The Cincinnati Reds played home run derby on Saturday, hitting three home runs as they picked up a 6-2 win to even up the opening series with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The two clubs will wrap up their series this afternoon with first pitch set for 1:40pm ET.

Starting Lineups

Pittsburgh Pirates

Cincinnati Reds

Oneil Cruz – SS Jonathan India – 2B
Bryan Reynolds – CF TJ Friedl – CF
Andrew McCutchen – RF Jake Fraley – LF
Carlos Santana – 1B Tyler Stephenson – C
Ji Man Choi – DH Jason Vosler – 1B
Ke’Bryan Hayes – 3B Wil Myers – DH
Connor Joe – LF Spencer Steer – 3B
Ji Hwan Bae – 2B Will Benson – RF
Austin Hedges – C Kevin Newman – SS
Vince Velasquez – SP Graham Ashcraft – SP

Starting Pitchers

Stats from 2022

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Vince Velasquez 75.1 4.78 1.24 7.8% 21.6%
Graham Ashcraft 105.0 4.89 1.42 6.5% 15.3%
Links: Graham Ashcraft’s Stats | Vince Velasquez’s Stats

Graham Ashcraft

After a strong spring training where Graham Ashcraft posted a 2.60 ERA with 25 strikeouts and just 2 walks in 17.1 innings, the big righty will take the mound in the regular season and look to keep all of that going. An offseason focus on improving his slider and making it more consistent seemed to pay off out in Arizona.

Last year he really struggled against right-handed hitters but was dominant against lefties. Left-handed hitters managed just four extra-base hits against him in 2022 and slugged just .263.

2022 Splits

RHH 252 74 16 0 10 6.3% 13.9% .323 .377 .524
LHH 212 45 3 0 1 6.6% 17.0% .232 .292 .263

Pitch Usage (from 2022)

Cutter 2-Seam Change Slider
Velo 97.3 97.1 89.8 85.8
Usage 51% 21% 1% 27%

Vince Velasquez

In 2022 Velasquez was much better in his 18 relief appearances than he was in his 9 starts. As a starter his ERA was 1.01 higher, his home run rate was more than twice as high, his walk rate was nearly 50% higher, and his strikeout rate was lower. Hitters also had a .150 point OPS advantage against him as a starter. This spring he struggled, posting a 5.79 ERA in four starts and walking nine batters in 14.0 innings. Righties and lefties both struggled to hit for much average against him, and they didn’t get on base against him all that much in 2022. While lefties also didn’t hit for much power, righties showed plenty of it. Those splits haven’t always held up for his career.

2022 Splits

RHH 178 40 12 0 8 7.3% 18.5% .245 .303 .466
LHH 141 28 9 0 3 8.5% 25.5% .222 .293 .365

Pitch Usage (from 2022)

4-Seam 2-Seam Curve Slider Change
Velo 93.4 92.3 81.8 84.9 88.3
Usage 45% 7% 9% 23% 16%

When and Where

  • Game time: 1:40pm ET
  • Where: Great American Ball Park
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio,
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 47°, sunny, 0% chance of rain

News and Notes

Joey Votto launched one into the sun on rehab

Last night saw Joey Votto begin his rehab assignment with the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He played in the first game of the Bats doubleheader and finished 1-3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. His one hit was a 448-foot home run on the first pitch that he saw in the game.

Injury Updates

Earlier today we got some updates on the status of Nick Senzel, Tony Santillan, Lucas Sims, and Luke Weaver. It sounds like Santillan or Senzel could be the first players to head to the minor leagues on a rehab assignment.

188 Responses

  1. Dennis Westrick

    QUIZ for all you RLN followers! Can you name who ranks 4th on the Reds 2023 player payroll?

      • DHud

        Believe it or not Reds actually did well on that deal. From what I’ve read though, there was no verbiage in that contract that accounted for inflation.l – it was just flat rate. So effectively the reds have paid him less and less over the years

    • Michael

      Considering Manny Ramirez got $20 million per season, the Griffey contract was very team friendly. Injuries stink. Jr certainly would have hit 700 HR if consistently healthy.

  2. Old-school

    Nick Senzel and Tony Santillan will report to louisville on tuesday per C trent

    Santillan healthy would be a quality addition to the bullpen.

    • Melvin

      He could be better than our current 5th starter.

  3. Old-school

    Anyone see Levi Stoudt pitch? How did he look? O hits and 0 runs in 4 innings sounds great but 3 walks???

