Why Tucker Barhnart was in the Reds starting lineup Friday.

MILWAUKEE –– Since the start of the season, the Cincinnati Reds have had a straightforward rotation at catcher between veteran Tucker Barnhart and rookie Tyler Stephenson.

Barnhart has started 55 games at catcher, and Stephenson has started the other 32. Barnhart has typically started against right-handed pitchers, and Stephenson has started against left-handed pitchers or after Barnhart has started a couple games in a row.

According to Reds manager David Bell, it might have started out as a coincidence that Barnhart caught all of Wade Miley’s game. But entering Friday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Barnhart has become the first-choice catcher when Miley is on the mound.

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“Wade has pitched really well, they have a nice rhythm going,” Bell said. “I prioritize that over anything. It’s easy to do when you’re deciding between Tucker and Tyler. They’re both great options.”

Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley (22) and Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) talk in the first inning of the MLB game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kansas City Royals at Great American Ball Park in downtown Cincinnati on Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020.

While Barnhart has caught all of Miley’s starts in 2021, Friday’s game was the first time that Barnhart started against an opposing left-handed pitcher with Miley on the mound.

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By chance, Miley hadn’t faced off against a left-handed starting pitcher all season before Friday’s game. Since Barnhart has had a great season at the plate against right-handed pitchers and since Barnhart is a standout defender, Barnhart has caught all of Miley’s starts in 2021.

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