Opening Day FAQ: Pirates vs. Reds

March 30th, 2023

CINCINNATI -- Will the 2023 season be a season of promise and performance by young talent that takes steps forward amid rebuilding? It's something that both the Pirates and the Reds are hoping for.

The quest to show improvement begins on Thursday at Great American Ball Park, where Cincinnati hosts Pittsburgh for Opening Day on March 30.

Both teams finished the 2022 season with identical 62-100 records. The Pirates won the season series last year, 12-7, but they were outscored by the Reds, 79-74.

While Pittsburgh’s foundation is unquestionably its youth, Andrew McCutchen -- arguably the best Pirate of the 21st century thus far -- will be playing his first game in the black and gold since 2017.  

Meanwhile, the Reds will be without their longtime star first baseman Joey Votto, who will begin the season on the injured list as he completes his comeback from left shoulder surgery. The team is also relying on its younger players -- including Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Spencer Steer and three young starting pitchers -- to help carry them.

Here is an FAQ primer to get fans of both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati ready for Opening Day.

When is the game and how can I watch it?

First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. ET on MLB.TV. For the Reds, it can be seen on Bally Sports Ohio and WKRC-TV and heard on the radio on WLW-AM and the Reds Radio Network. For the Pirates, it can be seen on AT&T SportsNet and heard on 93.7 The Fan.

What are the lineups?



Who are the starting pitchers?

Mitch Keller will start for the Pirates, making the first Opening Day start of his career. Keller is coming off a phenomenal season, with career bests in innings (159), strikeouts (138), ERA (3.91) and FIP (3.88).

Hunter Greene is slated to start for the Reds, which is also his first on Opening Day. At 23 years old, Greene is the first pitcher under 25 to start the opener for Cincinnati since 22-year-old Frank Pastore in 1980 (courtesy of Elias Sports).

How might the bullpens line up after the starter?

If there’s a save situation, expect Pirates manager Derek Shelton to roll with All-Star closer David Bednar. "The Renegade" had a couple of multi-inning saves last season, but after dealing with some back issues, Bednar will likely be confined to one inning. In late-game situations, Shelton will also have Colin Holderman and Duane Underwood Jr. as options. If the bullpen needs to cover a bulk of innings, Chase De Jong and Wil Crowe can cover multiple frames.

Alexis Díaz is the best option in the back of the Reds' eight-man bullpen to close the game. To bridge the innings between Greene and Díaz, manager David Bell will likely have right-handers Buck Farmer and Fernando Cruz for the other high-leverage situations, with Reiver Sanmartin the top left-hander.

Any injuries of note?

For the Reds, starting pitcher Luke Weaver (right forearm), reliever Lucas Sims (back) and center fielder Nick Senzel (left toe) are beginning the regular season on the injured list. All three could be ready during the month of April. Reliever Tejay Antone (right forearm) and starter Justin Dunn (right shoulder) are expected to be out for extended periods. Votto (left shoulder/biceps) will also start the season on the injured list, and his timetable is unclear.

For the Pirates, relievers Jarlín García (left biceps) and Robert Stephenson (right elbow) will begin the season on the injured list. Starter JT Brubaker (right elbow/forearm) will likely begin the season on the injured list.

Who’s hot and who’s not?

For Cincinnati, India came on strong in the second half of spring games, finishing with a .308 batting average, an .875 OPS and one home run in 19 games. Barrero, in a pivotal camp competing to be the starting shortstop, also overcame a slow start and finished with a .311/.380/.566 line with one home run and 10 RBIs in 17 games. On the other hand, Votto was 4-for-22 (.182) in eight games after a late start while trying to come back from left shoulder surgery. Catcher Luke Maile was 5-for-32 (.156) in 14 games.

For Pittsburgh, Hayes has had far and away the best spring of the Pirates’ regulars. In 16 games this spring, Hayes has slashed .341/.349/.707 with four home runs. Hayes isn’t just posting phenomenal numbers; he's also hitting the cover off the ball. The 26-year-old has put 31 balls in play for an average exit velocity of 97.3 mph.

Anything else fans might want to know?

As the oldest professional franchise in baseball, the Reds and Cincinnati usually get the privilege of opening each season at home. Former pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Danny Graves, who will enter the Reds Hall of Fame this summer, will be grand marshals for the Findlay Market Opening Day parade. Former third baseman Todd Frazier is slated to deliver the ceremonial first pitch.

This will be McCutchen’s first game with the Pirates since Oct. 1, 2017, when he went 1-for-3 in with a double. McCutchen will also have the opportunity to be in the same lineup as Reynolds, who was part of the trade package that the Pirates received in exchange for McCutchen.