by Matt Wilkes

Notes from Game 1 of the Reds Summer Series

The Reds kicked off a three-game weekend series dubbed the “Summer Series” on Friday night. The teams were selected by Freddy Benavides (Fred’s Reds) and Jeff Pickler (Cincy Ballers), who are also serving as the managers. The winning team gets Monday off. Big stakes. Here are the rosters for those curious:

Pickler’s Cincy Ballers took the first game, 5-1. Here are observations from Spenser Brown, Matt Korte, Steve Mancuso, and myself:


Matt Davidson stole the show in this one for the Cincy Ballers. He hit two home runs — a three-run blast to center field in the first inning and an opposite field solo shot in the fourth. Both long balls came against right-hander Tyler Mahle. Davidson was having a solid spring training before the shutdown and hasn’t appeared to miss a beat in summer camp. While he strikes out a lot (34.5 K% in 1,028 plate appearances), he has plenty of pop (.210 ISO). He’d be a strong weapon against lefties (career 119 wRC+).

Here’s Davidson’s first homer:

Prior to Davidson’s first home run Josh VanMeter doubled to lead off the game and Nick Castellanos was hit in the upper back by a fastball. He dropped to the ground in pain and left the game, but later returned to the dugout. The Reds said he’s “fine.”

Jesse Winker got Fred’s Reds on the board in the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field.

Christian Colon smoked an RBI double into the left-field gap in the seventh inning, extending the lead to 5-1 for the Cincy Ballers.

Curt Casali picked up a single against lefty Wade Miley, while Tucker Barnhart lined a 1-2 pitch to left field against righty Joel Kuhnel. It seems likely that the Reds will use a platoon at catcher this season. Career splits for both catchers:

  • Barnhart: 54 wRC+ vs. LHP, 90 wRC+ vs. RHP
  • Casali: 113 wRC+ vs. LHP, 80 wRC+ vs. RHP

Phillip Ervin struck out twice against Miley. He needs to hit lefties if he’s going to play — he’s a career .234/.303/.384 hitter against right-handed pitching.

Freddy Galvis drew a walk!


Aside from the two home runs given up to Davidson, Mahle was solid. He struck out seven, walked none, and hit a batter in four innings. The right-hander threw several sharp sliders, an encouraging sign. The long ball continues to be a problem, however.

Wade Miley was sharp in his own right, striking out seven in four innings. He issued three walks and two hits but kept Fred’s Reds off the scoreboard.

Sal Romano, David Carpenter, and Josh Smith threw scoreless innings. Tejay Antone allowed the solo home run to Winker and nearly gave up a second to Aristides Aquino. Antone got into trouble again in the seventh, issuing two walks but escaping with two strikeouts. Joel Kuhnel, who was optioned to the alternate camp site in Prasco today, gave up a run in his inning of work.


The Reds continue to shift heavily, and it’s working. Four different batters hit balls directly into the shift, all at different parts of the field.

  • Votto double play (shaded up the middle)
  • Davidson groundout (shifted left)
  • Payton groundout (shifted right)
  • Votto groundout (shallow right field)

Freddy Galvis made a nice play up the middle and a strong throw to cut down the speedy Travis Jankowski.

Nick Senzel really showed off his speed in center field by cutting off a ball in the gap to hold Casali to a single.

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.

One Comment

  • R Smith

    I like where the reds starting pitchers are 1 week.prior to the start of a sprint. Miley looks like Tom Browning.. He toes the rubber and throws strikes and works fast. That’s a good complement to 3 power righties.