It’s April 16 and we’re two weeks into the major league season. How are things going in Cincinnati? The Reds are currently 8-5 and tied for the best record in the National League (with Colorado). Cincinnati also owns the second-best run differential (+15) in the NL. The team has had a surprisingly hot start to the season, and fans have plenty to be excited about right now.
Let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.
Cincinnati’s Bullpen Has Been Really Good
Reds relievers have played a major role in the team’s early season success. Bryan Price has been willing to go to the bullpen early and often, and so far they’ve delivered. As of Sunday afternoon, Reds relievers had the third-best ERA in the National League (2.79). They’ve had that success in spite of the fact that they’ve been worked harder than any bullpen in baseball up to this point.
John Perrotto of FanRag Sports has a helpful summary of the turnaround. In light of the bullpen’s workload, it’s fair to be concerned about how many innings they’ve pitched up to this point. The team is going to have to start getting quality innings out of their starters.
Unless the Reds game is shortened by rain, crickets or some other intervention, their bullpen will end today w/ more innings than their SP.
— Jeff Erickson (@Jeff_Erickson) April 16, 2017
Fans had an opportunity to see two players make their Reds debuts this week. Jesse Winker made his long-awaited major league debut over the weekend. He got an opportunity to pinch hit on Friday and Saturday. That appearance on Saturday resulted in Winker’s first major league hit.
— Craig Harvey (@CraigHarveyOU) April 16, 2017
On Sunday, Winker was optioned back to Louisville in a series of moves to help bolster the pitching staff. Wick Terrell has a helpful breakdown of the moves at Red Reporter. This isn’t the last time Reds fans will see Winker in 2017.
Sal Romano made his debut for the Reds on Sunday. Things didn’t go as smooth for Sal, as he gave up two runs, three hits, and four walks in three innings of work. However, he’s likely to stay in the rotation at this time because…
Another Starter Goes Down
Cincinnati’s early season success has been even more impressive given they’re missing two of their best starting pitchers. Unfortunately, that number jumped to three this past week. Brandon Finnegan left his start on Saturday after one inning, and it sounds like he could miss several weeks of action.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com quotes Bryan Price as saying the team can “realistically expect him to be back here in a few weeks.”
This makes it more likely that Bronson Arroyo will continue to see starts for the Reds. In two appearances for Cincinnati, Arroyo is 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA. Fans will remember Arroyo’s time in Cincinnati fondly, but this latest stint feels like it’s not going to end well for the 40-year-old pitcher.
I would trade Bronson Arroyo for a half-eaten bag of Skittles.
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) April 14, 2017
Cincinnati is awaiting the returns of Devin Mesoraco, Homer Bailey, and Anthony DeSclafani to the major league roster. Yesterday, Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer had a helpful rundown of where each player stands.
If everything goes well for Mesoraco this week, he could be back in the majors by Friday. The team is likely to be cautious with Mesoraco’s playing time early on, but he could be a major boost to the middle of Cincinnati’s lineup. Since 2014, Mesoraco has only appeared in 39 games.
Both Bailey and DeSclafani are targeting a return sometime this summer. For the details on their progress check out Zach’s article.
Your Billy Hamilton Highlight of the Week
This guy continues to do things that make you say “Wow.” Even though the team lost on Sunday, this catch was impressive.
— LeadingMLB ™ (@LeadingMLB) April 16, 2017
Cubs and Cardinals Update
I’ve noticed in the comments section some complaining that KSR doesn’t give equal time to the Cubs and Cardinals in this article. Let’s take a quick look at where both of those teams stand as of today.
Cubs Update: The Cubs are currently 1.5 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds.
Cardinals Update: The Cardinals are currently 4 games back of the first-place Cincinnati Reds, and they have the worst record in the National League at the time of writing (3-8).
Cincinnati gets an off-day tomorrow before hosting the Orioles for three games. On Friday, they’ll welcome the Cubs to Great American Ball Park for a three-game series.