Reds surprisingly pick Volquez over Arroyo for Game 1 start


Bronson Arroyo indicated following his final regular season start that he expected to start Game 1 of the NLDS for the Reds, but instead Dusty Baker announced yesterday that Edinson Volquez will take the mound in the playoff opener.
Volquez returned from Tommy John elbow surgery in July and was demoted to the minors following a rough stretch in August, but has a 1.95 ERA, .183 opponents’ batting average, and 31/8 K/BB ratio in 27.2 innings since rejoining the Reds’ rotation.
In addition to Volquez’s strong post-demotion performance Baker seemingly indicated that Arroyo’s struggles against left-handed hitters played a part in the Game 1 decision, noting that “the Phillies have a lot of lefties.”
Lefties have hit .285 with a .786 OPS off Arroyo this season, compared to a .185 batting average and .576 OPS versus righties, and his career splits are similarly extreme. Volquez has been much been tougher on lefties, holding them to a .227 batting average and .314 slugging percentage, although he has allowed a .377 on-base percentage that includes a poor 33/25 K/BB ratio versus lefties.
By starting the NLDS opener Volquez is also set up to pitch a potential Game 5, with Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and either Homer Bailey or Travis Wood each in line to make just one start.

Henderson Alvarez signs with Tigres de Quintana Roo

Getty Images

Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.

The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.

That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.