by Matt Wilkes

RC+ Preview: Reds kick off series with Diamondbacks

The Reds (66-75) play host to the Diamondbacks (73-66) this weekend. It’s the first time the two teams have played this season. Arizona is red hot, having won nine of its last 10 games. First pitch of Friday’s opener is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Pitching Matchup

Tyler Mahle seems likely to remain in the rotation the rest of the season unless Alex Wood gets over his back ailment. While injuries are never a good thing, it’s valuable for the Reds and Mahle to get as many innings as possible the rest of the season. Mahle had a strong return to the rotation on Sunday, throwing 6.2 innings of one-run, two-hit baseball against the Cardinals. Don’t be mislead by his ERA. Mahle has taken huge steps forward this year with the areas he has the most control over: his strikeout and walk rates. He has also generated more ground balls. Some better HR/FB luck would even out his ERA.

Robbie Ray can be unhittable at times with his fastball-slider combo, but walks continue to be his weakness. The Reds would benefit from some patience at the plate tonight.

Reds Lineup

Nick Senzel remains out of the lineup with a shoulder impingement. Phillip Ervin gets the nod in center field, while José Peraza mans left field. Alex Blandino draws a start in the leadoff spot again. It’s a great place for him with Senzel and Jesse Winker out. Blandino had a 13.7% walk rate in Triple-A Louisville this season.

Here are the splits for Reds hitters against right-handed pitchers:


Diamondbacks Lineup

[Graphics: Baseball Savant]

Mike Hart also contributed to this preview.

Matt Wilkes got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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1 year ago

It would just kill David Bell to start VanMeter vs.a lefty pitcher. Tonight, Robbie Ray comes in with 70 walks in 152 innings, so of course we start Peraza, who has walked a grand total of 14 times with 312 at-bats. … What’s the harm in letting VanMeter try to work the lefty pitcher? We might actually learn something. This frustrates me. That’s not even to mention that Peraza is playing out of position.