    Williamson sounds like 1 step forward 2 steps back.

    • Jim Walker

      Stoudt was outstanding, especially compared to Williamson, but not without blemish. He allowed no runs and no hits while getting 4 Ks but walked 3 in 4.0 innings with ~43% of his pitches being called balls.

      I guess he either made pitches when he really needed them or was lucky or both.

      And just an aside, a request in advance for some slack when I inevitably cross my baseball and football and refer to Stoudt as Stroud. 😉

    • Melvin

      He also could be better than our current 5th starter. Lol

  4. Mark Moore

    Watching the pregame and remembering how easily I fall in love … Annie Sabo!!

    • Mark Moore

      And absolutely loved the Jim Day interview with India and TySteve. Great couple of young guys who compliment each other well in this lineup.

  5. Bet on Red

    that was a nice opening inning. Is anyone else noticing a color shift in the broadcast

  6. Jim Walker

    Does a good game for Vosler today bring us to that point where Friedl and Benson need to show some offense to avoid being replaced instead of Vosler when Joey V comes up?

    • Mark Moore

      I’m thinking it’s between Benson and Fairchild. But you raise a good point. Somebody will head to L’Ville.

      • Jim Walker

        Trying not to show my Fairchild bias too much 😉 …..

        It is a lot simpler to have Fairchild around to
        platoon with and protect Fraley from LH pitching within games than scrambling around the pieces with Barrero and Newman and tie up your back up middle IF in the process.

      • LDS

        Fairchild likely goes down. He’s not going to get a fair shake in Cincinnati. Yesterday showed that. He’s going to have to absolutely destroy AAA to get any credibility. And even then he’s more likely to be traded – again.

    • VaRedsFan

      well…that helps his cause…i would have said nope, unless he had a whit hot start

    • MBS

      @Jim, Well Vosler is now a 40 man guy, so that advantage others would have had over him is gone. Fairchild is my 1st out if all remain healthy.

  7. Mark Moore

    2 innings in the bag with good efficiency from Ashcraft. Now for the Crooked Number Parade, please!!

  8. Mark Moore

    And we get a Lucky Buckeye sighting 😀

  9. Bet on Red

    once again….the hated enemy…. Miami valley gaming has not improved their commercials

    • Mark Moore

      More retreads than our 2022 line-up.

  10. Bet on Red

    nice HR vosler…..wait a minute where we get him from?

  11. Mark Moore

    Pretty evident Vosler wants to stay in Cincy.

  12. Old-school

    Steer quality Ab and line drive hit

    • Mark Moore

      Yep. And Benson didn’t whiff either. Seeing a few encouraging signs all around.

  13. Mark Moore

    2 innings in and I’m remembering why I go to the WLW audio feed overlay. It’s been a little better so far, but I’m seeing “the signs” of classic Sadak oral diarrhea coming on.

  14. VaRedsFan

    I like the dugout home run celebrations. Team unity matters IMO…..They are like 3 years late to the party….better late than never.

    • Mark Moore

      The Viking thing is kitschy but fun. Can’t wait to see the first time Joey has the cape and hat placed on him.

    • Daytonnati

      Can’t go wrong with Viking gear 🙂

  15. Bdh

    Can anyone answer why the Giants would just get rid of controllable contracts for Alex Young and Jason Vosler? Both pre arbitration players who can provide solid value this year. Something a team like San Francisco would seem to need for this year.

    I mean Young had a 170 ERA+ for them last year and Vosler a 169 OPS+

    • Mark Moore

      Hypnosis … voodoo … SF Bay recreational drug use?

  16. VaRedsFan

    Tommy Pham leading off for the Mets today

  17. old-school

    Jon India with play from 2b. Put a start by that one. Nice 3 innings from Ashcraft. Get some runs now.

    • old-school

      And a single. India has started off great. TIm for Friedl to get something going.

  18. Mark Moore

    1B umpire looked like he took that ricochet off the onions.

    Come on TySteve!!!

  19. MBS

    India is winning me over a bit. I’ve been very critical of his defense, but with the lighter weight, he seems more agile. I always knew he had a bat, but it would be great if his D has caught up. I still don’t like the “I’m going to be the leader” talk, leaders don’t have to announce that they are leaders, but I think his heart is in the right spot.

    • Mark Moore

      Did you hear the Jim Day interview in the pre-game? Neither he nor TySteve sounded at all like they were “claiming” leadership. Yet they knew others are looking to them. TySteve said India always plays “balls to the wall” which made me laugh. I guess we saw that when he just scored.

