2013 Reds

Pitching rotation vs. the Cardinals (hypothetical)

The Reds play the St. Louis Cardinals at home this weekend, Friday-Sunday. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the series (although I’m sure Thom Brennaman will manage to do that, I said “difficult” not impossible). The probable starters for the Reds in the series are Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Bronson Arroyo.

Allow me to offer an alternative — purely hypothetical — way to handle the rotation:

The Reds call Tony Cingrani up to pitch tonight in the series finale against the Rockies. Slide Johnny Cueto back one day to open the Cardinals series. Mat Latos could pitch as planned on Saturday. With the two days bought by the Cingrani move and the off-day on Thursday, any of the remaining three starting pitchers would be available for Sunday, including Homer Bailey.

If it were me, that’s how I’d stack up the rotation against the Cards: Cueto, Latos and Bailey.

Not that Bronson Arroyo and Mike Leake haven’t pitched well, they have. But if you asked me to rank the pitchers in order, that’s how I’d do it.

This switch would also put a day between Latos and Leake which would mean Devin Mesoraco would no longer have three games off in a row, which is something Dusty Baker mentioned he’d like to do.

The reason this is purely hypothetical is that the Reds let Tony Cigrani pitch on Sunday for Louisville, so he wouldn’t be available tonight to set the reshuffle into action. Plus, as Chad posted early this morning, Hal McCoy is speculating there may be something afoot with an upcoming injury announcement. Back to that breath-holding.

18 thoughts on “Pitching rotation vs. the Cardinals (hypothetical)

  1. Why would the team doctor and trainer be involved in a discussion of whether to reshuffle the rotation?

  2. Steve, I’m not happy with the way the rotation worked out for us vs the Cardinals this weekend, but for what you suggest Cingrani would have had to skip his start and go something like 8 days between starts, and then Cueto, Arroyo, and Leake would have ended up pitching out of their normal routines, as well. For a team with starting pitching/starting pitching health as a major strength, I just don’t see that as a worthwhile gamble. (I do, however, applaud the out of the box thinking!)

    I hope Kremcek wasn’t giving them bad news about Marshall. And I hope the Diamondbacks keep beating up on the Cardinals pitchers and winning in 14 innings Wednesday and Thursday. Go Reds!

    • Steve, I’m not happy with the way the rotation worked out for us vs the Cardinals this weekend, but for what you suggest Cingrani would have had to skip his start and go something like 8 days between starts, and then Cueto, Arroyo, and Leake would have ended up pitching out of their normal routines, as well.For a team with starting pitching/starting pitching health as a major strength, I just don’t see that as a worthwhile gamble.(I do, however, applaud the out of the box thinking!)

      I hope Kremcek wasn’t giving them bad news about Marshall.And I hope the Diamondbacks keep beating up on the Cardinals pitchers and winning in 14 innings Wednesday and Thursday.Go Reds!

      This.

      That’s an awful lot of shuffling and throwing people off their schedules.

      Plus, you could make an argument that Arroyo would be a better choice since he seems to be less affected by pressure. And Cueto with all his injury issues, I don’t think it’s a good idea to start messing with his schedule.

      There will be better opporunities down the line to line up the rotation so Mesoraco gets more regular work, but this isn’t it.

      Yeah, it’s a neat idea, but it’s not really practical. More like a fantasy baseball/Xbox type move.

      • @CI3J: Some of these points are better than others. I don’t think moving Cueto back one day would be an injury risk. Doesn’t really matter though, because with the off-day Thursday, he’d be moved back by a day the next time through anyhow.

        My hypothetical actually keeps Homer on his exact day instead of moving him back by a day like under the current plan. Latos stays on Saturday. Arroyo would move back from Saturday to Monday. Mike Leake would essentially miss a start. Those seem like relatively small downsides compared to getting our best three pitchers in line for the Cardinals.

        Arroyo might be better, but not because of “affected by pressure” – compared to whom? Bailey? Who pitched his best game last year in the NLDS?

        I agree that Arroyo might pitch well against the Cardinals. Although generally I like him better against younger teams who aren’t patient vs. his junkballing. See Jason Giambi. But Arroyo (and Leake) aren’t the end of the world. Neither is moving the pitchers around a day or two.

