The baseball season officially began last night as we were treated to a truly terrible first pitch from Dr. Fauci, an interesting rendition of the National Anthem, somewhat creepy cardboard cut outs behind home plate, and a nearly two hour rain delay. Tonight, the season will get started in Cincinnati as the Reds welcome the Tigers to Great American Ball Park.
Earlier this afternoon the Reds announced their Opening Day starting lineup and caught several fans by surprise. Manager David Bell decided to load up the lineup with right-handed hitters to face the left-handed throwing Matthew Boyd. Most notably, Shogo Akiyama is not in the lineup to begin the 2020 campaign and will at least have to wait for a potential pinch-hitting situation in the later innings to make his Major League debut.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) July 24, 2020
Phillip Ervin gets the nod in Left Field over Akiyama, and will bat in the leadoff position, after hitting .349 against left-handed pitching last season. In the Designated Hitter position, David Bell went with Matt Davidson who spent all of 2019 in AAA for the Texas Rangers. Davidson did hit 33 Home Runs and drove in 101 runs in AAA. Behind the plate, Curt Casali got the nod as the switch-hitting Tucker Barnhart was brutal last season from the right hand side batting just .133 against left-handed pitching.
Matt Davidson (@matt_davidson24) is an incredible story: When COVID-19 delayed the @MLB season, he returned home and taught baseball lessons to kids to earn extra money. Now he’s on the @Reds Opening Day roster — and makes history as their first-ever DH at home. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 24, 2020
On the mound for the Reds will be Sonny Gray who is making his third career Opening Day start. Gray is coming off of an All-Star season in 2019 after posting the sixth lowest ERA in Major League Baseball at 2.87. Expect to see the bullpen get quite a bit of work this evening though. Last night, the four starting pitchers averaged just 74 pitches thrown and nobody went further than 5 1/3 innings. Clearly, managers are being cautious early on this season as pitching staffs didn’t have a typical spring training to gear up for Opening Day.
The first pitch is at 6:10 Eastern Time so find Fox Sports Ohio on your television, get your MLB.TV subscription set up, or head on over to KSBar to watch the game and enjoy the game day specials! I’ll be back postgame with a recap of Game 1 of the 2020 Cincinnati Reds season.