Starting rotation speculation

The Reds have announced that Jeff Francis has been called up to pitch the second game of today’s doubleheader against San Diego, replacing Alfredo Simon, who had previously been listed as the probable starter for the third game of the Padres series.

Manager Bryan Price said he prefers Simon to face the Phillies, and Simon has been slotted in to tomorrow night’s start in Philadelphia. On normal rest, Homer Bailey, who last pitched on Sunday against the Rockies, could have pitched in that game.

That brings us to Tony Cingrani. When Cingrani was placed on the disabled list, the earliest target date for his return was Saturday, May 17. But apparently that’s not going to happen, as the Reds have announced Bailey will start Saturday.

No starter has been announced yet for Sunday’s series finale in Philadelphia. Mike Leake could make that start on his normal rest. My guess is that Tony Cingrani will start Sunday, with Leake pitching on Monday. That’s because of yesterday’s rainout and Johnny Cueto’s next start being pushed back a day.

With the postponement yesterday, Johnny Cueto’s next start will be Tuesday, not Monday. Looming is a home weekend series (May 23-25) against the Cardinals. Here’s my best guess:

  • Today (San Diego) 12:35 – Cueto
  • Today (San Diego) 6:10 – Francis
  • Friday (@Philly) – Simon
  • Saturday (@Philly) – Bailey
  • Sunday (@Philly) – Cingrani
  • Monday (@Wash) – Leake
  • Tuesday (@Wash) – Cueto
  • Wednesday (@Wash) – Simon
  • Thursday – Off-day
  • Friday (Cardinals) – Bailey
  • Saturday (Cardinals) – Cingrani
  • Sunday (Cardinals) – Leake or Cueto



  1. Kyle Farmer says:

    If they are truly working the rotation to get Bailey, Cingrani, and Cueto lined up for the WLBs, then I am a really, really happy guy. That kind of forward thinking never seemed to happen previously. I certainly hope you are right!

    1. Steve Mancuso says:

      I don’t think that’s the reason they did it, although it’s possible. That would be unusually forward-looking and there are plenty of other confounding, more short-term factors at play – like when Cingrani can pitch, the fact that the rainout meant Cueto couldn’t pitch on Monday, etc. I think they are coping with short term issues right now, not thinking ten days ahead.

  2. Kyle Farmer says:

    And why is it that the Redlegs never seem to be the free game of the day on when I’m stuck at work? Looks like it’s gamecast and the game thread for me today! Thanks for the opportunity to vent off topic! 🙂

  3. the next janish says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Cueto could just channel a little Fred Toney of Reds past and just pitch right through the second game. In other words I’m not excited for Francis and I hope he proves me wrong.

  4. Eric the Red says:

    I’m still puzzled why they made a roster move with Francis before the 1st game. I don’t fully understand the process for the 26th man. I know he is added before the second game; does adding Francis early give us flexibility to add a position player or pitcher for the nightcap depending on what happens in the 1st game?

    1. Janet says:

      I am listening to the Bats broadcast, and they just explained that the 26th man has to already be on the 40-man, which Francis was not.

  5. Michael says:


    Francis is not optimal but he is the 7th starter and that’s what you get.

  6. al says:

    The weird thing to me is why they’re bringing in Francis at all. Unless they think he has a better chance to win the game than Simon, why not just stick with the plan? You don’t have to have a 26th man just because you can.

    1. Steve Mancuso says:

      My *guess* is that had more to do with the Phillies series and Cingrani. Cingrani can’t pitch on Friday because of eligibility. If he pitches on Saturday, then Bailey doesn’t stay on turn. So Cingrani pitches on Sunday, Bailey stays on turn and (maybe) that gets them lined up the way Price wants for the Cardinals. Although given that the Cardinals series is wedged between the Nationals and Dodgers, the importance of loading the rotation for those three games is diminished (not eliminated, but diminished).

      1. lwblogger2 says:

        A lot of LH batters in the Phill’s lineup. Maybe that’s why they seem so desperate to get Cingrani in there against them? I don’t know. Any use of Francis doesn’t exactly thrill me. It’s almost like the best they want is a split today.

    2. preacherj says:

      Well, Simon did look more like the guy who pitched for the Orioles last time out. Maybe giving him extra rest on a dreary, nasty looking day isn’t such a bad idea. Days like we are having this week isn’t the best for pitchers getting loose, unless you want to count the slips off the mound as ‘loosening’.

      1. Janet says:

        I think you have a point there about Simon. Also, Price has said that when one pitcher gets an extra day of rest (Cueto in this case), he likes for all the starters to get an extra day rather than shuffling the rotation.

    3. Vicferrari says:

      I think this is a good move solely on the fact that if Simon pitches today, Bailey- Cingrani, Leake against the Phillies, who pitches Monday? Cueto on 3 days rest?
      If that is not an option why not call up the emergency starter today instead of Monday and use the 26 player on the only day that it can be used.
      I do not know the exact rule, but I would imagine this is the only day to do it.
      If Cingrani is not on, then Leake could go Saturday as well

  7. Steve Mancuso says:

    If they stayed on turn (Simon vs. Padres, Homer on Friday, Cingrani on Saturday, Leake on Sunday), they wouldn’t have anyone able to pitch on Monday. So question is do you want Francis to pitch at home against Padres or on road first game of the series against the Nationals. The Padres game is the right choice for a few reasons.

  8. Janet says:

    This move has forced Louisville to do a bullpen day. They have Curtis Partch starting today. 🙂

  9. Steve Mancuso says:

    Leake could pitch Sunday on regular rest and Cingrani pushed to Monday. But I like Cingrani’s left-handedness against the Phillies (Utley, Howard, Brown, Asche, Revere).

    1. Vicferrari says:

      An ideally against the Cards if he is back to his full furiousness.

  10. Matt WI says:

    This is what Price said on Sheldon’s blog: “I preferred to do it the way we’re doing it as opposed to getting out on the road and try to get somebody from Triple-A lined up to pitch that open day,” Price said. “This, to me, works better for us.”

    Also… Francis isn’t the 26th man allowed to be called up because he wasn’t on the 40 man. Christiani is down.

    1. Matt WI says:

      and still per Sheldon… the “true” 26th man allowed to be called up will be announced after game 1.

      1. Janet says:

        Christiani isn’t with Louisville yet. I wonder if he will be the 26th man.

      2. Vicferrari says:

        So can he actually be used in game 1, hopefully they do not need him, but just curious how that works.
        If it is Christiani, then there should be another with Francis as well to make 26?

    2. Steve Mancuso says:

      The “open day” he’s talking about is Monday in Washington. With Cueto pushed back because of rain, there’s no one to pitch Monday on regular rest, even assuming we use Cingrani on the weekend (Sunday). So the choice was using Francis on a home date against a poor hitting team where we have two games of direct scouting vs. a game on the road against a better hitting team in the first game of a series. Good choice, in my opinion.

      1. Matt WI says:

        Yup. Good planning all the way around.

      2. FLARed says:

        That, indeed, makes sense. Maybe Francis can give us 5 good innings. The bullpen is ready.

  11. WVRedlegs says:

    Yes, good forward thinking. SD team BA=.220, WAS team BA=.249.

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