The Cincinnati Reds have a few options for Tuesday’s starter, but former first-round pick Lucas Sims might make the most sense.
With Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray both taking the mound on Monday due to the day-night doubleheader, the Cincinnati Reds have yet to name a starter for Tuesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While the Reds have a few options, Lucas Sims may get the call to make his first start of the 2019 season.
Depending on how well the Reds’ starters perform on Monday will go a long way to how David Bell and the Cincinnati front office will handle the upcoming decision. If the bullpen doesn’t get much use, it’s possible that Michael Lorenzen or Robert Stephenson could get the start on Tuesday.
Both right-handers started a handful of games last season and could give the Reds three to four innings of work on Tuesday if neither was called upon during Monday’s matchups. However, Lorenzen and Stephenson both saw an inning of work in yesterday’s win over the Cubs, so to think that either would be up for several innings of work on Tuesday might be a bit of a stretch.
The more likely scenario is a call up from Triple-A Louisville or Double-A Chattanooga. Keury Mella just pitched last night for the Louisville Bats, so he’s unlikely to get the call. Vladimir Gutierrez, one of the Reds’ top prospects hasn’t pitched since Wednesday, but his 8.56 ERA in 9 starts would give me cause to pause if I were the Reds’ front office.
Tony Santillan, another top prospect in the Cincinnati farm system, is a no-go. The right-handed flame thrower went six innings just last night. Scott Moss is definitely a name that could appear on the program for Tuesday, but the left-hander is not part of the Reds’ 40-man roster. That would make such a move highly unlikely.
The most likely candidate to take the hill on Tuesday is Lucas Sims. The former first-round of the Atlanta Braves in 2012 was part of a trade last year that sent Adam Duvall to the ATL. Cincinnati also received Preston Tucker and Matt Wisler, both of whom are no longer with the team.
Sims has been tearing up the competition in Triple-A this season. In 9 starts, the right-hander owns a 3-0 record with a 4.06 ERA. Sims has 63 strikeouts to just 16 walks this season with the Bats and has fanned 7 or more batters on 5 occasions this season.
Last season, Sims saw relief work on three different occasions for the Cincinnati Reds. Sims pitched only 5.1 innings and with 6 strikeouts and an ERA of 6.75. The Reds have always seen Sims as more of a starter, as he got the call five times at Triple-A Louisville last season. Sims went 0-2 with a 3.81 ERA while striking out 32 batters.
Lucas Sims, after some trouble in the past, has shown himself to be a strike thrower. Much like the Robert Stephenson, command has been a consistent issue for Sims in the past. If Sims can put those issues behind him, much like we’ve seen from Stephenson this season, he could be a nice addition the back of the Reds’ rotation in the future.
Barring lights out performances from both Castillo and Gray, look for Sims to get the call this Tuesday. Being that he’s on the 40-man roster, a major shakeup won’t be necessary. Expect to see Matt Bowman or Wandy Peralta to be sent back to Louisville in order to bring Sims up to the big leagues. Josh VanMeter could also be the unlucky casualty that heads back to Louisville.