Have no fear, because the Reds minor league teams kick off their seasons tonight! All 4 teams playing right now have night games, so if you find yourself with nothing to do on a Thursday evening, they're worth checking out. Here's what's happening tonight:
- The Louisville Bats open up their season at home tonight against the Columbus Clippers, first pitch is at 7:05. Jonny Gomes, Drew Stubbs, and Adam Rosales are likely the guys to watch in this one, but the real story is Homer Bailey's season debut. Can he keep up his string of great starts facing minor leaguers?
- Our brand new AA affiliate, the Carolina Mudcats, take on the Mississippi Braves tonight at 8:05 on the road. The Mudcats roster is stacked this year, with names like Frazier, Heisey, Henry, Francisco, and Cozart anchoring the lineup. Paired with a solid bullpen, this team should win a lot of games. Dallas Buck starts for the 'Cats tonight.
- In the world of High-A, the Sarasota Reds (or the S-Reds, as they're known) also start their season on the road in St. Lucie. Matt Klinker starts for Sarasota, but the real story for this team will be the play of some of the Reds top prospects, Yonder Alonso, Neftali Soto, and Devin Mesoraco.
- Dayton kicks things off at home tonight against the Great Lakes Loons (which according to Wikipedia, is the Dodgers affiliate based in Midland, Michigan). Matt Fairel starts for the Dragons, and Billings standouts Tyler Stovall (who attended Moeller HS in Cincinnati (same as Junior!)) and David Sappelt (who hit .299/.354/.496 in Billings) will likely anchor the lineup. First pitch is 7:00.
Now you may be asking, how do I follow these excellent minor league games? Glad you asked. All minor league games are available on GameDay throughout the season on the minor leagues website, as well as select games on MiLB.TV and MiLB GameDay Audio. You can sign up for the TV service to watch the Louisville game, and according to their site, the Carolina and Dayton games are available on the radio tonight. I was surprised to not see the Bats game on that list, but I'd imagine WKRD in Louisville will have it, along with the excellent Jim Kelch. Go Future Reds!