The Reds play the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields. The game starts at 3:10 p.m. ET. No TV. Radio and audio streaming on WSAI-1360. Here is Bryan Price’s starting lineup:
- Billy Hamilton CF
- Rosell Herrera RF
- Eugenio Suarez 3B
- Devin Mesoraco C
- Scooter Gennett 2B
- Phillip Ervin LF
- Jesse Winker DH
- Brandon Dixon 1B
- Cliff Pennington SS
The Reds starting pitcher is Luis Castillo. Other pitchers in line: Robert Stephenson, Jared Hughes, Kyle Crockett, Kevin Shackelford, Ariel Hernandez and Zack Weiss.
Position player backups: Alex Blandino, Phil Gosselin, Patrick Kivlehan, Shed Long, Aristides Aquino, Ben Revere and Mason Williams.
Bryan Price is experimenting with every player, having each one bat in different spots in the lineup. Except for one, so far.
Leading Off It’s way-past-dumb to use spring training statistics to make playing time and batting order decisions for the regular season. Competition is uneven, sample sizes are small. Price says Hamilton will have to earn the leadoff spot this year.
- Billy Hamilton: .000/.222/.000, 4 BB, 5 K, 18 plate appearances
- Jesse Winker: .333/.350/.667, 1 BB, 0 K, 19 plate appearances
Most players have long enough track records you have a good sense of what they’ll do. But, aside from statistics, you can form an opinion about how players are performing by watching them pitch or hit.
Mesoraco C. Trent Rosecrans has an article about Devin Mesoraco behind the paywall at The Athletic. Mesoraco and Tucker Barnhart support each other. Bryan Price says that’s important. Mesoraco is taking it day by day:
“I want to have a good day today, have a good day tomorrow and I think that’ll turn into a good season at the end of the year. Things happen and it all played out the way it played out and we can’t change that, just continue to focus on having good days.”
This is the final season of Mesoraco’s contract. His four-year deal covered his three years of arbitration and this one year of his free agency. If the Reds catcher can prove he’s healthy and productive, the club might be able to trade him for something of value at the deadline this year. Chad also suggested that in that scenario there might be mutual interest in another short extension. The Reds have Stuart Turner as the third catcher in the organization.
Lorenzen Michael Lorenzen started a B game a couple days ago. C. Trent Rosecrans was briefly out of town. Neither of the other beat writers reported on the game. Rosecrans did track down a report and posted it on Twitter. Lorenzen had 2 IP, 1 H, 2 K, 28 pitches, 21 strikes. The AP has an article out characterizing his spring training performances as inconsistent. They quote Lorenzen:
“First, you figure out what it is, and then every time you throw a ball, you work on it. It comes from understanding what [it] is that’s causing you to be out of sync, then getting the habit out of you and retraining your nervous system to be in sync.”
Senzel Rosecrans also had this to report about Nick Senzel’s [pictured above] defense at third base.
Man, Senzel's made some really nice plays at 3B today, even on foul balls like that one. He's just really impressive over there
— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) March 7, 2018
The Reds sure have a dilemma. It’s not all their fault. After watching Eugenio Suarez butcher shortstop for half a year and third base for a full season, who could have expected he’d turn in the terrific performance he did at 3B last year. And Senzel himself seems to have blossomed on defense.
Daily Votto Worship Eno Sarris has a great interview with Joey Votto about hitting. Votto discusses swinging more, how he intuits the strike zone, the importance of spin rates, the decline in fastball movement and more. It’s incredibly humbling and awe-inspiring to read this thoughts. It also makes me glad he’s on the team I cheer for. (By the way, Eno Sarris does a terrific job with the questions and providing relevant information/links). Here’s a sample:
Sarris: How do you square the fact that you’re swinging at more pitches in the strike zone with the fact that you know there are bad pitches in the strike zone?
Votto: There’s a context to every “bad strike.” Two fastballs in the same location, they’re both not bad and they’re both not good just because they are in the same location. A different look could be the angle at which the guy throws the ball, the velocity, spin rate obviously, that’s something that most people talk about. I just think of it as a guy that has a fastball that’s a little bit more difficult to time and put a barrel on. Every pitch is not the same just because of location.
[I hate to keep recommending articles behind The Athletic’s paywall, but right now, that’s where many of the interesting, ambitious pieces are being written.]
More Votto Worship Votto finished second in the NL MVP voting last year. He lost to Marlins OF Giancarlo Stanton by one vote (302-300). Ever the perfectionist, Votto zeroed in on his base running as a negative to correct and he’s working on it in spring training. John Fay with the story:
“I thought I played very well last year. But there are certainly some things to get better at. I look forward to righting those wrongs.”
Great to read from a guy who’s at the top of the game and with a guaranteed contract for a couple hundred million dollars.
Steve grew up in Cincinnati as 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. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.