The Reds are the home team vs. Cleveland today at Goodyear Ballpark. The game begins at 3:05 p.m. ET. You can catch the TV broadcast (!) on FSO and radio is WSAI-1360. Here is Bryan Price’s lineup:

  1. Billy Hamilton CF Ben Revere CF
  2. Jesse Winker LF
  3. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  4. Scooter Gennett 2B
  5. Scott Schebler RF
  6. Adam Duvall DH
  7. Devin Mesoraco C
  8. Brandon Dixon 1B
  9. Jose Peraza SS

Brandon Finnegan starts today, his first of the spring against opponents from another organization. Finnegan previously appeared in an intra-squad scrimmage. He’s basically one start behind the others, a precaution due to his injuries last year.

Acquired in the 2015 deadline trade for Johnny Cueto, Finnegan made 31 starts for the Reds in 2016. His ERA snuck in under 4 (3.98) but other tell-tale measures were higher: 5.19 FIP, 4.87 xFIP, 4.92 SIERA. Those latter numbers indicated his strikeout, walk and ground ball fundamentals weren’t great. Finnegan did have a stretch of three terrific games in August 2016. But other than that, he pitched below average, including four starts in September.

Finnegan began 2017 with a spectacular 1-hitter against the Phillies over 7 innings. He walked one, struck out nine and had a ground ball rate of nearly 70 percent. He then made two ill-fated April starts, pitching a combined 3 innings. Finnegan was placed on the 10-day DL with a strain to his left trap muscle. Bryan Price said the injury wasn’t serious and expected Finnegan back in a few weeks. Finnegan remained out until June 29, when he made it through 3 innings against the Cardinals before reinjuring his pitching shoulder. A few days after that, luckless Finnegan had an accident on his boat that tore his right labrum, requiring surgery and ending his 2017 season.

Brandon Finnegan, who turns 25 next month, is now looking to regain his spot in the starting rotation. Price said at the start of spring training he considers Finnegan in a second tier of rotation candidates, between the sure thing group of Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey and Anthony DeSclafani, and a third crew of younger pitchers competing for the fifth slot. Watch Finnegan’s walk-rate this spring.

Photo: Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer

Other than Finnegan, it’s a bullpen day in Goodyear: Raisel Iglesias, Kevin Shackelford, Zack Weiss, Barrett Astin, Jimmy Herget and Oliver Perez.

The other Brandon, Brandon Dixon is playing 1B. Dixon was the third player (after Peraza and Schebler) the Reds received in the Todd Frazier trade with the White Sox and Dodgers. He’s in competition for a utility spot and already played first, third, right field and left field this spring. Dixon has also hit 3 home runs. He spent last year at AAA-Louisville where he batted .264/.327/.457, with 16 homers, playing mostly 3B and some 1B. He also played a decent amount of 2B early in his career with the Dodgers.

Billy Hamilton was a scratch with a left index finger injury. Yes, it’s a meaningless spring training game. But nothing better epitomizes Reds lineup making of the last 10 years (in so many, many ways) than subbing Ben Revere for Hamilton. It’s pure, distilled Dusty Baker and Bryan Price.

INF backups: Phil Gosselin (UVA), Patrick Kivlehan and Cliff Pennington

OF backups: Phillip Ervin, Ben Revere and Mason Williams

Michael Lorenzen is scheduled to pitch in a B game against the Texas Rangers at 1:45 p.m. ET.  “Just get a chance to really lock in on his delivery and cluster some good pitches,” said Price. (Adam Baum, Enquirer)

Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce’s 2010 homer and Homer Bailey’s 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 56 Comments

  1. You say “But nothing better epitomizes Reds lineup making of the last 10 years …” It is not just lineup construction. It is also player acquisition and development. I cringed when they signed Ben Revere. I worry that on the 25 man roster we will have Revere, Hamilton and Peraza. Three hitters with very poor on base skills and who have little exit velocity. They rarely hit the ball hard. That said, I do love to watch Billy play center. Oh my!

  2. Steve, thank you for the great set-up on today’s game.

    Having game threads in the first week of Spring Training is the best…maddening as the lineup construction. playing time, (fill in your own personal Reds gripe) can be.

    Many on here wondered if Price would actually bat Winker leadoff in the same lineup with Hamilton. Not today, at least.

    Phillip Ervin was getting 2 at-bats a day until Ben Revere made his debut on March 3. Since then…1 at-bat.

    http://m.mlb.com/player/640447/phillip-ervin?year=2018&stats=gamelogs-s-hitting-mlb

    I don’t know if Ervin is MLB caliber, he has had 58 MLB ABs. I do know what Revere is (and isn’t). Benching Ervin for Revere does not seem to be an optimal use of the CF position, Spring Training or not.

