The Reds travel to Salt River Fields to play the Arizona Diamondbacks. The game starts at 4:10 p.m. ET. Radio is WLW-700. The video broadcast is on the MLB Network and Fox Sports Ohio. Here is Bryan Price’s starting lineup:

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jesse Winker LF
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Scooter Gennett DH
  5. Eugenio Suarez 3B
  6. Scott Schebler RF
  7. Jose Peraza SS
  8. Tucker Barnhart C
  9. Alex Blandino 2B

Robert Stephenson gets the start. Other pitchers available include Jimmy Herget, Kevin Shackelford, Kevin Quackenbush, Tanner Rainey, Jackson Stephens, Zack Weiss and Vance Worley.

Bench INF of note: Nick Senzel, Cliff Pennington, Brandon Dixon, Phil Gosselin and Patrick Kivlehan. Backup OF: Phillip Ervin, Rosell Herrera and Mason Williams

Lineup Notes Fast CF gets the most PA. Winker, playing LF with Adam Duvall getting a day off, is also at the top of the order. Scooter Gennett is the DH while Alex Blandino gets a look at 2B. Otherwise it’s the Reds starting position players.

Injury Proves Helpful Dilson Herrera is out of options. That means the Reds can’t send him to the minor leagues without passing him through waivers where any team could claim him. It looked like their options were limited to putting Herrera on the Opening Day roster or stashing him on the DL, where he wouldn’t be able to play.

Instead, the club cleverly ran him through waivers and Herrera cleared yesterday. The lack of interest by other teams was surely related to Herrera’s nagging shoulder injury and that the receiving club would be faced with the same no-good options as the Reds. A somewhat risky move by the club paid off. If Herrera had been claimed, the Reds would have traded 1.5 years of Jay Bruce for nothing. Herrera can rehab and play in AAA all year, until his call-up is merited.

Rotation Competition Heats Up Even with injuries to pitchers Anthony DeSclafani (oblique strain) and Brandon Finnegan (bicep strain), the Reds still have a significant battle going for the Opening Day starting rotation. We’ve talked before about the uneven competition faced by pitchers in spring training. By now, starters go at least 4 innings and maybe 5. That means pitchers who enter the game after that don’t face many, if any, major league hitters, so it’s hard to judge how well they’re doing.

The Reds are moving Sal Romano and Homer Bailey to minor league games on Friday and Saturday. Luis Castillo flew to New York where his wife is delivering their first child. That clears a wide-open path to give the next tier of pitchers a good look. Price is in no hurry to make final decisions on his rotation, nor should he be. John Fay reported on Price’s thinking.

Stephenson is starting today. Tyler Mahle will start tomorrow. Michael Lorenzen on Friday. Cody Reed starts Saturday. Amir Garrett goes on Sunday. One advantage of this set-up is that it makes the situation as plain as can be. On the other hand, you hate to see Opening Day rosters determined by one or two starts. Given the circumstances, that’s where things are.

Finnegan Status According to John Fay, Brandon Finnegan was cleared to play catch today. Bryan Price still holds out the possibility that Finnegan could start the year on the active roster. Finnegan could be the fifth starter with a skipped turn due to first-week off-days.

Framing Stephenson’s Start Nick Carrington has this right. Again, don’t evaluate the start by runs/hits allowed as much as walks, strikeouts, ground balls and how hard they hit Stephenson.

45 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    That is a pretty savvy move by Bryan Price to move Romano and Bailey to minor league games considering the circumstances. And to give all five of those pitchers, a good look starting off a game. To fit Reed in for a start is smart thinking. And to get Garrett and Lorenzen a start also instead of coming into a game a few innings into it is important too. A lot of pitching info can be gleaned in this one week stretch. A savvy and smart move.

  2. JB WV

    Rooting hard for Stephenson today. He pitched well the last month or so of the season last year and looked like a solid pick for the rotation this year. Time for him to mature not only as a pitcher but as a man. If he goes down to AAA and struggles that could be it with the Reds. Reminds me of a young Homer.

    • Indy Red Man

      Reminds me of Homer too…unfortunately. 10.0 per game is ok for an NBA bench player… an era? Not so much

  3. Chris Miller

    I like Stephenson too, and really hope he does well. Having said that, I’m really hopeful that Garrett does well in his start. I think Garrett is possibly the best of all of the youngsters, save for maybe Castillo. People forget how incredible Garrett was before he was sent down by the organization last year, and then the hip injury. Garrett could be a #1 or #2 as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Scottya

    Dillon Herrera dfa, well played. Hope bob Steve gets the 5th spot.