      • @CI3J: If you want to fix up the rotation for a series, which I think is a good idea in general, it has to be started a few weeks earlier.

        One of the advantages the Reds have is that they have a better 4/5 starter than league average, so it’s not as disastrous if they have a 3/4/5 pitch in a given critical series. That said, next Cards series, Cueto should be pitching.

        I’m thinking of the 1988 team, which had Rijo/Browning/Jackson, and then a cast of characters that would make Jimmy Haynes look acceptable. In a critical series, that team just had to pitch the big 3. Heck, Pete Rose went with a 3-man rotation for a while that year (when they had an off day). I’m not kidding.

        • @Steve Mancuso:

          BA is scheduled to pitch Sunday night, on national TV. Good Bronson showed up on his last start. Bad Bronson is due for a visit. Do we want that one on national TV? Maybe a little switch around is needed. I am with you and would like to see Homer go Sunday night.
          The All-Star game is a week later than usual this year. A good time to set the rotation up until then is now.
          But all that might be rendered moot with what is afoot at the Circle K.

  3. Off topic, but I’m not sure many people are still checking out the game recap. This was at the bottom of something C. Trent posted last night before the game so I missed it, as I suspect many others did:

    “SCORING CHANGE: Major League Baseball charged Votto with an error in Sunday’s game against the Pirates on Alex Presley’s grounder to leadoff the sixth that was originally called an error. With the scoring change, the run is unearned. That change lowered Latos’ ERA from 3.01 to 2.90.”

    Odd that “Major League Baseball” charged him with an error. I think this is the right call, and it means Votto got tagged with two errors. I wonder if someone–Votto? Latos? Dallas Latos?–asked the Scorer to review this. (Speaking of errors, the “originally called an error” mistake above is in C. Trent’s original post.)

  4. A side effect of such a move would be to move Cueto away from having to face Todd Helton, who just kills Cueto. I was rather hoping he wouldn’t face the Rockies this time around anyway, but it didn’t work out that way. … Be careful, Johnny!!!

  5. This raises another interesting question. It’s early, but imagine we have a 5 game playoff series. We’ve been able to set our rotation to our satisfaction for the series. 1)Who do you start? 2)Who does Dusty start? (For the purposes of this question, assume Mike Leake doesn’t actually pitch to a .33 ERA for the rest of the season, en route to the Cy Young.)

    • @Eric the Red: I think the opposing team and ballpark could be a factor but I’d assume, all else being equal: 1. Cueto 2. Latos 3. Bailey 4. Arroyo 5. Leake….. However, I could easily see Dusty keeping Arroyo ahead of Bailey.

  6. My understanding is that they don’t want Leake and Arroyo back-to-back, because they have similar pitching styles, so as long as all five guys have designated catchers, the math on not having Mes get 3 days off is complicated.

    The Reds are pretty good about not giving out medical info unless they have to, so Dusty’s comment can mean just about anything. HIPAA does apply to them to some extent, so if Mat Latos has the shingles, for example, they can’t just spill it out.

    • My understanding is that they don’t want Leake and Arroyo back-to-back, because they have similar pitching styles, so as long as all five guys have designated catchers, the math on not having Mes get 3 days off is complicated.

      You have a goat, a llama, a wolf and a cabbage; and you need to get all 4 across a river, but you only have one boat (this boat can only fit you and one other object/animal The wolf can’t be left with the goat or the llama, and the cabbage can’t be left with the goat……….

  7. Dusty said two weeks ago that the rotation has to be reshuffled so that Leake and Latos are not pitching on consecutive days, as that leaves Hanigan catching 3 in a row and Mes catching two days in a row. He might address that in some way this weekend.

    There are two ways this could go. One is for Latos to pitch on Friday, Bronson on Saturday (both on 4 days rest) and Leake (or Homer) on Sunday.

    Another is for Leake to pitch Friday, Bronson to pitch Saturday and Latos on Sunday. I would hope that Leake, rather than Latos, gets bumped a couple of days.

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