      • MBS

        I’m not referring to what India has said recently, it was before the beginning of camp.

        “I want to set a culture this year that’s different from the past,” India said. “Everyone has the same mindset, no matter who it is. That’s what we need. That’s our ticket to success. Everyone having the same mindset of competing every day no matter the outcome.”

        I didn’t like it, but like I said I think he heart is in the right place.

  20. Bet on Red

    there we go…. making things happen

  21. Mark Moore

    India had home plate on his mind all the way. Love that hustle.

  22. Old-school

    India in a 10 minute span flashes the leather and the speed on the bases. Can we just drop Friedl from the 2 hole? Go India,Fraley, and Stephenson and be done with it. Votto hits 4th when he comes back.

  23. Bet on Red

    runner on second got him shook… i like these new rules

  24. Bet on Red

    just noticed…. remember this day when we were in a 5 way tie for first place in the division

    • Dennis Westrick

      Or a 5-way tie for last place!

      • Bet on Red

        the glass is half full, not half empty

  25. VaRedsFan

    Stanton just popped one 495 feet.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Who cares! My favorite teams are the Reds and whoever is beating the Yankees and the Dirty Birds!

      • VaRedsFan

        I hate the Yankees, but that’s a mighty blow.

    • Brian Rutherford

      0h Wow that’s hitting one a ton. Wow. Love to see that dude hit.

  26. Old-school

    I think the ball was dead last year and now back to normal

    • VaRedsFan

      Last year, Reds opponents thought otherwise.

    • Doc

      Maybe the ball was normal last year but now is back to live.

  27. Dennis Westrick

    Here we go with the walks! Slow learners I guess!

  28. Dennis Westrick

    Maybe they should check Stanton for PEDs?

    • Mark Moore

      Would you be surprised with all the injury time he’s had to recover from?

  29. Mark Moore

    Limited damage. That’s always a good thing. Need to add on this inning.

  30. Dennis Westrick

    Stephenson has got to do better behind the plate! Those miscues can prove costly against better teams!

    • Mark Moore

      It looked like it was tipped to me. I don’t put that on him.

      • Tom Reeves

        It wasn’t tipped and apparently TySteve told Jim Day it was a cutter that was supposed to break in but it broke four feet out. He said both he and McCutchens said it was unhittable and uncatchable.

  31. Mark Moore

    Time for Benson to get off the schneid

    • MBS

      I’d love to see him get going, a walk or bunt would do the trick.

  32. Dennis Westrick

    Well, that was a weak inning! Not comfortable with a one-run lead with this BP!

  33. Old-school

    I know its early but Benson and Friedl are 0-15 with 9K’s

    • Hanawi

      Reds desperately need to find some real major league OFs going forward. Whether that is moving McClain, CES or EDLC or trading for someone, they don’t have any real full-time players that seem like they will be a cornerstone among the current crop. Maybe Fraley can get there, but he needs more opportunities against LHP to know.

      • Dennis Westrick

        Agree! Nothing, absolutely nothing from the 3 Reds outfielders so far today!

      • DHud

        I just simply do not understand how Jake Fraley is not considered a real major league OF at this point

        Do not/will not get it.

  34. Mark Moore

    Needed that 1-2-3 from Ashcraft. Looked pretty sharp there. Would love to see 7 from him today if possible.

    Crooked Numbers, guys. Crooked Numbers!!!

  35. Dennis

    Taking bets on how long the typo “runers” will appear in the scrolling banner about the new rules.

  36. Old-school


    He needed that. Huge run

    • VaRedsFan

      I’m a fan….glad he’s off the the ofer bus…
      I thing he could be our Tommy Edman type.

  37. Dennis Westrick

    And as I was typing a negative comment about the Reds offensive production by the 3 starters, Friedl hits a HR! Go figure!

  38. Old-school

    Reds playing another nice game today. Good pitching. Good D and tacking on runs. Now finish this and win a series.

  39. old-school

    But…But…but…Fraley cant hit lefties???

    • Bet on Red

      hey…. i thought i copyrighted that lol

  40. Mark Moore

    Fraley just looks determined this year. Like he wants as much playing time as he can get.

  41. MBS

    There you go Fraley! He hit 2HR’s against LHP in spring, and now a double in the regular season. I guess he doesn’t want to be a platoon guy.

      • MBS

        Well, I had it right to begin with, I looked up and saw a man on 1B, and assumed I had it wrong, I missed the walk to Stephenson.

