Major League Baseball
Preview
Atlanta at Cincinnati
When: 6:40 PM ET, Monday, April 23, 2018
Where: Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio

Two teams experiencing completely different beginnings to the season meet Monday when the surprising Atlanta Braves open a four-game series at the struggling Cincinnati Reds. The Braves, who were rained out of Sunday’s series finale against the New York Mets, are off to their best start in four years and sit just two games out of first place in the National League East while the Reds begin the week with baseball’s worst record at 3-18 after falling Sunday 9-2 at St. Louis.

Cincinnati’s bullpen gave up six runs in three innings Sunday, swelling its relief corps’ ERA to 5.30, while Reds starters own a 5.71 ERA. Rookie outfielder Jesse Winker collected a RBI double to raise his average to .283 and has reached base in each of his past nine games, but the Reds are averaging just 2.9 runs per game. Atlanta entered Sunday leading the NL in runs scored (111), doubles (47), batting average (.266) and slugging percentage (.427), to go with a starting rotation that has posted a 1.97 ERA in its past 15 games. Rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies has 16 extra-base hits - including nine doubles and six homers - while shortstop Dansby Swanson boasts eight doubles and is hitting .342.

TV: 6:40 p.m. ET, FS Southeast (Atlanta), FS Ohio (Cincinnati)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.53 ERA) vs. Reds RH Sal Romano (0-2, 5.75)

Foltynewicz - who was scheduled to start Sunday’s rainout - has increased usage of his slider through four starts (26.3 percent, compared to 21.2 percent a season ago) and the results have been positive. The 26-year-old has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start while striking out seven or more in three of four outings. Foltynewicz, who gave up one run on four hits Tuesday against Philadelphia, is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three career starts against the Reds.

Romano has struggled with his control through four starts, walking as many hitters (11) as he has struck out while allowing four homers in 20 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old pitched better in his last start Tuesday at Milwaukee, giving up two runs on four hits with two walks and four strikeouts in five innings. Romano held the Braves to one run on five hits in seven innings in a victory last season in his only career appearances against Atlanta.

WALK-OFFS

1. Cincinnati 1B Joey Votto recorded his 1,604th career hit Sunday, moving him into second place among major-league players from Canada (Larry Walker is first at 2,160).

2. Atlanta C Tyler Flowers (oblique) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Gwinnett, and recent signee OF Jose Bautista also is scheduled to join Gwinnett on Monday.

3. The Reds have scored only seven runs on 27 hits in their past five games with no homers, 14 walks and 36 strikeouts.

PREDICTION: Braves 5, Reds 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Atlanta 12-8 W1 8-4 4-4 9-6 1-1 2-1 0-0
Cincinnati 3-17 L4 1-7 2-10 0-6 3-11 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Atlanta Cincinnati
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
8/20/17 CIN 1 ATL 8 .333 1 1.026 .242 0 .663
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Atlanta N/A
Cincinnati N/A
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Atlanta L. Adams 0 0 0
Cincinnati H. Bailey 0 0 0
Pitching ERA Avg K
Atlanta 0.00 .000 0
Cincinnati 0.00 .000 0
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Atlanta R. Flaherty .362 21 .971
Cincinnati J. Winker .286 14 .751
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Atlanta O. Albies 6 21 12
Cincinnati A. Duvall 3 4 9
Pitching ERA Avg K
Atlanta 3.23 .266 196
Cincinnati 5.34 .224 147