    • It’s another opportunity for “veteran presence!”. Of course, they will keep a 30 year old has been for a younger player that might have more potential. Because…rebuilding.
      This team, this management, has a limited idea of what they are trying to accomplish.

      • True. If you have Ervin on the 40 man roster, there is no need to sign Revere. What exactly is Revere going to provide to the Reds this year or in the future. Not sure the management of this team understands where they are heading and what it takes.

  3. Hamilton scratched with a left index finger issue. After making a great catch yesterday where his (left) glove hand rolled up under him after making the catch. No surprise there.
    Finnegan didn’t pick all that well last week in his simulated innings. This is a big first real outing for him. I think Finnegan is more than 1 start behind, he is about 2 weeks behind the other starters. A not-so-good outing today might put Finnegan’s start of the season on the 25 man roster in jeopardy. It might be best not to rush him through spring and give him a little extra time. It wouldn’t surprise to see Finnegan begin the season on the 10-day DL for the first couple of weeks of the season. If Finnegan goes every 5th day he’ll have starts on March 11, 16, 21, and 26. I don’t think there is a game on the 26th. Season starts March 29.
    Are 3 more outings after today enough for Finnegan to be ready for Opening Day?

    • Error: E4.
      “Finnegan didn’t pick” is not what I had intended to type. Should read Finnegan didn’t pitch…

      • Spring training for commenters too.

        • That is so true. I even messed up with the spring training games, they don’t end until March 27. That isn’t much time to get to Cincinnati and ready for Opening Day on the 29th.

          • It’s up to the scorer whether to give you another E4 on the throw, because the last game in Arizona is March 25. They play 2 games in Texas on the 26th and the afternoon of the 27th, and then head home.

            Finnegan has plenty of time. At every fifth day, he can go the 11th, the 16th, the 21st and the 26th, stretching it an inning every time, or even a bit less, and be ready to go 6-7 for his regular season opener on April 2 or 3.

  4. Sigh. Leadoff man gets on base. And we didn’t get a ball out of the infield. Surprise surprise we didn’t even get the runner to second base.

    I don’t know whether to Brandon George Bush, Donald Trump,. Or Bryan Price.

  5. For a “Brandon” replace with “blame”

  6. Scooter down the left field line.
    He doesn’t get cheated..

  7. Figured JV would have played back to back days considering Carrasco was on the bump. Big opposite field bomb from Scooter!

  8. Can anyone honestly give me 1 single reason to bring back Bryan Price for another season? You have to post with a straight face though…

  9. I thought Finnegan looked good aside from giving up the HR to Lindnor.

  10. Winker just obliterated a ball. He can hit.

  11. Can we now put the myth of Winker’s dearth of power to rest???

    • YEA!!! RLN finally accepted a post from my laptop!

      • /Note to Chad: Something’s not right with the site./

      • Well I got two posts in from my laptop before it resumed it’s characteristic 501 error again.

        • We fixed that slip-up quickly.

          • WordPress has been acting incredibly screwy lately. Let me know if you continue having problems, Cossack.

          • I can’t post if I hit the “enter” key to begin another paragraph. I get a “500 error msg,” something about the site’s server. So I try to stay pithy.

    • That ball would have been 3/4 of the way up the RF stands at GABP. . WOW.

    • Actually, I think his performance last September did that. The only downside to his power is that he will not be considered for the lead off spot.

      • Now don’t go gettin’ Steve all worked up about power from the leadoff position! You may very well be correct considering the source of the lineup card.

      • I’ve given up hope that Winker will be the Red’s regular leadoff man. I know who Price will put in that position. All I want is Winker in the lineup on a regular basis.

  12. God, I forgot how much I have to mute thom.

  13. Never have seen Weiss before. Good stuff! Nasty breaking pitch and has speed. If I’m fighting for the last bullpen spot against him, better not let down. I could even see him pitching the 8th inning, handing it off to Iglesias. That good.

  14. This was from the 2nd inning, but did anyone else catch Chris Welch referring to Winker and Schebler as the same kind of player/same guy and also saying that neither is great at OBP but Winker has the nod between the two. Just kind of an odd comment.

    • Yeah, I heard most of the comment, but missed the part about OBP same kind of player.

      Then we had the Reds blubbering TV play-by-play anouncer later in the game, maybe 6th or 7th inning…

      “…and Winker has never hit for power, and the numbers back that up.”

      Let’s actually take a look at those number and see, shall we?

      2012: ISO=.162
      2013: ISO=.182
      2014: ISO=.231
      2015: ISO=.151

      Those are the four seasons prior to his wrist injury. Thom’s an idiot.

