.

    • Indy Red Man

      You mean strike 4? Took a 3-1 right down the middle. He’s got more talent then Farmer, but you can’t be a coward at the plate in the big leagues.

  61. Mark Moore

    My wife just commented on Kimbrel’s “thing” he does … said he looks like a chicken 🙂

    • Rex

      I just googled it and I can’t find anything on the entire internet that suggests that Kimbrel is not a chicken so maybe…

  62. Mark Moore

    Oh.My!!! Cannot just stand there.

  63. Melvin

    We just aren’t smart this inning.

    • Melvin

      I think the mentality these days of HR, K, or BB played there. Players just aren’t used to battling pitches and doing the little things. Reminded me of the playoffs last year.

    • Ted Alfred

      1st and 3rd nobody out was a perfect spot for Winker to pinch hit and have a great chance at winning the game… so I guess the back is so bad that he couldn’t go one at-bat on a crucial spot. I wonder if any post-game reporters will ask Bell about that possibility….or if he even botheted to ask Jesse if he could hit in the 9th

  64. JB

    Naquin 2 at bats in a row where he just stood there on call 3rd strike.

  65. Chris

    Hey, at least Castellanos didn’t strikeout looking!

  66. Mark Moore

    All we needed was a moderate fly ball … Kimbrel was NOT pitching all that well and we let him off the hook. We let all their pitchers off the hook.

    OK – have to look for tomorrow. Can’t change the past 9 innings.

  67. Tomn

    I’ve been a Blandino fan but no way you stand and take two called strikes that are right down the middle. He’s waiting (praying?) For a walk. Be aggressive!!;

  68. J

    If you don’t feel like driving in the tying run, you ought to inform the manager before he sends you up to hit. Blandino watching the 3-1 fastball right down the middle is just terrible, terrible baseball. Taking strike three, even if it’s borderline, is beyond belief.

  69. Melvin

    Blandino was the key. Even a double play would have scored a run.

    • Tomn

      Exactly. No darn excuse. If he’s afraid of hitting kimbrel, tell his mommy. So disappointing.

      • Doug Gray

        This is your final warning for cursing, Tomn. You’ve been warned multiple times in the last six month. Next time you’ll losing your commenting privileges.

    • Dennis Westrick

      You know that and I know that! Why doesn’t a major league hitter know that?
      Reds were only one (1) for eight (8) with RISP. Wasted opportunities early in a game always come back to haunt a team later in the game.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Only the Reds could take a first and third with NO OUTS and NOT score a run! For the love of God swing the bat! Something good may happen if you just put the ball in play!

  70. Tomn

    Same with Nyquin btw. Just stand there. They looked like they were waiting to walk back to the dugout. Just stinks. This game was ours for the taking.

  71. Dennis Westrick

    Only the Reds could take a first and third with NO OUTS and NOT score a run! For the love of God swing the bat! Something good may happen if you just put the ball in play!