St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds – April 4, 2021

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After a wild and crazy afternoon yesterday, with tempers flaring and tension mounting, the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds will battle it out for a streak this afternoon at the Great American Ballpark. The first pitch is at 1:10 ET.

Start pitchers

RED

Right handed Jeff Hoffman makes his Reds debut this afternoon. The Reds traded Robert Stephenson and Jameson Hannah for the Colorado Rockies in November. His career numbers aren’t great, but he’s spent his entire career in Colorado. He was the ninth draft pick overall in 2014, so he must have some talent though. That leaves the question open: how much of his fighting was due to Coors Field?

As a fringe player trying to make the team, Hoffman posed a lot during spring training. In 18.0 innings, he gave up 17 runs with 20 hits, including three home runs. He also went seven. If you’re looking for a bright spot, it’s hit 16 batters. If you’re wondering why the Reds traded for him, he’s in the 83rd percentile for fastball spin and 55th percentile for curveball spin. Spincinnati strikes again. Hoffman is temporarily on the rotation until Sonny Gray or Michael Lorenzen return, but we’ll see if Derek Johnson can work his magic on him.

Hoffman only has three playing fields: a four-seam fastball, an alternation, and a curve. His fastball tops in the range of 150 km / h and is his main field. He mainly uses the switch for left-handers, but his curve ball has the highest whiff rate of the three at 36.0% (albeit with a smaller sample size).

CARDINALS

As bad as Hoffman was in 2020 Carlos Martinez could have been worse. However, he spent most of the 60-game season on the 10-day injured list. He threw about 20.0 innings in September but was rocked on almost every start. At the end of September, he returned to the list of 10-day injuries due to an oblique strain. It just never came together for him last season.

Of the five games he played last season, his best performance was likely against the Reds on September 13th. He pitched four innings and gave up three runs with six hits, including a home run. He went two and struck eight. The Reds won that game in what was the first win in the six-game winning streak to get them into the playoffs.

Martínez has five pitches in his arsenal but mainly uses his four-seam fastball and slider. The slider has been one of his best spots since he added it in 2017. His whiff rate has been consistently close to or over 40 percent for the past three years, with the exception of the last year.

Martínez has two All-Star seasons in his career and has been a consistent pitcher throughout his career. He jumped back and forth between closer and starter. In 2019, he saved 24 games for the Cardinals as their closer. He has the ability to be a really good pitcher. This afternoon will be his first test to see if his struggles were actually injury-related or suggest something else.

Statistics are from 2020

Surname IP EPOCH FIP xFIP WHIP K% BB%
Jeff Hoffman 21.1 9.28 4.69 5.39 1.92 19.2% 8.7%
Carlos Martinez 20.0 9.90 6.89 5.21 2.10 16.3% 9.6%

Constellations

Messages and Notes

Jesse Winker is off the line-up today after leaving the game yesterday without feeling good. David Bell said this morning (10:30 a.m.) that he hadn’t spoken to Winker today, but was not on the line-up due to his feelings yesterday. He hopes to have it available today, but wasn’t sure yet.

If you missed the news yesterday Sonny Gray and Shogo Akiyama are both on their way to the alternate location in Louisville to rehabilitate their injuries. There is no set return schedule yet.

Why was Nick Castellanos thrown out yesterday and Yadier Molina not? Doug Gray is breaking it all down for you Here.

Bobby Nightengale from the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote a piece today about what it’s like for the Japanese reporters who have a job: Cover Shogo Akiyama. It’s an interesting look at what it can be like when you’re only writing about one specific player rather than the entire team.