The Cincinnati Reds got a well-deserved day off on Thursday after sweeping away the first place Texas Rangers at home in Great American Ball Park. Said Rangers sat alone atop the American League West prior to their trip to Cincinnati, and are now stuck in a deadlock there with the potent Houston Astros.
Hey! The Reds can actually beat good teams at home!
What they’ll be tasked with beginning today, however, is accomplishing something that even the better Reds clubs of the last generation have struggled to pull off - winning games on the West Coast. That begins in Oakland tonight with the A’s, where they’ll play all weekend before heading south to face the potent San Diego Padres.
It’ll be Luis Cessa getting the start tonight to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. After being shelled and - for the sake of the bullpen - left somewhat out to dry in an April 14th marauding by the Philadelphia Phillies, Cessa bounced back with a solid-enough outing in Pittsburgh his last time out (4.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K). If he can replicate the latter this evening, the Reds will have a good chance to win a game started by Cessa for the first time all season (they’re 0-4 in them thus far).
Oakland will counter with veteran Drew Rucinski, who at 34 years old is back in the big leagues for the first time since 2018. A product of The Ohio State University, Drew has pitched at the game’s highest level for each of the Angels, Twins, and Marlins, though the lone start of his career came all the way back in 2015. That said, he spent 2019-2022 pitching in the KBO with the NC Dinos and made 121 starts of 3.06 ERA ball, and has been activated for this start after beginning the year on the injured list after inking a $3 million guaranteed deal with Oakland over the winter.
First pitch in tonight’s series opener is set for 9:40 PM ET, so get your naps in early.