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Reds vs. Cardinals, Game 1 - Preview and Lineups

Detroit Tigers v. Cincinnati Reds Photo by Kirk Irwin/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s finally here. The Reds are playing baseball in front of fans at Great American Ball Park today.

After the pandemic forced the Reds to play their games behind closed doors last season, it’s going to be a welcome sight today to see fans in the stands. There may not have been a parade this year, but the anticipation and excitement is still palpable in Cincinnati just like it always is on this day. If you’re one of the lucky few who will be in the park today, know that Reds Nation will be super jealous. Otherwise, put your hat and gloves on, crack open a cold one, and watch with us in the game thread.

Luis Castillo gets the start for CIncinnati today, in his 2nd Opening Day start and first since 2019. After starting his career as the lone bright spot in a dismal Cincinnati rotation, Castillo flew under the radar last year with Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer getting the headlines on the pitching side. Still, Castillo did what he always does, and La Piedra put up another rock solid season for the Reds.

This year, however, Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray aren’t walking through that door. (Sonny hopefully will in a couple of weeks, and Bauer will in the visitor’s clubhouse door, and not the one that helps the Reds.)

The Reds needs Luis Castillo to be the rock that he’s shown he can be, and to put up some zeroes and strike some dudes out. If Castillo can keep them in ballgames until pitching reinforcements get healthy, the Reds will be in a good spot this summer. If he can’t, the Reds will be relying on the back-end of the rotation to stop the bleeding, and the Reds could find themselves in some trouble.

The lineup today looks an awful lot like the lineup looked last year, except for the addition of Jonathan India as the second baseman. He’s the first Reds player to make his debut starting on Opening Day since Chris Sabo, which C. Trent pointed out and is a stat that I’m still trying to get my head around.

They’ll face Jack Flaherty and the Cardinals. Flaherty has asserted himself as the Cardinals’ ace, finishing 4th in Cy Young voting in 2019. He struggled at times last season, but didn’t even face the Reds. Opening Days in Cincinnati are usually pitcher’s duels, so expect this one to not be one, given the way 2021 has gone so far.

It’s a balmy 37 degrees in Cincinnati today, but the 12,000+ who are able to be in the stadium today couldn’t care less. For the rest of us, the game will be on 700 as it always is, and on Fox Sports Ball Whatever. First pitch at 4:10.

Welcome, baseball.