“It was a game against the Diamondbacks and he gave up a two-out, three-run homer, but even though he gave up the home run, he just stood out in one inning,” Price said. “I told (pitching coach) Mack Jenkins, ‘This guy could end up being one of our top pitching prospects this year — not just in 2018 or 2019. He may end up competing for a spot this year.’ ”
Mind-numbering: The club will need to make 40-man and 25-man roster moves to create room for Mahle, who will become the 10th Reds pitcher to make his major league debut and sixth as a starter this season. He will be Cincinnati's ninth rookie starting pitcher and 16th rookie pitcher overall.
He also will be the 29th pitcher to appear in at least one game this season, including Scooter Gennett. That’s three short of matching last season’s total, but he will be the 15th pitcher to start at least one game, matching last season’s total. The franchise record for starting pitchers in one season is 17 in 2003.
Debut II: Also making his major league debut Sunday will be catcher Chad Wallach, whose familiarity with Mahle made the decision easy.
“It’s a good marriage,” Price said. “He’s the one guy who has familiarity of catching (Mahle).”
“I’m really excited,” said Wallach, who was promoted from Triple-A Louisville on Friday when Stuart Turner was placed on the three-day paternity leave to attend the birth of his son in Louisiana. “It’ll be a good time. I’ve caught him a few times this year and last year. He’s such a good strike-thrower. He’s always had a good fastball, and his off-speed stuff is getting better.”
Wallach was looking forward to his father, former major league third baseman and current Miami Marlins bench coach Tim Wallach, joining other family members and friends to witness his debut.
“I didn’t think he’d be able to make it,” Chad Wallach said. “It’s awesome that he’ll be able to be here.”
Wallach will be the second son of a former major leaguer to play for the Reds in a span of five days. Right-handed pitcher Luke Farrell, son of former pitcher and current Boston manager John Farrell, pitched in relief for Cincinnati on Wednesday.
“I can only imagine what it’s like,” Price said.
Homer on hold: Right-hander Homer Bailey, who was due to start Sunday until developing irritation in the back of his right shoulder in the third inning against the Cubs on Tuesday, now is scheduled to pitch against the Mets on Wednesday.
Price continues to say Bailey is fine and was pushed back just to be on the safe side. The Reds continue to exercise extreme caution with Bailey, who’s undergone three surgical procedures on his right arm and made 20 starts since 2014.
“He was going to throw a bullpen (Friday), but the bullpen mounds were a little wet, so we decided that he should stay off of them,” Price said. “He’ll throw a long bullpen (Saturday) or (Sunday).”
Series wrapup: Cancer survivor Jameson Taillon (7-5, 4.85 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Pirates in Sunday's 1:10 p.m. series finale. Taillon returned from the disabled list June 12 after undergoing testicular cancer surgery May 8. He is 1-2 with a 7.01 ERA in five career starts against the Reds.