Reds Notes: Pitchers on a strikeout roll in first series of season

Reds starter Trevor Bauer pitches against the Tigers on Sunday, July 26, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff
Reds starter Trevor Bauer pitches against the Tigers on Sunday, July 26, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

Wade Miley makes his first start as a Red on Monday

An unprecedented season began with a rare accomplishment by Cincinnati Reds pitchers.

The Reds began the season by striking out at least 10 batters in the first three games. They haven’t done that since 1893 when the the pitcher’s mound was moved to its current distance. Four times, most recently in 2016, the Reds recorded at least 10 strikeouts in the first two games.

Wade Miley will try to continue the trend when he makes his first start as a Red at 6:40 p.m. Monday. The Reds start a four-game series against Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

“It’s been fun watching Sonny (Gray) and Luis (Castillo) do what they did the first couple of days,” said Miley on Sunday before the final game of the series against the Detroit Tigers. “I don’t think I can get to their strikeout totals, but I hope I can get outs and get deep enough into the ball game.”

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Trevor Bauer struck out 13 batters in 6 1/3 innings Sunday. Castillo struck out 11 in six innings Saturday. Gray struck out nine batters in six innings Friday on Opening Day.

The Reds signed Miley to a two-year, $15 million free-agent deal in December. He was 14-6 with a 3.98 ERA and 140 strikeouts last season with the Houston Astros. In Summer Camp, Miley said he was trying to increase his pitch count to get ready for his first start.

“We’ve seen really (in Summer Camp) what we expected to see and have seen over the years,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Wade knows how to pitch. He has the stuff, but he’s smart. He’s crafty. He knows how to attack hitters. He’s a nice addition to our rotation just because he gives us a different look, too. It’s nice to slot him in and mix it up. He’s going to fit in nice. We’re looking forward to his first start as a Red.”

Lineup shakeup: The first lineup the Cincinnati Reds announced at 9 a.m. Sunday included Mike Moustakas and Nick Senzel

Moustakas, who was 4-for-8 with four RBIs in the first two games, was scratched 71 minutes later and then placed on the injured list. Senzel was scratched about an hour before the 1:10 p.m. start against the Detroit Tigers at Great American Ball Park.

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Reds manager David Bell spoke to reporters after the announcement about Moustakas but before he was placed on the injured list and before Senzel was scratched. He said Moustakas didn’t feel well when he woke up Sunday, and the Reds were being cautious.

“That’s what we have to do,” Bell said. “That’s part of being a great teammate at this point. If there is any doubt, we have to stay home.”

The Reds called up catcher Tyler Stephenson from the player pool to take the place of Moustakas. Josh VanMeter moved from designated hitter to second base in the lineup, while Travis Jankowski replaced Senzel in center field.

On Saturday, before the second game of the season, the Reds put infielder Matt Davidson on the 10-day injured list and announced he had tested positive for COVID-19. The Reds lost 6-4.

Other roster move: The claimed infielder Robel Garcia off waivers from the Cubs and optioned him to the alternate training site at Prasco Park in Mason. Garcia, 27, hit .208 in 31 games last season for the Cubs.

Saturday’s game: The Reds wasted a strong first start by Castillo and lost 6-4 to the Tigers on Saturday. He allowed one run on six hits.

Relievers Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias combined to give up five runs in the last three innings as the Reds blew a 3-1 lead. JaCoby Jones hit a two-run, tiebreaking home run against Iglesias in the ninth.