  5. Old-school

    Thanks for the spring training game threads Steve. I hope you got a raise this year.

  6. Old-school

    Give Price credit for the starting pitching rotation. Homer and Romano and Castillo are in so exit atage left abd get your work in. Let everyone else get innings and preparation . Price is a good pitching coach.

  7. MrRed

    Well, I wouldn’t say that Bob Steve is acquitting himself well so far. Very pitch inefficient, walks and pitches in bad locations getting hit hard. The defense behind him hasn’t necessarily helped but Stephenson is continuing to put himself in bad situations.

  8. JB WV

    Unfortunately, he’s back to working from behind and then getting torched. Over 30 pitches in the first inning, knocked around in the second.

  9. Indy Red Man

    Bob Steve rocked. 9-7-5….can we find 3 effective starters to start the season? Its going to get ugly if they send Mahle down for service time?

    • Nick Carrington

      Let’s see what Garrett and Lorenzen look like this weekend. They’ve both had good springs thus far.

  10. Old-school

    Castillo and Romano have earned spots.
    Bailey has to start.
    Garrett and Mahle and Lorenzen have earned more looks.
    Stephenson just can’t figure out how to compete.

    How can anyone say Winker isn’t the every day lf and lead off hitter. That person also said trade joey Votto for pitching in 2007.

    Paul Daugherty said trade Votto for Eric Bedard.

  11. Bob Purkey

    All Stephenson’s pitches are up, can’t get breaking ball near the plate, getting hit hard, 51 pitches in 2 innings, went to 3 ball counts on 6 or 7 hitters.

    He just is not ML ready, if he ever will be. They may need him this year just for innings, but at this rate he could only go 3 or 4. Send him back to Louisville. . . .again

  12. Carl Sayre

    Stephenson has enough of an arm that I can’t write him off but he is the definition of a million dollar arm and a 10 cent head!

    • Aaron Bradley

      I’m no expert, but maybe he just lacks control? If you can’t spot your off speed pitches you aren’t major league ready…

  13. Shchi Cossack

    I had the O’s game on in the background while I was waiting for the Reds game this afternoon. A recurring point of conversation among the broadcasters was the O’s manager’s approach to place the top 3 hitters on the roster in the firsdt 3 spots in the lineup. What a novel appoach.

    • nicolecushing

      Buck Showalter is in the last year of his O’s contract and would be a great fit for the Reds, methinks.

      • Jazzmanbbfan

        I’ve been thinking that about Showalter for a couple of years.

  14. cupofcoffee1955

    Just saw where ex-Red Sox’s manager John Farrell has joined the Reds’ organization as a scout. Very interesting…

    • Tom Mitsoff

      Reminds me a bit of the time Walt Jocketty was brought in as a special assistant to Bob Castellini while Wayne Krivsky was still the general manager. Then a few months later …

      • Shchi Cossack

        With WJ still serving as Executive Advisor to the CEO (BC), there’s an opening. Quit frankly, the Old Cossack was surprise that Farrell was brought in as a scout rather than an Executive Assistant in some capacity. With Farrell’s duties including ‘scouting’ the pitching within the Reds 0rganization, I guess that serves the same purpose to familiarize himself with the players within the organization.

      • nicolecushing

        Bringing in someone who has won a World Series in the 21st century sounds pretty exciting.

      • JoshG

        for what it’s worth….every red sox fan I know says Farrell sucks as a manager

      • greenmtred

        I’ve heard the same thing, but what do fans know?

      • doofus

        If the Red Sox had won the WS last year their fans would be heralding Farrell as a hero. I guess we would do the same of Price, if the Reds had won…well some of us would.

  15. Indy Red Man

    I guess in the big picture its really not that important who fills out the back of the rotation. I’d probably go with Garrett and Lorenzen at 4-5 and BobSteve can be the long man and still get plenty of work. Finnegan can get back in the groove in Lville. Reed needs to be reliever imo. Mahle hasn’t spent much time w/Lville and has service issues. BobSteve has been at Lville forever it seems so sending him back down doesn’t seem to serve a purpose. Perhaps Reed or Jose Lopez will get a shot by mid-summer.

    • lwblogger2

      Stephenson as the long man didn’t work last year and I don’t think it works this year. He’s got to pitch. If he isn’t in the MLB rotation he needs to be in the Bats’ rotation.

      Not ready to declare Reed as a bullpenner yet. I want him starting at AAA. I could see Finnegan in the pen or starting the season on the DL if not ready. I don’t see him going to L’ville unless it’s on a rehab assignment. Agree on Mahle. Jose Lopez is all sorts of interesting.

      • lwblogger2

        Could also see Finnegan as the #5 starter if healthy.

