Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres

Cincinnati Reds vs. San Diego Padres | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on March 23, 2021

Both the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds were playoff teams last MLB season. The Padres figure to be again in 2021 and might be the NL’s second-best team behind the Dodgers. The Reds, though, lost some key talent this offseason. The teams meet at the Padres’ spring home in Cactus League play on Tuesday.

How to Bet Reds at Padres MLB Odds & TV InfoWhy Bet on Cincinnati? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Reds first baseman Joey Votto returned to camp Sunday after sitting out with COVID-19, but when he might be able to play again is still uncertain. The 37-year-old Votto left camp after a positive test on March 10 and has been isolated since. After being cleared by Major League Baseball, he was back at the Reds’ spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, but will stay on the injured list until he’s in game shape again.

Reds general manager Nick Krall said: “Let’s get his legs underneath him and go from there. I can’t give you a timetable. It affects different people in different ways. Hopefully it’s on the sooner end, but we’re not sure at this point.”

Cincinnati has been using a mix of players at first base in Votto’s absence, including Cheslor Cuthbert, Kyle Farmer, Alex Blandino, Nicky Delmonico and Scott Heineman. Cuthbert has since been sent to minor-league camp. Over four games, Votto was 4-for-9 with a double and a walk before he left the team.

Outfielder Shogo Akiyama hasn’t played since 3/13 because of a left hamstring strain and will not be ready for Opening Day. Signed to a three-year, $21 million contract in 2020 to become Cincinnati’s first Japanese Major League player, Akiyama had a professional streak of 833 consecutive games played — including his final 825 in Japan for Seibu. The streak ended on Aug. 2, 2020, at Detroit, when he was rested during the second game of a doubleheader.

If everyone is healthy then the Reds likely are trying to mix-and-match some group of three outfielders on a given day between Jesse Winker, Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos and Akiyama. With Akiyama now likely to miss the start of the season, it should be Winker in left, Senzel in center and Castellanos in right most games.

These are the pitchers likely to go vs. the Padres on Tuesday; no starting pitchers go more than a few innings: RHP Jeff Hoffman, LHP Amir Garrett, RHP Lucas Sims, LHP Cionel Pérez and possibly RHP Shane Carle, minor league RHP Dauri Moreta and non-roster RHP Bo Takahashi.

Why Bet on San Diego? | 2021 MLB Expert Analysis

Emilio Pagan could be the favorite for saves with the Padres this season. The Padres have talked about multiple pitchers being in line for save chances — with Drew Pomeranz, Mark Melancon, and Pierce Johnson being in that mix too but Pagan is considered the favorite. He struck out the side in his most recent appearance on Saturday against the Dodgers. Meanwhile, Pomeranz (forearm) and Johnson (groin) aren’t even pitching in games right now.

The Padres have built themselves such a deep roster that there’s really only one roster battle on offense this spring: the race for the final place on the bench. Jorge Mateo and Brian O’Grady are vying for that spot. After slow starts, they’re both red hot, and the Padres’ decision won’t be an easy one.

Padres primary catcher Austin Nola is dealing with a fractured middle finger on his catching hand. Manager Jayce Tingler said Saturday that Nola is expected to grip a bat in the next couple days and expressed optimism he will be ready for opening day.

However, the more likely outcome is a brief injured list stint as the typical timeline for a return from similar injuries is four-to-six weeks. Nola suffered his break March 13, a little less than three weeks before the season opener. If the 31-year-old lands on the injured list, the Padres would open with a Víctor Caratini/Luis Campusano catching tandem.

Outfielder Trent Grisham is dealing with a hamstring injury. Grisham has been increasing his running intensity in recent days and might be ready for the opener. It’s a good sign for Grisham, who is coming off a 2020 campaign where he hit .251 with 10 home runs and 10 steals in 59 games. Grisham hasn’t played since he was removed from a spring contest March 11 and subsequently diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring strain. He did take batting practice over the weekend.

The Padres haven’t revealed which pitchers will take the mound Tuesday.Expert Prediction
  • Padres 6, Reds 4

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