The Reds play the Texas Rangers, the first of two consecutive home night games. The game starts at 8:05 p.m. ET. No TV. Radio is WLW-700. The next two games will be on national television, carried by the MLB Network. Today’s lineup by Bryan Price:
- Billy Hamilton CF
- Eugenio Suarez 3B
- Joey Votto 1B
- Scooter Gennett 2B
- Adam Duvall LF
- Schebler RF
- Jose Peraza SS
- Tucker Barnhart C
- Ben Revere DH
The starting pitcher is Anthony DeSclafani. It’s his third start. He’s pitched two innings in each previous appearance, with a walk and three strikeouts. Here’s Chad’s welcome back post.
Outfield Rotation Joel Luckhapt has a terrific article up at The Athletic that analyzes the factors Bryan Price should consider in figuring out the best outfield rotation. Joel looks at platoon splits based on batter handedness, the size of centerfield at specific parks, the fly ball-ground ball split for that day’s pitcher, the need to balance the lineup, and helping players battle season-long fatigue, in particular Adam Duvall. The article provides solid stats throughout to backup its claims.
The one factor I’d add is the development need to get Jesse Winker playing time. It might prove important that Winker get 600 plate appearances instead of 450-500.
But all of this analysis is for naught. Bryan Price is going to make decisions based mostly on minuscule matchup histories. Schebler will play because he’s 1-for-2 against the starting pitcher. Billy Hamilton will play because he got two hits against that starter in 2014. That’s Price’s track record. The front office is full of talented analysts who know that matchup histories have been proven to be a terrible basis on which to make decisions. It’s too bad they can’t convince the manager of that.
Roster Speculation A few weeks ago, John Fay guessed at who the Opening Day roster would be. This morning, he posted updated thoughts. He still thinks Sal Romano has an edge for the #5 rotation spot. He’s moved Oliver Perez and Tanner Rainey into the bullpen, which he admits is mostly a guess. Fay thinks Ben Revere will make the team ahead of Patrick Kivlehan.
Fay may well be right about that last one. The Reds love fast runners. But Revere over Kivlehan seems unnecessary if Scott Schebler can spell Hamilton in center. Kivlehan hits with power and plays first and third in addition to the OF. Players like Ben Revere are easy to pick up. The Reds signed him late this spring to a minor league deal. All he does is run fast. He’s below average defensively in CF, doesn’t walk and has zero power.
The Most Reds Thing Ever Yesterday, the Reds had runners at first and second with no outs and their leadoff hitter coming to the plate. That leadoff hitter was hitless for the spring and struggling to get started. It was the fifth inning of a meaningless spring training game. But Bryan Price had Billy Hamilton give up his at bat for a sacrifice bunt. Did I mention it was the fifth inning of a meaningless spring training game? Do you recall that Hamilton needs every at bat he can get?
As major league baseball has all but abandoned the sacrifice bunt (except for pitchers), Bryan Price’s Reds are still bunting like they’re paid by the sacrificed out. The organization has a newly designated roving bunting instructor. In the age of everyone hitting home runs and smart people understanding math, sacrificing outs for a base is even dumber than it was a few years ago. Unless your leadoff batter hits like a pitcher, I guess.
Just Once Price assures fans that Jesse Winker is going to get regular playing time, there’s going to be an outfield rotation, yada, yada, yada. We’re still waiting for the first time Winker gets a start in one of these games where it’s obvious Price is playing the entire starting lineup. At least Price has his designated sacrifice bunt guy batting leadoff again.
Sorry, I promise to be less grumpy tomorrow.
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.