The 2024 season is getting underway this afternoon. The Cincinnati Reds are going to be hosting the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park this afternoon. First pitch is set for 4:10pm ET.

Starting Lineups

Here are the lineups for Opening Day:

Washington Nationals

Cincinnati Reds

CJ Abrams – SS Jonathan India – 2B
Lane Thomas – RF Will Benson – CF
Jesse Winker – LF Christian Encarnacion-Strand – 1B
Joey Meneses – DH Jeimer Candelario – 3B
Joey Gallo – 1B Jake Fraley – RF
Keibert Ruiz – C Elly De La Cruz – SS
Eddie Rosario – CF Spencer Steer – LF
Ildemaro Vargas – 3B Nick Martini – DH
Luis Garcia Jr. – 2B Tyler Stephenson – C
Josiah Gray – RHP Frankie Montas – RHP

Nick Senzel was a late scratch from the Nationals lineup. He was originally starting at third base and hitting 8th for Washington.

Starting Pitchers

Stats are from 2023.

Pitcher IP ERA WHIP BB% K%
Frankie Montas 1.1 0.00 2.25 14.3% 14.3%
Josiah Gray 159.0 3.91 1.46 11.5% 20.5%
Links: Frankie Montas’ Stats | Josiah Gray’s Stats

Frankie Montas

There was only one game for Frankie Montas in the big leagues in 2023, so looking at much of anything from last season for him is useless. Below are his numbers from 2022, and while those are more useful, they still are of limited use given the shoulder injury since then and that he’s now pitching in a new division in a new league in a different ballpark that plays about as different as possible as the one he pitched in during 2022.

With that said, for his career he’s been better against right-handed batters, holding them to an OPS 120 points lower than lefties have put up against him. His home and road splits are big for his career, too. Given that his home ballpark was in Oakland for the most part, that’s not surprising as it’s one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the game. His ERA is 1.10 lower at home than it has been on the road, and his OPS against is 73 points lower at home, too.

2022 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
RHH 318 72 17 1 7 4.7% 24.2% .245 .288 .381
LHH 290 65 11 0 11 9.7% 22.4% .254 .330 .426

Pitch Usage (in 2022)

4-Seam 2-Seam Slider Split
Velo 96.2 95.7 88.1 86.5
Usage 13.2% 29.4% 25.0% 32.4%

Josiah Gray

Coming off of an All-Star season, the former Reds prospect will toe the rubber against the organization that drafted him. Last year he had big home and road splits, posting an ERA of 2.97 with an OPS against of .686 on the road, compared to an ERA of 5.49 and an OPS against of .875 when he was pitching at home. When it comes to lefties and righties – the splits aren’t much in terms of OPS. That said, right-handed hitters walk less, make more contact, but hit for a little bit less power than lefties did against Gray last season.

2023 Splits

Split PA H 2B 3B HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
RHH 351 80 18 0 9 9.7% 18.2% .261 .348 .407
LHH 347 72 11 1 13 13.3% 22.8% .242 .343 .416

Pitch Usage

4-SM 2-SM Cutter Curve Slider Change
Velo 93.7 93.2 89.6 82.3 85.6 88.7
Usage 18.6% 15.1% 13.0% 15.2% 36.4% 1.8%

When and Where

  • Game time: 4:10pm ET
  • Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati
  • Watch: Bally Sports Ohio, MLB.tv, WLWT-5.1 (Cincinnati area)
  • Listen: 700 WLW AM (Cincinnati area)
  • Forecast: 56°, mostly sunny, 0% chance of rain

News and Notes

The Reds have claimed Yosver Zulueta from Toronto

Francys Romero is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have picked up right-handed pitcher Yosver Zulueta on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. We wrote a bit about this this afternoon when the news broke if you’re looking to read more about the addition.

Just as a bookkeeping note – Matt McLain was moved to the 60-day injured list to clear the 40-man roster spot for the acquisition of Zulueta.

Mike Ford re-signs with the Reds

After opting out of his deal with Cincinnati after being told he didn’t make the team, Mike Ford is back. He’s signed a minor league deal according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

ZiPS projects the Reds to be division contenders

Even with the injuries that the team has had, the Reds are projected to still be contenders in the National League Central according to the updated ZiPS projections. They are still projected to finish in third place, but just three games out of first place. That’s easily within the margin of a coin flip win or two for the Cardinals, Cubs, or Reds to swinging the division in a different direction.

