Five takeaways from Reds’ first four games

The Reds’ Scooter Gennett swings against the Nationals on Opening Day on Friday, March 30, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

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The Reds’ Scooter Gennett swings against the Nationals on Opening Day on Friday, March 30, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Two rainouts in one homstand a rare occurence in Cincinnati

Mother Nature claimed the biggest prize during the first homestand of the season for the Cincinnati Reds. You're about as likely to see two games postponed by rain in a five-game stretch in Cincinnati as you are to see Homer Bailey throw a no-hitter or Scooter Gennett hit four home runs.

The Reds had not been rained out twice in one homestand since June 1985, and while it may seem as if every game in April and May is in danger of being rained out — and there is some truth to that — these were only the 14th and 15th rainouts in the 16-year history of Great American Ball Park.

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With four games in the books, it’s too early to draw any grand conclusions about the Reds, but here are five takeaways from the three games against the Washington Nationals and the one game against the Chicago Cubs.

1. First impressions: Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle, both beginning a season in the big leagues for the first time, delivered quality starts in their first outings.

Romano allowed three earned runs on four hits in six innings in a 6-5 loss to the Nationals on Sunday.

“In Sal’s situation, he didn’t really have his breaking ball and changeup,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He had to make the bulk of his pitches with his fastball against a team that scored 13 runs the day before. I thought he did a really nice job.”

Mahle pitched six scoreless innings against the Cubs in a 1-0 victory Monday.

“Tyler, in the first inning, was just off the plate a little bit and made really good adjustments in the last five and attacked the zone,” Price said. “His approach was outstanding.”

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2. Fast start: Gennett is tied for fifth in the big leagues with a .471 average (8-for-17). He hit three home runs in his first 19 at-bats last season, his first in Cincinnati, but has yet to hit a home run or drive in a run this season.

3. Slow start: Joey Votto hit .200 on the homestand (3-for-15) and didn't record an extra-base hit. It's certainly no cause for alarm. He's a career .295 hitter in April, and his average in every other month stands between .302 and .325.

4. Bouncing back: Closer Raisel Iglesias made his season debut Sunday after spending three days on the paternity list. He gave up a home run to Bryce Harper in the ninth inning, and that turned out be an important run when Phil Gosselin hit a two-run home run in the ninth for the Reds. It would have been a game-tying home run if not for Harper's home run

The next day against the Cubs, Iglesias entered the game with the Reds leading 1-0 and runners at first and second and two outs in the eighth. Iglesias walked Kris Bryant to load the bases but then struck out Anthony Rizzo to end the inning.

“Anthony is one of the best hitters in the league,” Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart said, “and I think Iggy is one of the best closers in the league. He just kind of reared back to see what happens. We didn’t want to give in. Obviously, you can’t give in with the bases loaded and only up a run. It was going to be heater the whole way. If he was going to get beat, it was going to be with the fastball, and if we got him out, it was probably going to be with the fastball.”

» PHOTOS: Reds vs. Cubs | Opening Day

5. Rotation plans: The postponement of Tuesday's game to May 19 when the Reds will play a split doubleheader against the Cubs (1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. starts) allows the Reds to throw their top four starters — Homer Bailey, Luis Castillo, Romano and Mahle — in the four-game series that starts Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

“(The rainout) affects Cody Reed really the most,” Price said Tuesday. “We’re not going to push everyone back. We’ve already got (Wednesday) off, which pushes everybody back an extra day, so Cody, we’ll get him ready and slot him tentatively on (Monday) and continue to work to keep him ready and then we’ll go with the originally-planned rotation with Homer throwing the first game against the Pirates.”


THURSDAY’S GAME

Reds at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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