Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
7:05 PM ET
Rookie Davis vs. Jameson Taillon
Nobody was more down on the Reds coming into 2017. I mean, literally, nobody was more negative than me. My prediction of 62 wins in the 2017 Red Reporter prediction contest was the lowest of everyone in the contest. I fully expected a repeat of last season, and perhaps the worst starting rotation since Elmer Dessens, Chris Reitsma, Lance Davis, Jose Acevedo, and Osvaldo Fernandez in 2001. In fact, I even spent an hour or so researching the Reds worst starting rotations in history for a potential article before ultimately scratching the idea.
We’re only seven games into the season, and it’s worth noting that Major League Baseball history is littered with teams that have started fast and then faded away, but wow it’s a been a fucking awesome first seven games. Last night’s performance from the bullpen, coupled with a little plate discipline from the hitters has me looking at things very differently than when I was making picks for the prediction contest just over a week ago.
For instance, are the Cardinals actually good? That lineup the Reds faced over the weekend didn’t strike much fear in my heart. Is Pittsburgh? They didn’t improve at all after winning just 78 games last year. We know Milwaukee isn’t any good. So if three of the of the four teams in the division are having down years, maybe this could be a random magical year similar to 1999. The Reds have currently allowed the least runs of any team in the National League (21), and are tied for the most runs of any team in the NL Central (33). Maybe. Just maybe. Damn this feels good.
Rookie, Rookie Davis is facing off against Jameson Taillon in tonight’s matchup. Davis struggled in his first career start, allowing four runs in three innings, mostly due to two home runs by Daniel Nava. After seven innings from the bullpen last night, the Reds definitely need Davis to last a bit longer tonight. They’ll probably be without both Michael Lorenzen and Cody Reed since they each pitched three innings last night. I suspect Price will be a bit more patient with Davis tonight, but hey, there’s a reason he carried seven relievers on the roster.
Taillon had success against Cincinnati both times he faced them last season. He won both games, allowing four runs over 11 innings of work. He was absolutely dominant in his first game of the 2017, when he pitched seven scoreless innings in route to a 3-0 victory over Boston
On paper, the edge probably goes to the Pirates tonight, but the Reds have been tearing the paper up all season, so let’s just see how it plays out.