    • I heard it a little differently. The comparison was they are both average defenders with Scheb having more pop and Winker more willing to work the count with better on base skills. Thom said Winker’s power last year was probably from the juiced ball. I think it was the result of a healthy wrist. Both of these guys could have terrific years. Schebler’s the strongest guy on the team.

      • The Reds could have a very serious trade chip available at the trade deadline if they’re not in contention for a playoff birth. IF(?!) Price can manage the OF effectively. Winker, Schebler and Duvall could all have monster seasons. There’s really no reason all 3 OF couldn’t put up an .800+ OPS and that’s a conservative target.

        • Yes… Scooter has value as does Hamilton. I’m not convinced on Duvall.
          He’s peaked with a bunch of 3-29 streaks.
          Winker can slash .295/.390/495.
          Schebler attacks the baseball.

  15. Is Finnegan our Freddie Norman?

  16. Winker, Scooter, and Schebler combined 6-8 today with 2 doubles and 2 HRs! I can see where they could bust up some righties, but teams are going to be scheduling all the lefties they can against us. Price showed no recognition or urgency last year and just lazily penciled in Scooter, Tucker, and Schebler vs lefties. Schebler has power vs everyone but only 1 walk in 134 atbats vs lefties (.290 obp). Thats horrible. Whats wrong with a strict platoon for these guys? Let Ervin platoon w/Billy and RF as needed. Brandon Dixon is hitting well…let him or Blandino platoon w/Scooter.

    • I don’t think there will be much scheduling left handers against the Reds. For the most part teams will stick to the rotation and there are far more right hand pitchers.

    • Yep, I think I mentioned perviously that the Reds have three pure platoon situations sitting in their lineup at 2B, CF & C. Unfortunately Price will not utilize platoon arrangements for some reason. I guess it’s too much to keep track of or too difficult to manage.

      • I’ve never seen him talk about platoons, but if I had to guess why he doesn’t like them it’s because he thinks it’s disrespectful to veteran players to ask them to share time. He may also have a convoluted reason about having both-handed players on the bench for late game situations. Either way, it’s costing the Reds another increment to ignore the benefits.

    • Indy…. Both schebler and Winker hit lefties today…schebler hit a 110 mph screamer to left center against a lefty and Winker sat back against lefty and ripped a curve to rf for a single. I get the platoon crowd but Winker can flat hit and schebler is a competitor who hits balls hard. I need more time on schebler. I don’t on Winker

  17. Jesse Winker’s home run just landed in New Mexico.

    • Absolutely crushed it with that smooth, sweet swing. He never seems to swing hard.

    • I’d heard a report that there was a sighting out in the desert. I’m glad they finally got a confirmation of the landing. Any word on the size of crater left behind?

  18. A lead off guy that gets on base and has some pop would be something new for sure.I mean Joey would be doing back flips if he had Winker and lets say Suarez hitting in front of him.Won’t happen because well it won’t happen

    • Not new…remember Choo

    • I’ll tell everyone right now (are you listening Reds?). If the Reds commit to a lineup of

      #1 Winker
      #2 Suarez
      #3 Votto
      #4 (Duvall/Gennett/Schebler)
      #5 (Duvall/Gennett/Schebler)
      #6 Peraza
      #7 Barnhart
      #8 Pitcher
      #9 Hamilton

      for the 1st three months, until Senzel arrives on June 19th, they will have my season ticket order the same day they make that commitment public, carved in limestone.

  19. Crank up the volume:

    Schebler (.467/.471/.667/1.137)
    Barnhart (.364/.417/.363/1.053)
    Winker (.333/.350/.667/1.017)
    Suarez (.294/.368/.588/.957)
    Gennett (.333/.412/.533/.945)

    Trust the process:

    Hamilton (.000/.222/.000/.222)
    Herrera (.091/.136/.091/.258)
    Votto (.000/.313/.000/.313)
    Peraza (.250/.294/.375/.669)
    Mesoraco (.267/.278/.400/.678)
    Duvall (.176/.222/.529/.732)

  20. [deleted for violation of site guidelines]

    • Please keep your comments focused on the Reds and not other commenters or writers. You seem to be mostly interested in stirring up controversy by attacking other people. That’s against site policy here. Notice how you’re the only one doing it?

  21. I missed the 1st couple of innings on the TV feed so I watched the replay from the Indians fed. Finnegan looked different. His delivery looked smoother and more controlled. He appeared to struggle with his release point, but that ferocious, max-effort arm deliver was missing.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. Contemporary Reds thrills: witnessing Jay Bruce's 2010 homer and Homer Bailey's 2013 no-hitter in person. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 280 characters about the Reds is Redleg Nation, although you can follow his tweets @spmancuso.

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