  42. Old-school

    Ashcraft 6 strong innings. Despite the narrative, India and Steer have been solid at 2b/3b defensively.

    Need another run.

    • Mark Moore

      Agreed and +5,000 on needing another run. How about this inning?

    • MBS

      To be fair, India has been bad for 2 seasons at 2B, but he is looking a lot more agile with his new weight, and I’m sure a lot of practice.

  43. JB WV

    Should Ashcraft pitch the 7th? I think he’s at 80 pitches. Like to see it.

    • Mark Moore

      I’d be in favor of seeing him pitch. He doesn’t seem to be flagging at this point. Cutch just got a good hit on him, nothing more that I saw.

      • Harry Stoner

        3rd time around for PBurg’s 5-6-7 hitters.

  44. MBS

    Ashcraft was great until he was injured last year, then he was horrible to end the year. This spring he looked great, and he’s following that up with 6 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 1 BB 6 K’s so far. Looking like a bulldog.

  45. LDS

    Only game 3 so it’s far too early to be making definitive observations, whether it’s about Fraley hitting lefties, Barrero not hitting, etc. At this point though, it is good to see Ashcraft pitching more like last season vs. the spring games where it looked like he was going for SO.

    • MBS

      Yes, but it’s fun to see the bright side of things!

      • LDS

        Yeah, while we can. If the Reds win today, they’ll be a full game ahead of the Pirates and not in last place. Hopefully, that lasts but who knows.

  46. Mark Moore

    That’s just hard luck for us on a great snag by Santana.

  47. Dennis Westrick

    Reds baserunning continues to be poor at best! It’s called “Situational Awareness”!

  48. Old-school

    Steer a solid series as the everyday 3b.
    Hitting ok for average, but obp and plate discipline and power great. Defense is good.

    Good job young man.

    • JB WV

      Agree. Excellent eye, good athlete. Hope Bell doesn’t move him around and let him settle in at third.

  49. old-school

    Ashcraft a pitcher…not a thrower. Great job!

  50. Mark Moore

    A hit nobody was getting and then bear down and escape with no damage. 7 fine innings from Ashcraft.

  51. Slicc50

    Really like watching Ashcraft pitch when he is throwing like he is today! Man… we are really going to have a fun top 3 in the rotation as the year goes on!

  52. Dennis Westrick

    That’ll do, Graham! That’ll do! Now, hear me! Now, hear me! Bullpen – No Walks!

  53. MBS

    Young in the 8th, and Diaz in the 9th? ?

  54. LDS

    Ashcraft, 7IP and less than 100 pitches and only one walk. I didn’t know the Reds had a pitcher capable of that. We haven’t seen that in a while. Hopefully, Bell lets him start the 8th.

    • Harry Stoner

      Nah…seeing Cruz and Reynolds a 4th time?

      Why risk it now?

      • LDS

        Why not? If the first one hammers him, go to the bullpen. As for the third or fourth time through the lineup – it doesn’t matter. Statistical averages and individual performances are two different things.

  55. Harry Stoner

    A couple more runs would help the BP a lot right now.

  56. Mark Moore

    Wasted challenge, but it’s the 7th inning, so no huge deal.

  57. Mark Moore

    Another nice job by India. Shaking off that Sophomore Slump.

    And Friedl gets one down with everybody safe!!!

  58. old-school

    Friedl competes again with the hated bunt….that works….love it.

    • Doug Gray

      No one really hates bunts. They hate bunts purposefully designed to be outs – not ones used in an attempt for hits.

      • old-school

        No one should hate the competitive strategic bunt. But some dont discern the difference. Plus…the Tucker barnhart sac bunt is a good thing as opposed to the 4-6-3 DBP.

  59. Mark Moore

    Well nuts! That just died more than a little and Cutch found a little bit of his old range to snag it.

  60. Dennis Westrick

    Ty Steve has left a small village on the bases this series!

  61. LarkinPhillips

    Tysteve almost came through again. Good play by McCutchen.

  62. Mark Moore

    Bad communication there. Really bad. Hope it doesn’t cost us dearly.

    • MBS

      2nd in betweener play that we dropped. A bit of bad luck, but the Law dog is coming to settle things.

      • Mark Moore

        That one over in the Bermuda Triangle behind 1st was way more difficult.

  63. Slicc50

    Darn it! Could and probably should be two outs right now. These guys have work to do defensively!

