Reds vs. Diamondbacks: Pitching preview, prediction, and more

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 15: Wilmer Flores #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is tagged out while sliding into third base by Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds a. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 15: Wilmer Flores #41 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is tagged out while sliding into third base by Eugenio Suarez #7 of the Cincinnati Reds a. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch.
CINCINNATI, OHIO – APRIL 03: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /

Previewing the pitching matchups: Reds vs. Diamondbacks

On the heels of a tremendous season debut, Tyler Mahle toes the rubber in the opener Friday night opposing Taylor Widener. Mahle turned in a sparkling performance against the Cardinals, limiting them to two runs over five frames while fanning nine Redbirds.

The Cincinnati right-hander has faced the Diamondbacks only once in his career, and it was not a pleasant experience. Mahle was rocked for six hits and five runs in just 4.2 innings in a 2019 loss to Arizona. Look for the Diamondbacks to see a much different Tyler Mahle this time around.

Speaking of excellent season debuts as good as Mahle was, the Diamondbacks Taylor Widener was even better. The 26-year-old right-hander completely stymied an explosive Padres lineup allowing just three hits over six shutout innings. This will be the South Carolina native’s first appearance against the Reds.

Reds manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson could not have asked for a better performance than what they received from Jeff Hoffman versus St. Louis. The right-hander will get the call again Saturday night. Arizona has yet to name its starter for the middle game of the three-game series.

In his Cincinnati Reds debut, Hoffman tossed five innings of one-run ball while fanning six Cardinals. If there’s one word on Hoffman’s mind as he faces the Diamondbacks, it’s likely to be redemption.

Over 10 appearances versus the D-backs, including five starts, Hoffman is 1-3 with a frightening 9.79 ERA. Tossing 26.2 innings, Arizona has taken him deep eight times. Expect to see David Peralta in Saturday night’s Diamondbacks lineup. The left-hander has six hits in 10 at-bats, including a double and a homer when facing the Reds right-hander.

Sunday’s finale will have Jose De Leon squaring off against Arizona’s Luke Weaver. After a rocky first inning in his season debut in which he surrendered a pair of homers, De Leon quickly settled down and dominated the Pirates.

Over five innings of work, De Leon allowed just three hits while striking out nine. This will be the right-hander’s first start against the Diamondbacks since September of 2016. It’s safe to assume Arizona will see a very different pitcher than the one that lasted just 3.2 frames five years ago.

Luke Weaver is looking to rebound from a disastrous 2020 season. The former first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals was 1-9 with a 6.58 ERA in 12 starts. However, he did make a positive first impression in 2021. Working 5.2 innings against the Rockies, Weaver allowed three runs on four hits in the thin Denver air.

Lifetime Weaver is unbeaten in three decisions against the Redlegs but does carry a 5.06 ERA over 26.2 frames. Reds first baseman Joey Votto has struggled in his meetings versus the Arizona starter. The Cincinnati legend has just one hit in nine at-bats.