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.
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.
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:
[Graphics: Baseball Savant]
Mike Hart also contributed to this preview.