Redleg Nation’s Predictions

This morning we published the predictions from multiple writers here at Redleg Nation. No one picked the team to have a losing record for what feels like the first time in a very long time.

Around the Beat

Elly De La Cruz wants more

Over at The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans wrote about Elly De La Cruz entering his second season but makes some comparison’s with Kansas City Royals star Bobby Witt Jr.

Speed and Athleticism

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote about the Reds speed and athleticism, and how it came to be – transforming the team over a few years with help from both drafting and developing to making trades to bring in multiple players.

165 Responses

  1. CI3J

    And here.

    We.

    Go.

    Looking forward to spending another spring, summer, and (early) fall with you all here on RLN.

    Let’s go Reds!

  2. wkuchad

    I’ve been waiting for this post all offseason. Let’s go Reds!

  3. Jpser05

    I won’t be able to watch the game on MLB.TV until tonight around 9:00 or so since I am in the Nationals’ home territory and I don’t get MASN on Youtube TV. So, I hope the game goes well and I can’t wait to watch the game tonight! The hard part will be staying away from the score for all those hours. 🙁

    • CallowayPost

      There’s a quality and cheap VPN ($5 a month) that Mozilla Firefox has that I use with
      MLB.TV. It can be used across all devices.

      That being said, let’s get this season off on a winning note!

  4. Klugo

    Batting Steer 7th is… interesting.

    • wkuchad

      Copying from my other post:

      I’m not sure about Candy (need to check his stats), but every other player in spots 1-6 hit better than Steer against righties last year.

      Steer is more or less in the correct spot. This shows we have a pretty solid lineup vs righties.

      • Matt McWax

        Won’t be true next year, IMO.

    • Rick

      That one caught my eye as well.
      Go Reds!

    • AllTheHype

      No issue with Steer – 7 from me. The top 7 you could pull out of a hat and not have a bad order. Like Benson up at the top. About time his OB ability was recognized.

  5. Indy Red Man

    Man we have a deep lineup, but it’s mostly station to station without Matty and Freidl.
    I thought Gray threw harder? Need to get off to a good start because Nats are going to lose a lot of games

  6. Redgoggles

    I’d like to focus on Bensons order in the lineup. In case we didn’t dwell on that last year enough.

    David Bell is genius.

    Let’s go!

  7. SultanofSwaff

    Things I don’t want to see today–
    –a viking helmet
    –out of body revenge games from Senzel and Winker.

    • wkuchad

      What, you don’t want to see any Reds’ homeruns!? 😉

    • Jim Walker

      Sadly true to form Senzel is a late scratch.

      • AllTheHype

        Dang, was looking forward to that .164/.200/.257 split against Montas. Would have been nice to be on the other side of that once.

  8. Amarillo

    Comments questioning the lineup means Baseball is officially back.

  9. AllTheHype

    Think we’ll get Statcast this game lol?

    • Doug Gray

      Only until someone hits a foul ball and takes out one of the tracking cameras.

      • AllTheHype

        Well they won’t be getting the replacement camera from Arizona, I can tell you that! The only ones in that state seem to be in Chase Field.

  10. DaveCT

    The Nats may replace the Mariners as the Reds’ alter ego team, with Senzel, Winker, Gray, Rainey, Law.

    The M’s just DFA’d Taylor Trammell. I have to wonder if he ends up in DC.

    • HoF-13

      I wonder if the Reds would claim him.

      • Doc

        No options left. Does that mean they would have to sign him to a minor league contract?

  11. VaRedsFan

    What a great article the Doug referenced about Elly.

    Worth a read. It is behind a paywall, but you can get around that by toggling the reader view. (It’s the little square in the address box of your browser)

    • VaRedsFan

      Some notes include:
      Eliminating the leg kick. (Maybe he read my suggestion last year 😉
      Working with Juan Soto…hitting balls off a tee, concentrating on going opposite field.
      Working with the hitting coach, who traveled to the DR and Miami to help him.
      Working on doing all of his interviews this Spring in English, which he succeeded in doing.

      I hope his hard work pays off. You certainly can’t question his work ethic.

  12. Optimist

    They’ll need the beer sales, don’t lose the opener.

  13. TR

    It seems like a beautiful day for the opening day festivities. It’s unique in ML baseball to celebrate the first professional franchise. A win by the Reds will top it off with 161 games to go.

