PITTSBURGH — The Cincinnati Reds, who possess the youngest roster in the major leagues, have won six of their past seven games, and they are getting the job done with young starting pitching.
Rookie Davis, Brandon Finnegan and Cody Reed, all 23 years old, started games that ended up in the win column. Amir Garrett, a 24-year-old, will try to continue the trend of the Reds’ 20-something starters finding success when he takes the ball to face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday.
Garrett (1-0) has just one major league start under his belt — a scoreless, six-inning, two-hit outing against the St. Louis Cardinals last Friday. He feels even more comfortable heading into his second start.
Article continues below ...
“The nerves aren’t really up how they were for the first game,” Garrett said. “I think I settled in pretty good in the first game. It’s the same game I’ve been playing; it’s just a different level. As far as nerves and stuff, I think those are behind me now.”
The young pitchers are helping each other go through some major league growing pains together. Finnegan made his debut way back in 2014 with the Kansas City Royals, but the three others have all thrown at the sport’s highest level for the first time in 2017.
“It makes it way easier,” Garrett said. “Guys are your age and guys have been coming up with you. You get to play together. You know how one another pitches. It’s a great feeling to come up with guys that you’ve been playing with.”
For the Pirates, all of those young arms are presenting some challenges. Without much of a major league track record, there is less video and fewer scouting notes available. The Pirates have resorted to watching film of minor league games to get a read on their opposition.
“Isn’t that the beauty of the game? There’s some things you can’t figure out,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “That’s why you get to go out there and play. They are young arms that have weapons. They’ve shown the ability to compete. … You’ve got to get in the box, and you’ve got to face them.”
Pittsburgh possesses young pitchers as well: Tyler Glasnow, 23, started Monday and Jameson Taillon, 25, took the mound Tuesday.
But each staff has one veteran starter. For the Reds, it is 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo. For the Pirates, it is 30-year-old Ivan Nova.
While Nova lacks the sheer volume of experience that Arroyo has, he provides the same type of calming influence over the pitching staff.
Nova (1-0) will go for the Pirates on Wednesday, and he will try to prevent a three-game Reds sweep — exactly the kind of role that is perfectly suited to the veteran presence of the staff.
“He possesses a real calm mind,” Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage said. “He takes one pitch at a time, and he’s got a good feel for the game.”
Nova is 3-2 with a 3.82 ERA in his career against the Reds, but he has faced them just once since coming to the Pirates from the New York Yankees in 2016.
The Reds won the series opener 7-1 on Monday, then topped the Pirates 6-2 on Tuesday.