The Reds are back on the MLB Network against the Seattle Mariners, the team they played yesterday. The location shifts from Goodyear Ballpark to the Peoria Sports Complex. Game time is 4:10 pm ET (Arizona doesn’t use Daylight Saving Time). Radio is WLW-700. The MLB Network is broadcasting the game.
Bryan Price’s lineup to face Mariners starter Mike Leake:
- Billy Hamilton CF
- Eugenio Suarez 3B
- Joey Votto 1B
- Scooter Gennett 2B
- Adam Duvall LF
- Scott Schebler DH
- Jose Peraza SS
- Tucker Barnhart C
- Ben Revere RF
Brandon Finnegan is the starting pitcher and will face the bulk of the Mariners starters. Michael Lorenzen is also scheduled to pitch. Another Bryan Price “Opening Day starting lineup” without Jesse Winker.
Better Backup Catcher Yesterday, Devin Mesoraco hit a 2-run homer off a major-league pitcher and threw out a runner attempting to steal. The Reds’ second catcher is hitting .300/.333/.550 with a walk and four strikeouts. If Mesoraco stays healthy and productive, his presence will improve the Reds compared to last year.
Romano to the Rotation? Sal Romano pitched four innings against half the Mariners starting lineup. He gave up a hit and a walk and struck out seven batters. Assuming Finnegan is in the rotation, competition is strong for the final slot. Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson, Michael Lorenzen and Tyler Mahle have all had noteworthy appearances. Romano has 15 strikeouts and two walks in 11 innings and may have the edge for now.
Whac-a-Mole Few relief pitchers are consistent from year to year. That’s why chasing them in the free agent market is a risky proposition. Remember Drew Storen, Blake Wood, Ross Ohlendorf, Caleb Cotham, Kevin Gregg, Burke Badenhop, etc.? This offseason, the Reds signed two veteran relievers to two-year major league contract, David Hernandez (32) and Jared Hughes (32). Hernandez’s appearance yesterday (.2 IP, 2H, 1BB, 2K, 3ER) is a reminder that neither he nor Hughes is a steady, lock-down guy. Hernandez and Hughes are supposed to stabilize the bullpen. We’ll see. The odds are pretty good that at least one of them will be a disappointment.
Ideal vs. Actual The assumption we’re watching a battle between Billy Hamilton and Jesse Winker to see who leads off may be false. Bryan Price has used other batters (Nick Senzel yesterday, for example) in the leadoff spot. Winker, for the second game in a row, hit in the bottom half of the lineup. If Price does demote Hamilton, there’s no assurance Winker will bat first. Jose Peraza is a viable (to Price) alternative. He’s fast and plays shortstop, like Nick Senzel. Here’s an update on how Hamilton, Peraza and Winker are doing at the plate:
- Hamilton: .000/.217/.000; 6K and 5BB in 23 PA
- Peraza: .217/.240/.348; 6K and 1BB in 24 PA
- Winker: .348/.407/.652; 0K and 1BB in 24 PA
Winker should play almost every day and lead off when he does, especially against right-handed starters.
Bench Projection There isn’t any suspense about the Reds starting position players, including four outfielders and Mesoraco as the second catcher. That leaves three bench spots to resolve. C. Trent Rosecrans took his turn with an educated guess yesterday: Dilson Herrera (no more options, if healthy); Patrick Kivlehan (position flexibility) and Cliff Pennington (only backup SS). That leaves out, among others: Ben Revere, Brandon Dixon and Phillip Ervin.
Dilson’s Delt John Fay has a new post about the status of Dilson Herrera’s shoulder. It’s “getting better” and “close to where I want it to be” according to the player. Herrera has been limited to hitting this spring. The injury affects his throwing but not batting. Herrera has four hits, all singles, no walks and six strikeouts in 17 PA. He wouldn’t be getting serious consideration if not for being out of options. That means the Reds can’t assign him to the minor leagues without passing through waivers. Herrera is a good candidate to start the season on the major league DL.
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.