Reds roster and schedule
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Cincinnati Reds roster and schedule for 2020 season

Leave a comment

The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. First up: The Cincinnati Reds roster and schedule:

REDS ROSTER (projected)

When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.

In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Reds roster to begin the season:

Catchers:

Tucker Barnhart
Curt Casali

Infielders:

Joey Votto
Mike Moustakas
Eugenio Suárez
Freddy Galvis
Derek Dietrich
Josh VanMeter
Kyle Farmer

Outfielders:

Shogo Akiyama
Nick Senzel
Nick Castellanos
Jesse Winker
Phillip Ervin
Aristedes Aquino

Starters:

Sonny Gray
Luis Castillo
Trevor Bauer
Wade Miley
Anthony DeSclafani

Relievers:

Raisel Iglesias
Michael Lorenzen
Pedro Strop
Amir Garrett
Robert Stephenson
Lucas Sims
Nate Jones


BREAKDOWN:

The Reds haven’t been to the postseason since 2013, when they lost the Wild Card game to the Pirates. After a long rebuilding period, the club has finally assembled a roster that very well may make them favorites in the NL Central. In fact, the recently released PECOTA projections see the Reds edging out the Cubs to take the division title.

In the offseason, the Reds bolstered the offense by signing Nick Castellanos, Mike Moustakas, and Shogo Akiyama. It’s not known yet how Akiyama’s numbers will translate in Major League Baseball, but he hit at least 20 homers in each of the last three seasons in Japan, slugging well over .500 in two of those seasons. Castellanos cranked out 27 long balls last year while Moustakas was responsible for 35 of his own. Meanwhile, a reinvigorated Joey Votto is hoping to turn the page after a disappointing 2019 in which he posted a career-worst .768 OPS. Along with mainstay Eugenio Suárez at the hot corner, who hit 49 homers last season, the Reds offense should rank among the NL’s best.

Meanwhile, the starting rotation is quite solid as well. Sonny Gray benefited from a change of scenery out of New York, as he quietly posted a 2.87 ERA over 175 1/3 innings for the Reds. Luis Castillo, out of the No. 2 slot, won 15 games with a 3.40 ERA across 32 starts last year behind Gray. Trevor Bauer has perhaps the highest upside of any No. 3 starter in the game, though his 2019 was a disappointment on the heels of 2018’s 2.21 ERA. He registered a 4.48 ERA, seeing marked increases in walks and home runs allowed. Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani round out the back of the rotation, ranking among the strongest back ends of a starting rotation around.

The bullpen has the potential to push the Reds into top-seed territory. Closer Raisel Iglesias followed up three straight seasons with a sub 2.55 ERA with a 4.16 ERA. There’s reason to believe that had to do with bad BABIP luck given that his strikeout and walk rates both improved. The bridge between the starters and Iglesias, with the likes of Michael Lorenzen, Robert Stephenson, and Amir Garrett, is quite good. Middle relief is iffy, but if the Reds can get to the seventh inning with a lead, they will have to feel confident about their chances.

REDS SCHEDULE:

Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.

  • July 24-26: vs. Tigers
  • July 27-30: vs. Cubs
  • July 31-August 2: @ Tigers
  • August 3-4: vs. Indians
  • August 5-6: @ Indians
  • August 7-9: @ Brewers
  • August 11-12: vs. Royals
  • August 13-16: vs. Pirates
  • August 18-19: @ Royals
  • August 20-23: @ Cardinals
  • August 24-27: @ Brewers
  • August 28-30: vs. Cubs
  • August 31-September 2: vs. Cardinals
  • September 4-6: @ Pirates
  • September 8-10: @ Cubs
  • September 11-13: @ Cardinals
  • September 14-16: vs. Pirates
  • September 18-20: vs. White Sox
  • September 21-23: vs. Brewers
  • September 25-27: @ Twins

The entire Reds schedule can be seen here.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
Getty Images
Leave a comment

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”