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Reds: Tyler Mahle has emerged as the unlikely ace of the starting staff

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Washington Nationals. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 25: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Washington Nationals. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
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Heading into the 2021 season, most of Reds Country was at odds over which right-hander was Cincinnati’s best starting pitcher; Luis Castillo or Sonny Gray? As we head into Memorial Day, the answer is neither. Tyler Mahle has emerged as the Cincinnati Reds best starting pitcher this season.

We’ve seen flashes from Mahle before, but this season, the California native has put it all together and has been the unlikely ace of the Reds starting rotation. Mahle is 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA in 11 starts this season.

Pitcher Tyler Mahle has been the Reds best starter this season.

Luis Castillo has the pedigree, Sonny Gray has two All-Star appearances, and Wade Miley just threw a no-hitter earlier this month. But, Tyler Mahle has been the Cincinnati Reds most consistent starting pitcher.

Set aside the right-hander’s two poor outings, one against the San Francisco Giants and the other against the Chicago Cubs, and Tyler Mahle has allowed just eight runs in 48.1 innings of work. That adds up to a sparkling 1.49 ERA in nine of Mahle’s 11 starts.

The former first-round pick got rocked by the San Francisco Giants on May 20th. In an uncharacteristic outing, Mahle allowed seven earned runs on seven hits in just two innings. The Giants defeated the Reds 19-4 that afternoon and couldn’t get out of Cincinnati fast enough.

His outing against the Cubs on May 2nd was not great either, allowing six runs on nine hits including three home runs. Of course, that game ended with a score of 13-12 with both teams racking up multiple big flies against the opposing pitchers. The balls were leaving GABP in droves that day.

The Reds need to work out a long-term extension with Tyler Mahle.

Heading into the 2021 season, most Cincinnati fans would have advocated for the Reds front office to negotiate a long-term contract extension with Luis Castillo. But, after watching La Piedra limp along through the first two month of the season, the notion that the right-hander should receive a new deal is laughable.

However, Tyler Mahle is under team control, just like Castillo, through the 2023 season. With two years of arbitration eligibility remaining, Nick Krall and the front office executives should look to extend the 26-year-old beyond his arbitration years. Jesse Winker should be first in line for a new deal, but Mahle should be the next priority behind the Reds left fielder.

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The Reds have some talented arms coming up through the minor leagues, but by the time the likes of Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo reach the bigs, Cincinnati needs a strong veteran presence to turn to as well. A top of the rotation of Mahle, Greene, and Lodolo would be a formidable trio that could pose problems for even the best lineups in the major leagues.

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