  14. Mike W

    Wow. Bad management is showing up before the 1st pitch!
    Fraley should be hitting behind Elly, and I bet we’re the ONLY team in baseball who has their DH (!) hitting 8th: Martini. In his last 5 years COMBINED he has played in 141 games, never hit above .300 and 8 HR’s and No SB’s! Really? Thats the best guy we have on th roster who only has to hit? Ouch.

    • VaRedsFan

      Are you aware that they lost 1/3 of their starting lineup before the season started?

      • Optimist

        But still 0 SBs, so there’s that.

    • greenmtred

      It seems that it’s always a good idea to wait and see how the game turns out before griping about the lineup.

  15. LarkinPhillips

    Fraley behind Elly encourages them to bring a lefty in late in game to turn him around to right handed. You don’t want to bring a lefty in with steer behind him.

  16. gusnwally

    WOW, what a shock I had. During the intro’s when Joe said Fernando Cruz. I thought he said Rolando Roomes. I almost spit my oxygen tubes out of my nose.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I’m glad that didn’t happen. 🙂

  17. GreatRedLegsFan

    After so much said and done, there’s Jonathan India playing 2B and leading off.

  18. MK

    What a surprise Senzel out of a Reds game with an injury.

  19. VaRedsFan

    Montas ERA this season so far 0.00

    • Tom Mitsoff

      We’ll take eight more innings like that today.

  20. Tom Mitsoff

    Da Wink shouldn’t have challenged Fraley.

  21. CI3J

    An 11 pitch 1st inning for Montas.

    I’ll take that!

  22. VaRedsFan

    Umps in mid-season form already.
    That was a clear strike to India.

  23. Bet on Red

    but but but you heard who hit a homer in his first spring training at back. Of course opening day is blacked out where I am at lol

  24. AllTheHype

    Painful watching Josiah pitching for them. The Bailey contract cost us more than just a bad Bailey. It cost us Josiah to get rid of the contract. They should have just ate it. Oh well.

    • Matt McWax

      I think he’s decent but overrated. I have mocked him and Jeter Downs quite a bit, saying that we won the trade (Kyle Farmer).

      • AllTheHype

        His stuff took a step forward last year and Nats 4 more years of control Josiah. I don’t think the Reds won that.

  25. CI3J

    Steer with the first RBI and Fraley with the first run scored of 2024!

  26. VaRedsFan

    That’s why I love Steer!!!
    2 strikes…go with the pitch.
    Delivers!!

  27. CI3J

    And Martini with the first HR of 2024!

  28. VaRedsFan

    Martini….Shaken!!! Not Stirred!!!

  29. earmbrister

    Got back home just in time. Good start.

  30. Mike W

    Great move putting Martini in!!
    ????

  31. VaRedsFan

    Ty keeps the line moving.
    Thinking he bounces back in a big way this year.

  32. AllTheHype

    As I was saying, glad the Red chose Martini over Ford lol.

  33. Mike W

    Those were supposed to be laughing faces that my iPad turned into question marks. Go Reds! Pile it on! I LOVE Benson!

  34. Tom Mitsoff

    Didn’t take them long to figure Gray out.

    • AllTheHype

      Reds are in the Gray area for sure.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Four balls hit 100-plus in the second inning.

    • Matt McWax

      He doesn’t have a lot of margin of error with the fastball. He should probably throw even more offspeed stuff but then he’d be out after 5 innings most games, dancing around the plate.

  35. RedsMonk65

    Reds’ hitters all over Gray so far. Good to see. Keep it going.

  36. CI3J

    Gray at 43 pitches through 2 innings.

    If this keeps up, we’ll be in that Washington bullpen before the 5th inning.

  37. VaRedsFan

    Good inning men!!
    Need the shutdown inning following a crooked number.

  38. Ethan L

    Should they have sent the runner? I think so.

  39. CI3J

    Montas really cruising here.

    32 pitches through 3.

  40. Optimist

    What sort of freakish pitch count is this – 33 thru 3? Does he expect to pitch 5 complete innings? What a throwback.

    • AllTheHype

      pitching to weak contact, not worrying about Ks. Like it.

  41. Tom Mitsoff

    For those wondering why Montas got the start today, it’s already apparent. He’s in the strike zone, pitching to contact, but Washington can’t square up his stuff. I think there are some in the organization who want Hunter Greene to watch Montas closely.

