The Cincinnati Reds (48-42) will kick-off the second half of the season tonight at 7:10 PM against the Milwaukee Brewers (53-39). The two teams will continue their 7-game marathon series around the all-star break as the series switches to Great American Ballpark tonight. The Reds enter play 4.0 games behind the Brewers for first place in the NL Central. The Reds 9-2 record in July is the best record in all of baseball. The Reds are 33-14 vs the NL Central since September 13, 2020.
Jesse Winker on the second half pennant race and starting off with Milwaukee: "This is why you play baseball." #Reds
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 16, 2021
Brewers since May 27th:
1-6 vs the Reds
28-8 vs everyone else
The weather forecast in the Cincinnati area does not look great this evening. A rain delay should probably be expected, and there is a possibility this game ends up being postponed.
The Reds have decided to give the ball to Tyler Mahle to kick off the second half and the massive series with the Brewers. Honestly, the Reds could have gone with any of Mahle, Castillo, Gray or Miley in this series, in any order and felt good. Mahle has carried over his big step in 2020 into the 2021 season. The even better news is that his expected stats say that he has been even better than he deserves. Mahle leads the Reds in both expected ERA and xwOBA, which are good signs for future success.
Mahle has a 3.00 ERA in 2 starts against the Brewers this season (12.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 6 BB, 18 K). Mahle has however struggled at GABP this season. He has a 6.06 ERA in 7 starts (compared to a 2.26 ERA in 11 road starts).
The Brewers have decided to throw Adrian Houser in the first game of this series. Houser is a solid pitcher, but the Reds have definitely caught a break as they won’t face all three of the Brewers top arms this weekend (Woodruff will pitch tomorrow, Burnes on Sunday). Both Peralta and Burnes pitched in the All-Star game, so the Brewers had no way to pitch both of them this weekend without pitching one of them on three days rest. They obviously didn’t throw that many pitches in the All-Star Game, but the Brewers have been very conservative with their starting pitchers so far this season, so it’s not surprise they continue to do so. It has paid off for them so far as they are in first place in the division, but they have allowed the Reds to hang around.
Houser has a career 5.25 ERA in 7 starts (10 appearances) against the Reds. Hoser’s last start was the Brewers lone win in the 4-game series against the Reds. Houser had a lot of traffic in his 4.1 innings (4 walks, 5 hits), but the Reds could not make him pay until he left the game. The Reds took the lead off the Brewers bullpen, but the Reds bullpen could not hold it that night.
|Kolten Wong – 2B||Jonathan India – 2B|
|Christian Yelich – LF||Jesse Winker – LF|
|Willy Adames – SS||Nick Castellanos – RF|
|Omar Narváez – C||Joey Votto – 1B|
|Avisaíl García – RF||Tyler Naquin – CF|
|Jace Peterson – 1B||Eugenio Suárez – 3B|
|Luis Urías – 3B||Tucker Barnhart – C|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. – CF||Kyle Farmer – SS|
|Adrian Houser – SP||Tyler Mahle – SP|
Jesse Winker has 5 (!) career home runs in just 18 career at-bats against Houser.
Michael Lorenzen returns
Michael Lorenzen if officially back in the Reds bullpen. He has a career 3.57 ERA as a relief pitcher, so he is certainly a welcome sign back. It took Lorenzen a little bit of time to get going in 2020, so we should probably be patient with him returning after a long recovery.
Michael Lorenzen says he doesn't want to be eased into anything for the bullpen. "I'm ready to roll." #Reds
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) July 16, 2021
Creating a spot on the 40-man roster came at the expense of Alex Blandino, who was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
News and Notes
Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone could be ready at the beginning of August
Manager David Bell provided injury updates on just about everyone in his afternoon press conference with the media today. Among the players discussed were relievers Lucas Sims and Tejay Antone, both of whom Bell noted were progressing and would hopefully be ready at the beginning of August. He also provided some updates on Nick Senzel, Art Warren, and Michael Feliz.
A 6-man rotation?
With Jeff Hoffman due to return soon, Bell mentioned that the team could put him into the rotation this home stand in order to give everyone a bit longer of a “break”. That would temporarily give the team a 6-man rotation as they begin the second half of the season.
This is what you want as a Reds fan. Your team has made it to the second half of the season in contention. They have a golden opportunity to cut more into the Brewers lead to increase their chances of hanging around all season. Sit back and enjoy this Reds fans.