Reds news: Vladimir Gutierrez to start Friday’s game vs Cubs

Mar 9, 2021; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez pitches. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 9, 2021; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cincinnati Reds pitcher Vladimir Gutierrez pitches. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Reds are taking their first step toward changing the configuration of their starting rotation with the promotion of Vladimir Gutierrez. It’s being reported that Gutierrez will likely start Friday for the Cincinnati Reds when they make the trek to Wrigley Field to play the Chicago Cubs.

Gutierrez’s ascension to the big leagues has been a long time in the making. An international free agent signing in 2016, the 25-year-old was suspended for the entire 2020 season and the first 18 games of 2021 following a positive test for PEDs.

The Reds are going to roll with Vladimir Gutierrez.

Vladimir Gutierrez, ranked the team’s No. 12 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has pitched well for the Reds Triple-A affiliate this season, Gutierrez is 2-0 in three starts with a 2.65 and 0.94 WHIP. The right-hander has a 31.3% strikeout-rate and 11.12 K/9.

Gutierrez will be taking the starting spot of Wade Miley who’s currently on the injured list with a left foot sprain. The length of time Gutierrez remains in the Cincinnati Reds rotation may be longer than just one spot start, even if Miley returns from injury quickly. The team has seen several starters struggle, and one could easily see Gutierrez stay in the bigs past Friday’s debut.

Luis Castillo has been a shell of himself. The team’s Opening Day starter has just one win on the season in 10 starts and owns a 7.61 ERA. Optioning Castillo to Triple-A Louisville shouldn’t be off the table, but it does seem like an extreme measure to take.

Jeff Hoffman hasn’t been the most impressive of starting pitchers either. The former Colorado Rockies reliever found his way onto the Cincinnati Reds starting staff after Michal Lorenzen suffered a shoulder injury in camp. Hoffman is 3-3 in nine starts with a respectable 4.31 ERA.

Reds newest addition, Vladimir Gutierrez will rely on his curveball.

Vladimir Gutierrez has a decent mix of pitches, but his bread and butter is that 11-to-5 curveball that totally fools opposing hitters. Gutierrez has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s, and has a decent off-speed pitch as well.

It’s good to see the Reds turning to Gutierrez rather than José De León. The former Tampa Bay prospect started the season in the Reds rotation, but was moved to the bullpen and eventually Triple-A Louisville after his struggles in the big leagues continued.

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Friday’s game begins in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field at 2:20 PM. Gutierrez will no doubt be battling the butterflies as he makes his major league debut, but this move shows the confidence that Cincinnati’s coaching staff and front office have in the Cuban right-hander.