  16. David

    Stephenson just needs work to get his command right. If he is not going to start for Cincy, he should be starting in Louisville and getting in his innings. If he is ever going to be of value, it is as a starter. Maybe he gets his command back after a half dozen starts in Louisville.

    • Joe Atkinson

      +1 for every bit of that comment except the word “back.” I’m not sure it’s possible to get control “back” when you’ve never really had it – the inability to command the strike zone has been BobSteve’s achilles heel since Day 1.

  17. Steve Mancuso

    Stephenson’s problem today was not throwing strikes early in the count. When he got hit (twice by Peralta) it was when he was behind in the count and had to groove a fastball. He was also lucky the DBacks attempted a stolen base (CS) when he was in the process of walking the next batter.

  18. Steve Mancuso

    Still, this entire process of setting up these five starts and scrutinizing them as though they will decide who makes the rotation seems out of whack. The idea that one pitch, one defensive play, one call by an umpire, or just a bad day could make a difference doesn’t seem like a wise way to build a major league roster.

    How can the Reds not know enough about these pitchers to let it get to this?

    • WVRedlegs

      I understand your point. But if there hadn’t been injuries to DeSclafani and Finnegan I don’t think we are at this point. Throw in Stephenson’s ineffectiveness so far this spring and again Price is facing losing 3/5 of his expected rotation in the spring. Stephenson, by many accounts, had the inside track to the #5 starter spot entering spring training.
      Garrett’s re-emergence has helped. Giving Lorenzen, Garrett, and Reed a start at the beginning of a game ensures that they face more major league hitters than they would if they came into the game in the 5th, 6th, or 7th innings. A little extra information can only help in the process.
      I like the opportunity Price is giving these pitchers. They have got to get established a more concrete pecking order for these young pitchers. I think this will help in that regard. A little more churning for the cream to rise. Then they can establish better who to keep and who might be trade material. It is almost time for some of those decisions to be made.

    • Dave Roemerman

      Arroyo, Adelman, Feldman, that’s how. Lisalverta Bonilla. We wasted over a third of our starts and lots of relief innings last year on guys we didn’t think would be here this year so, of course, we’re now uncertain what we have this year.

      Based on last year and the minor league game scheduling, I think you’re right – Romano is in. I think Garrett has earned it too and Stephenson is the front-runner over Finnegan for 6 weeks or so (Mahle). It’s good to take one more look and, honestly, it’s hard to imagine we won’t throw at least 8 or 9 starters this year, so we’ll see all of these guys again to evaluate where we are for 2019.

  19. nicolecushing

    Off-topic…My hunch is that Bryan Price will have another media meltdown this year. (The pressure, you know?) If he does, when do you think it will take place? My thought is that it might be shortly before or after the all-star break. But we should also bear in mind that the 77 F-Bomb Salute occurred in April, so who knows?

    So what do y’all think?

    1. Will there be another media meltdown* this year?

    2. If so, when do you think it will happen?

    *Note: “media meltdown” doesn’t HAVE to be at the extreme F-bomb end of the spectrum. Any vocalized irritation with the media qualifies.

    • Indy Red Man

      I’m visualizing Sean Penn with the evil hillbilly haircut in Dead Man Walking. Price is done. Hate to say it but about the best they can do with this roster is snap the 90 loss seasons by a few games….maybe 74-88? Having Disco back at 100% was mandatory if they wanted to surprise anyone. They’ll have 2 of their top 7-8 players in the organization (Senzel and Mahle) in the minors close to half the season or more. More Cubs games in GABP on a Tuesday night with 22k in the park and 14k are Cubs fans. Sad

      • cupofcoffee1955

        Yes, I have been to some of these Cubs games & they are not fun if you are a Reds’ fan.

      • Jeff Reed

        I’m sure the touring Cubbie fans have circled the dates to invade GABP. This will continue as long as the Cubs are up and the Reds are down. The Cubs, overall, were down for a very long period going back to the days of Charlie Grimm and his antics at Crosley Field as Cubs third base coach. The solution is for the Reds to have a winning team.

      • lwblogger2

        Nope… When my dad and I were going over our Flex Plan tickets, we both said “Ugh, no Cubs games” at almost the same time.

    • bouwills

      My hunch is that your off-topic & somewhat inappropriate. Bryan Price may never become a successful ML manager, but i remember a world where people allowed for mistakes & believed with patience (plus experience) those mistakes wouldn’t be repeated.

    • Jazzmanbbfan

      I don’t think there will be a meltdown. I think he might get a bit testy with reporters if the Reds aren’t doing well or people question why he’s not playing Winker (or something like that).