The Reds play the LA Dodgers today at 4:05 p.m. ET at Camelback Ranch, a beautiful facility the Dodgers share with the Chicago White Sox. The game will be televised nationally on the MLB Network, you can watch the online stream on MLB.tv and the Reds radio broadcast is WLW-700. The Reds lineup will face 27-year-old pitcher Kenta Maeda, who the Dodgers signed out of Japan this off-season. Maeda is expected to be in the middle of the Dodgers rotation when the regular season begins.
- Jose Peraza 2B
- Jake Cave CF
- Joey Votto 1B
- Adam Duvall 3B
- Jay Bruce RF
- Scott Schebler LF
- Ivan De Jesus SS
- Tucker Barnhart C
A few regulars – Votto and Bruce – dot the lineup, plus we get another look at Jose Peraza at 2B. Adam Duvall, who was shaky in left field yesterday (and homered!), plays third base today. Jake Cave (Rule 5 player from Yankees), Duvall (Leake trade) and Scott Schebler (Frazier trade) who are competing for time in the outfield also all get starts. Ivan De Jesus starts at short. Peraza and Schebler are facing their former club.
News and Reading
• Look for our previews of the NL Central competition this week. We’re devoting an entire day to each team: Brewers (Monday), Pirates (Tuesday), Cardinals (Wednesday) and Cubs (Thursday). Do I need to mention that Opening Day is a week from tomorrow! My season tickets arrived a few days ago.
• Doug Gray, who is now camped out in Arizona, compared Robert Stephenson to Homer Bailey in an article yesterday.
Robert Stephenson was drafted with a fastball, curveball and splitter. The Reds however had him drop the splitter and focus on a more traditional change up, as the splitter has been known to cause arm issues with overuse. The team took a cautious approach in his development with the pitch and wanted to keep his arm healthy. After a few years of developing the change up, though it did make some progress, the pitch was eventually scrapped in favor of a splitter. The pitch, much like the slider for Bailey, made a huge difference almost immediately. His new pitch has been labeled as a plus pitch, which gives him three of them at this point in time. Stephenson, much like Bailey, would go through stretches where his control was on point, but would also struggle at times.
C. Trent Rosecrans reports that Stephenson will start Monday night’s game against the Brewers.
• The Reds signed veteran reliever Ross Ohlendorf to a major league contract yesterday. Ohlendorf pitched for the Texas Rangers last season and was released by the Kansas City Royals last week. Ohlendorf is a smart guy (Jerry Crasnick, ESPN) who could stick around and help with the draft this summer.
After the Arizona Diamondbacks selected him in the fourth round of the 2004 draft, Ohlendorf returned to Princeton and obtained his degree in Operations Research and Financial Engineering. He wrote his senior thesis on the MLB first-year player draft and its financial impact on the game from 1989-1993. The paper ran about 140 pages — “if you include the graphs,” he says.
Signing a veteran reliever wasn’t a surprise. With injuries and lack of depth to begin, the Reds bullpen situation has become as reliable as the ice bridge in Argentina. After J.J. Hoover, Tony Cingrani, Keyvius Sampson, and Jumbo Diaz it wasn’t clear where the Reds could go. Caleb Cotham (Chapman deal) probably makes it. Then you’re looking at retreads Pedro Villarreal or Ryan Mattheus, or unproven arms like Chris O’Grady and Layne Somsen. Blake Wood has been terrible.
So the Ohlendorf signing takes one more spot off the table. He’s pitched pretty well for the Royals this spring, no flashing red lights. Ohlendorf’s 21 appearances with the Rangers last year were decent – good K/9 (8.84) and his fastball velocity (93.7 mph) was up. If/when the Reds get the starting pitching staff healthy (Bailey, John Lamb, Michael Lorenzen), the benefits should trickle down to the bullpen. Ohlendorf appears a reasonable, inexpensive stopgap.
• Not sure if he’s broadcasting today, but legendary Dodgers voice Vin Scully starts his 67th (!) and final season announcing their games. We’ll do a longer piece on Scully later in the year, but thought it was worth mentioning now, too.
For Scully, that means doing the same thing he did last year — nothing more — and maybe a little less. He is planning to broadcast 87 games this season: all 81 at home, Opening Day in San Diego on April 4, two games in Anaheim in May, and three in San Francisco to end the season.
Harry Truman was President in 1950, when Scully started calling games for the Brooklyn Dodgers – 24 years before Marty Brennaman broadcast his first Reds game.
• The Reds revealed new food items available at Great American Ball Park on Thursday. Items include: red velvet waffle topped with a rich creme and sprinkles sold by Taste of Belgium; Montgomery Inn chopped brisket sandwich sold at Mr. Red’s Smoke House; seared pork belly Banh-Mi sandwich with wonton strips sold at the Teppanyaki Grill; and a number of healthier options throughout the park.