    • AllTheHype

      If Hunter had Montas’ split, he’d be able to pitch to contact more. But when a batter only has to defend two pitches, they have a better chance to square it and he has to stay around the edges and nibble.

      Now he supposedly has been working on some offspeed. We will see Saturday. He needs to give the batter something else to think about to keep his pitch count down.

    • CI3J

      Reminds me of when things clicked for Cueto from him watching Bronson Arroyo pitch.

  42. 2020ball

    Opening day and MLB.TV immediately disappoints, cant get the audio to sync to the video on my stream. God what an awful service, gets more expensive and worse quality every year without fail.

      • 2020ball

        Yeah tried that in multiple ways. Force stopped the app even

    • JB

      I’m listening to the Washington feed and it’s ok.

  43. Matt McWax

    Votto-esque Fraley right there.

  44. VaRedsFan

    Two bags for Rake.
    Opposite field, which is rare for him.

  45. Tom Mitsoff

    Wow! Loving this! Steer’s going to move up quickly from seventh in the order if this keeps up.

  46. CI3J

    Martini says “I had so much fun the first time, I THINK I’LL DO IT AGAIN!”

  47. Bet on Red

    Martini hitting more home runs then bond has women in a movie

  48. JB

    Martini haters are really ticked off today.

    • CI3J

      Who are these Martini haters you keep talking about? I never saw anyone say anything bad about him.

      • JB

        Lol. All the people talking over the winter about him being old and there are better guys in the minors that should take his place.

  49. VaRedsFan

    MARTINI-BOMB

    Your MLB HR leader folks!!

  50. AllTheHype

    Martini league leader HRs and RBI. Yeah Baby.

  51. AllTheHype

    Too bad Senzel is out. He might have had to pitch the 8th and 9th against his former team.

  52. RedsMonk65

    Wow. This is what I like to see (or hear, in my case).

  53. Matt McWax

    Sadak’s first Tobias Funke of the year.

  54. VaRedsFan

    Anybody else notice Elly rubbing his rib cage on the dive back to 3rd?

    • CI3J

      I think he was feeling the hole in his jersey.

  55. Indy Red Man

    Martini has the swing for Gabp. Saw that right away last year. Wonder what his home road splits were? Maybe Steer shouldn’t be down that low, but it’s all working

  56. VaRedsFan

    Shut down inning after the crooked number Frankie.

  57. 2020ball

    @Mike W

    “and I bet we’re the ONLY team in baseball who has their DH (!) hitting 8th: Martini. In his last 5 years COMBINED he has played in 141 games, never hit above .300 and 8 HR’s and No SB’s! Really? Thats the best guy we have on th roster who only has to hit? Ouch.”

  58. KYRedsfan

    Martini tied with Mookie Betts for the Home Run lead! Betts has hit one today and I guess he hit one in the Korea game but MLB Twitter shows him as having 2.

  59. MIredfan

    I think Martini’s OPS will come down slightly from it’s current 4.0.
    Probably settle in around 2.5 by all star break

  60. AllTheHype

    Gonna be a long year for the Nats I’m afraid.

    • Mark A Verticchio

      They will win more than people think, a lot of good young talent.

    • VaRedsFan

      Their call ups will provide a boost.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      They haven’t hit a ball hard off of him yet.

  61. CI3J

    Candelario is well on his way to earning the Golden Sombrero.

    • MIredfan

      I realize Candelario had a 3.1 WAR last year, but as a MI resident I remember prior years in which he was benched in Detroit due to his struggles at the plate.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        He has a career OPS+ of 102 (barely above average) and a career batting average of .243. That’s who he is.

      • 2020ball

        Him and EDLC have the biggest microscopes on them for sure. It’s one game, so no reason yet IMO to panic.

      • David

        I am not worried about EDLC. He is a potential super star. I know people look at the stretch last summer, where his BA plumetted, and I don’t think he hits lefties well at all. But this kid has some amazing talent. There will be games this year where he will be outstanding. I hope he just doesn’t try to do too much. Just play within yourself.
        Candelario….I am not sure this guy was the guy that the Reds needed, but …here he is. It’s just one game, let’s not get too hyper. But I don’t see him batting 4th all season.
        Martini looks like Lou Gehrig today, but again, it’s just one day. Glad the guy had a career day today, because he kind of did it all himself, with a little help from Spencer Steer. 😉

        And can Nick Senzel get any more bad luck? Really dumb, tough break for a guy that is just always having bad luck. What might have been….