  64. Mark Moore

    Really, really, REALLY need a GIDP here after the pitching change. Can’t hang all of that on Alex Young as I see it. Steer should have made the play and Fraley shouldn’t have called off Newman.

    • VaRedsFan

      I saw it the same way. Steer need to charge instead of retreat.

      • Mark Moore

        Cowboy had that take on it. He just kind of pulled up on it and let it sneak under his glove.

  65. Harry Stoner

    Got that ol’ Reds bullpen feeling coming on.

  66. old-school

    I mean if your not a Reds homer, this is a dang good baseball game.
    Id much prefer 6-1

  67. Mark Moore

    Deep breaths … one more out is what we need and we’re through the worst of it.

  68. Mark Moore

    OK, everybody breathe now … 😮

  69. Harry Stoner

    “I fought the Law and the Law won.”

  70. VaRedsFan

    They fought the Law…and the Law won.

    • Mark Moore

      +250 (only because Harry posted it first)

  71. LarkinPhillips

    Great job by young and law to pitch out of the jam caused by poor defense. Let’s get an insurance run or two here.

  72. Mark Moore

    Yeah … Vosler really doesn’t want to go back to L’Ville. Then again, he’d need regular playing time. Almost kissed his 2nd dinger of the day.

  73. old-school

    Vosler – you cant stop him…only hope to contain him.

  74. Mark Moore

    Time for Steer to redeem himself just a little bit

  75. LDS

    That worked out but I would still have opened with Ashcraft, assuming he didn’t say he was gassed.

    • Michael

      LDS – Agreed. 94 pitches. Let him start the 8th.

    • Jim t

      Pitchers aren’t generally going to say they want to come out. Very early In season. He pitched very well. No resson to extend him at this point of the year.

  76. Bet on Red

    a seriously not awesome commercial

    • Mark Moore

      I’ll give you a +1,000 as compensation, my friend 😀

  77. LarkinPhillips

    Awful AB by Myers. He looks like he is too far from the plate.

  78. old-school

    Benson just overwhelmed right now. Probably needs to go to AAA and get some reps and confidence.

    • VaRedsFan

      I was afraid of that, when he cooled off when the minor leaguers left Spring training

    • Jim Walker

      An easy call to swap Benson out for Votto if that JV is ready in the next few days as it wouldn’t change the Left/ Right side batting mix among the position players.

      Friedl had to bounce a few times but looks like he finally has things straightened out.

  79. Mark Moore

    A measly 3 outs … that’s all we’re asking for, folks. Just 3. Quick ones are preferable, but we’ll take them any way they come as long as the Pie-Rats don’t score.

  80. VaRedsFan

    Let’s go Diaz…no drama please.

  81. Mark Moore

    The spelling of “runners” has been corrected 😀

  82. Mark Moore

    Notice how Steer took his time setting for that throw? Made it a little closer, but no acrobatics required.

  83. old-school

    That was a really good baseball game.

  84. Mark Moore

    Alright, alright, ALRIGHT!!!

    Nice 9th by Diaz!

  85. Mark Moore

    Another game under 2:30 as well. I could get used to that.

  86. Hanawi

    Pretty fun having Diaz be the closer. Good pitching the last two days.

  87. Michael

    Nice win. They won’t be this easy vs non Pirate opponents

  88. Bet on Red

    masterful game…. tied for first in the central, lets end the season now and go to the postseason

    • Melvin

      Hey. As of right now we’re in the playoffs. 🙂

  89. Kevin H

    Woohoo 2-1!!!

    Way, Way earlier, however gotta like Farmer, Young, Law, and Diaz as the top four. Cruz and Sanmartin not bad either. This bullpen could as I have read from a few, surprise people

  90. Melvin

    Wow. Two in a row. 🙂 Now we have to see what the 4th and 5th starters can do. Good pitching today though.

  91. Jim t

    Good starting pitching, some timely hitting and the pen closed it out. Nice!!!

  92. bug

    Bell made good calls again. Hat’s off to him and the Reds. Ashcraft pitched a gem. We have a couple weaksticks in the line up, but suspect they will be replaced soon. Go Reds!

  93. Harry Stoner

    One walk.

    That’s typically a sign things are going right.

    Nice to see Ashcraft in pre injury form.

    Maybe he tried to come back too quickly end of last season.

  94. VaRedsFan

    It’s nice not having Strickland’s paw prints on games like these

    • Harry Stoner

      Just knowing he’s not an option for Bell is mildly reassuring.