Cincinnati Reds: What to expect from Tyler Mahle in his return

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 26: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on July 26, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 26: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park on July 26, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Mahle returns to the mound for the Cincinnati Reds in today’s series finale against the San Deigo Padres. What can Reds Country expect from the young right-hander in today’s game?

It finally happened. The Cincinnati Reds removed Homer Bailey from the starting rotation. We can sit back and debate the timing of the move, but what’s not debatable is Bailey’s replacement in the rotation. Tyler Mahle will take the hill today versus the San Diego Padres.

Mahle was sent down to Louisville in August following a string of terrible starts by the young right-hander. Mahle started 5 games during his stint with the Bats. He went 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA. Mahle struck out 20 batters, walked 11, and allowed 4 home runs in 29.2 innings pitched.

On the season for the Reds, Mahle was one of the better pitchers. The rookie went 7-9 with a 4.95 ERA. He had a 2:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season with a WHIP of 1.560. No, those numbers aren’t great by any means, but let’s dig a little deeper.

Related Story. Bailey finally taken out of the rotation

In Mahle’s first 17 starts of the season, which take into account every game he pitched through the month of June, the righty went 6-6 with a 3.83 ERA. He allowed less than 1 hit per inning pitched and the Reds had a winning record (10-7) when Mahle was on the mound. Considering Mahle is a rookie, that’s pretty good.

Then came the month of July. That month was non-too-kind to the young Mr. Mahle. The team was 1-3 in his 4 starts, his ERA for the month was 8.62 while allowing opposing batters to hit .352 off him. In two of his four starts, he never made it out of the second inning.

After another poor outing in the month of August, Mahle was sent down to Triple-A Louisville to work on his mechanics. Mahle had made an adjustment in his placement on the rubber before heading down to the Bats, which didn’t seem to help. Mahle was going to return to his normal placement on the third base side of the pitching rubber.

Mahle has the potential to be a key piece of the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation heading into 2019, and there’s no doubt that the Reds’ brass feels the same way. Mahle’s six-game stretch during the month of June was unreal. He went 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA while allowing only a .244 batting average to his opponents.

Three of those six opponents (Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, and Milwaukee Brewers) are in the thick of pennant races. All three teams are above the National League average in hitting, RBIs, home runs, on-base percentage, and OPS.

Next. Projecting the 2019 starting rotation

If Mahle is able to locate his fastball and establish his breaking pitch early, then he can be a top-of-the-rotation type of starter. He’ll likely get three to four more starts before the end of the season to prove that he belongs in the Reds rotation heading into next season.