      • greenmtred

        And last year he had 65 extra-base hits.

      • NorMichRed

        Great Opening Day for SP’s of the Reds and Tigers. Hope springs eternal that this season will be a worthwhile one for both. Made a 30-degree snow flurry day in the north woods seem a little more like a harbinger of nicer things to come.

    • VaRedsFan

      When they were going good last year, it was a different guy every day. Hopefully he can contribute when others aren’t.

  62. RedsMonk65

    Duty calls — must leave for Holy Thursday Mass. Keep it rolling. Hope to see good things when I check the box score later!

  63. DaveCT

    Senzel broke his thumb. I can’t really believe it and feel terribly sorry for this guy.

    Feel better and quick recovery, Nick

  64. Indy Red Man

    Winker batting 3rd and slating in Nick “I got a boo boo” Senzel at 3b? 90+ losses

    • Oldtimer

      Broken thumb. Not a boo-boo. Did you ever play in MLB with broken thumb?

  65. VaRedsFan

    Senzel injured is thumb taking infield in the pregame.
    Possibly broken thumb.

  66. Melvin

    Just tuning in. You all have done a great job in my absence on opening day. Congratulations! 🙂

  67. David

    I think this Reds’ Lineup can score some runs, especially against “league average” or mediocre pitchers. That’s the story today. TMUCH better than the starting lineup on Opening Day last year. I think they will be fine until TJ Friedl comes back. Not sure if we will see Matt McLain again this year. Maybe some prognosis about that will come out in a few weeks.

    I think their problem is when
    1) they face better teams, with better hitting and pitching.
    2) their pitching is not consistent. I think that is going to be their Achille’s heel. We just don’t know how consistent the pitching is going to be. There is talent there, just don’t know how good they can be. Nick Lodolo, Connor Phillips and Carson Spiers are down in AAA should somebody REALLY falter or get hurt.

    Frank Montas appears to be throwing pretty good today, don’t know his pitch limit. I hope he can keep it up in his next start.
    We will see the bullpen at some time here today.

  68. VaRedsFan

    I really like how Montas is changing speeds.
    Hitters are off balance. Hope he can share some knowledge to the youngsters.

  69. Old-school

    Montas is pitching. Changing speeds, hitting, spots, getting weak contact, and missing some bats. Wow. This is fun.

  70. Mark A Verticchio

    Let him go for one more inning.

  71. AllTheHype

    Remember, we’re not raising the ceiling with these new guys, only the floor.

    One of the funnier, head-scratching things I’ve read here at RLN.

    • greenmtred

      There is a scenario where the floor getting raised a lot and the ceiling remaining the same becomes a problem that transcends the pennant race.

  72. Mark Moore

    Spent the early part of the game on I95 South. What a treat to listen in on a great start from Frankie and the contributions all around … especially the Martini Man.

  73. Moon

    I picked up a subscription to MLB right before the game started. Since I am out of market I can watch all the games as well as watch some other games I am interested in. Enjoying it today anyway, haha. Montas did a great job. 6 shutout innings on opening day? I could not ask for a better start for the Reds. Now the bullpen….

  74. CI3J

    Pagan served up that meatball right down the middle of the plate.

  75. CI3J

    Suter strikes out the side.

    What a homecoming for him.

    • JB

      I’ve wanted him for the last two years. Very good lefty.

  76. VaRedsFan

    Thank goodness for that C-Flap on Steer.

  77. Dennis Westrick

    Please God (and Bell), anybody but Farmer in the 9th!

    • Jason Franklin

      I am happy he didn’t go Farmer, too. Should we assume Farmer is the mopper this year? Also, I think Suter could pitch ten days in a row with this “stuff.” And please understand, his stuff/timing/fastpitching are great. He doesn’t overpower but outwits the batter.

  78. VaRedsFan

    I’ll take the tack on run.
    Steer should have stayed put.

  79. VaRedsFan

    Relief pitcher pitching a 2nd inning?
    I’m overjoyed.

    • Jim t

      Pitching Sutter 2 innings was an easy decision with Friday being an off day and a bunch of left handed hitters coming up. The norm these days in baseball is if a reliever goes 2 innings he gets a day off before pitching again.

  80. Dennis Westrick

    Nice win! But, I still have nightmares’ about the nine (9) run lead the Reds bullpen blew against the Pie-Rats late last season!