ATLANTA – For only the third time since 1890, the Reds will start the season on the road. This year’s opening day takes them to Truist Park, where they will find a powerful crowd celebrating the world title defending Braves.
With Joey Votto entering his 16th season with the Reds, the Braves have replaced Freddie Freeman with Matt Olson at first base. Olson is a native of the suburbs of Atlanta who is looking forward to joining a group that also includes Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies.
Here is a view of the opening day:
When is the game and how can I watch it?
The first course on Thursday is scheduled for 20:05 ET and the game will be available on MLB.TV. It will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. Reds fans can listen to WLW or any of the Reds Radio Network affiliates. Braves fans can listen to 680 The Fan, 93.7 FM or any of the affiliates of the Braves Radio Network.
Red: The campaign of Jonathan India, the rookie of the year in the National League, began in 2021 when he was promoted to the top spot on 5 June. He plans to return to the role this year, albeit with a new look in the middle of the line behind him.
Tommy Pham signed a one-year deal to take part in the Reds’ crowded away season. Votto set the clock back for his MVP Candidate Days for much of last season and he plans to keep the refinery down. Nick Senzel had his third season in the big Premier League due to injury, but the midfield game is his, as long as he can be fit. Secretary David Bell was interested in Spring Training about the depth he believes this unit has, especially with the speed of Senzel and Jake Fraley at the bottom.
Braves: This lineup will take on a different look until Ronald Acuña Jr. returns in early May and resumes his role as an everyday actor. Secretary Brian Snitker has said he likes to put Albies between Rosario and Olson. This is a deep and powerful setup. Each of the first six golfers has hit 30 homers in at least one of the last three seasons.
Who are the starting lineup?
Red: Mahle has taken over the opening day of the starting line-up after setting a 13-6 record with 3.75 ERA in his first full major league campaign last year. His 210 shots were in ninth place in the National League. Although he stretched like a leading starter for stretches, he went into duty in Game 1 when Luis Castillo was pushed back due to a sore right shoulder and Sonny Gray was transferred to Minnesota.
Mahle collected 14 strokes in 10 2/3 of the spring ball. He finished his last start on Saturday stretched and is ready for normal workload. The right-back started alone against the Braves last season, a 4-0 loss on June 27 where he scored seven on six shots at Great American Ball Park.
Braves: Fried will start his second opening day of his career and his first game since throwing six points in the decisive sixth game at last year’s World Cup. Fried returned the MLB-best 1.74 ERA after last year’s Star Wars and finished fifth in the 2020 NL Cy Young Award poll.
Fried allowed two runs over five innings when he started his first opening day in Philadelphia last year. He will face the Reds in Atlanta for the first time since throwing seven points in Game 1 of the 2020 NL Wild Card Series.
How could bullpens line up after the starter?
Red: The Cincinnati Relief Society does not appear to be operating under traditional roles. Bell has long advocated for the use of his best cattle arms in situations with heavy commitments – regardless of the game – that he often made when Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims were healthy throughout 2021. Both right-wingers will not be available on opening day, alongside the late Mychal Givens and Michael Lorenzen, who leave a void that needs to be filled in the back end of the cylinder.
Bell has named the Hunter Strickland, Luis Cessa, Tony Santillan, Justin Wilson and Art Warren quintets as candidates to reach the ball in the ninth quarter. Wilson is set to be the only left-handed relief that Cincinnati brings to Atlanta. Santillan, with extensive experience as a starter under his belt, could move towards a multiplayer role that should play a particularly integral role early in the season due to the shorter time it took the starters to build their workload.
Braves: Kenley Jansen, who was recently signed, establishes what could be the best ball in the league. Jansen finished second in the NL with 38 saves last year for the Dodgers. His main linebacker, Will Smith, was in third place with 37 saves for the Braves. In addition to these two proven veterans, Tyler Matzek, who became a cult hero during last year’s glorious aftermath, and AJ Minter. In addition to these four options, Collin McHugh, who is considered one of the best lighters of the game, and Darren O’Day, who was the leader of the Atlanta 2020 bullpen.
Any injuries to check?
Red: Castillo, Cincinnati’s starter on the opening day of last season, will open the year on the injury list due to pain in his right shoulder. A native of Snellville, Ga., Sims will also be unavailable after a spasm in his back stopped his spine. Red depth of field will be tested early this year after Donovan Solano (hamstring) and Max Schrock (calf) injured their foot during spring training; both were candidates to take part in the newly nominated stroke game.
Braves: Acuña will miss all of April as he continues to recover from a torn right ACL. The superstar is expected to return to the Atlanta team in the first week of May. Right-handed reliever Luke Jackson will likely have to undergo surgery on Tommy John, who will end the season.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red: Seven of the 11 strokes that Votto collected during the spring training session went to extra time, which indicates that his attacking revival last season was legitimate. Aramis Garcia’s catches on the list (five homers, 1,288 OPS), but Stephenson (1,016 OPS) and Senzel (1,094 OPS) have made a breakthrough. It’s an indication of how well Cincinnati swung the bats in the Cactus League game that no one goes into a true cold line.
Braves: Matt Olson has won two of his last five games in the Grapefruit League. Kyle Wright, who is due to appear on Saturday, allowed only one unfinished run over 7 1/3 pointless games this spring.
Anything else that fans might want to know?
• When the Braves and Reds last met on opening day in 2001, John Burkett was Atlanta’s starter. Burkett got the job because Greg Maddux needed a few more days to recover after being hit in the leg by a returnee last spring. Either Maddux, John Smoltz or Tom Glavine made every other opening day of Atlanta from 1990-2003.
• Hank Aaron won two of the five opening days of the game against Red. His first home game against Jack Billingham on April 4, 1974 was the 714th in his career and equaled Babe Ruth’s record.
• When the Reds last opened on the field in 1990, they ended up winning the World Cup.