The Cincinnati Reds (8-9) are back under .500 and for some reason continue to play with a 23-man roster when the rules so obviously allow for 25. I’m not counting Mesoraco’s at-bat last night as he did not look comfortable at all at the plate. Maybe management feels that wins count just a bit more if you have to grit them out. Regardless, they play the Cubs again today in a classic Chicago afternoon game.

STARTING PITCHERS
All stats are 2015 actuals:

PITCHER  ERA  FIP HR/9 BB% K%
Jake Arrieta 1.74 1.77 0.0 5.0% 23.8%
Anthony DeSclafani 0.86 2.84 0.43 5.2% 20.8%

Today marks the matchup of the surprise stars of both the Reds and Cubs rotations. Anthony DeSclafani, the Reds’ parting gift from Mat Latos, has far exceeded any expectations fans had of him already. In three starts and 77 batters faced, DeSclafani has only allowed nine hits for a .123 batting average against. In his start against the Cubs earlier this year, DeSclafani pitched seven innings of shutout ball, striking out five and walking two.

On the other side of things–and maybe less of surprise than DeSclafani–is the Cubs’ #2 Jake Arrieta. In his rookie season last year, Arrieta had a 2.53 ERA and a 2.26 FIP over 25 starts, quickly earning the mantle of the Cubs’ rotation. However, with the addition of Jon Lester, all expectations were shifted to the long proven ace rather than the one-year hero. So far, Arrieta has outperformed his running mates once again, posting an unbelievable 1.77 FIP in three starts so far. His one hiccup this year did come against the Reds when Arrieta allowed three runs in 6.2 innings and took the loss for the Cubs.

BULLPEN

The Reds don’t have a bad bullpen. Okay, that’s a lie; the Reds don’t have as bad of a bullpen as last year. This year it seems rather than lack of talent, the Reds just have absolutely no idea how to use their bullpen. Simply enough, the fact the Tony Cingrani hasn’t been used in over a week is ridiculous; he is probably the second or third best pitcher out there, so to not use him shows a serious lack of understanding of how to win games. Unless he’s hurt, in which case he should be put on the DL immediately so that the Reds aren’t playing with 23-men once more.

STARTING LINEUPS
Jay Bruce gets the day off, and Brennan Boesch will start in his place in today’s Reds’ lineup.

1. Billy Hamilton (S) CF
2. Joey Votto (L) 1B
3. Todd Frazier (R) 3B
4. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
5. Brennan Boesch (L) RF
6. Marlon Byrd (R) LF
7. Zack Cozart (R) SS
8. Brayan Pena (S) C
9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P
WESLEY

Miguel Montero returns to the Cubs’ lineup today, replacing David Ross who caught for Lester yesterday.

1. Dexter Fowler (S) CF
2. Jorge Soler (R) RF
3. Anthony Rizzo (L) 1B
4. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
5. Miguel Montero (L) C
6. Starlin Castro (R) SS
7. Chris Coghlan (L) LF
8. Jake Arrieta (R) P
9. Addison Russell (R) 2B
WESLEY

MESORACO PROGRESS?
Mark Sheldon posted an article last night detailing a conversation with the Reds catcher, supposedly to give Reds fans hope of a return. The headline runs that Mes could catch a bullpen session soon and return to game action. Yet the bulk of the interview focuses on Mes’s progress so far, and it’s…not promising.

Mesoraco said he was given a cortisone injection shortly after he was first injured.

“It didn’t really do a whole lot,” he noted.

The hip is making some progress, but not a great amount.

“It’s definitely feeling a little bit better,” Mesoraco said. “I still haven’t done a whole lot of things to test it. I guess we can say it feels better doing nothing.”

SPEED, NOT EVEN ONCE
But thrice apparently as Billy Hamilton once again stole three bases in yesterday’s game, the second time he has done that this season. Billy is now 13 for 14 on the season. While his speed is impressive in itself, I have to wonder if coupled with the Reds hitting woes, maybe the team would be better suited as a run and gun offense. More hit and runs, drag bunts, small ball really. It wouldn’t work with the current lineup of course–too many free swingers–but free swinging obviously isn’t working either. Just a thought.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
With Jason Marquis on the bump tomorrow, the Reds really need to scratch out a win today. It’s still too early for the standings to mean much of anything, but the Reds can’t afford to fall too far below .500 if they are to make any sort of run this season.

92 Responses

  1. charlottencredsfan

    Wesley, thank you for including ERA in the starting pitchers stat breakdown.

  2. charlottencredsfan

    Jake Arrieta is a 6-year veteran.

  3. ProspectCincy

    Doesn’t look like this one is gonna get in today; might set up for a DH tomorrow.

    Lucky Reds; Cingrani needs the rest.

    • jdx19

      Hmmm, looks like maybe the rain lets up around 6:00-7:00? Maybe just play an evening game, instead!

  4. Doctor K

    Why did the Reds decide to honor the ’90 team this weekend? Would have loved to see this be done during the summer where weather was less of a concern and where it was easier to travel back to Cincinnati to go to the games. Hard to commit to drive several hours, book a hotel, buy tickets, etc. when weather in April is so hit or miss.

    • Robby20

      To sell tickets at a time of the year they are tougher to sell

  5. Art Wayne Austin

    Let’s pray an hydraulic, movable dome is in our near future.

  6. ProspectCincy

    And our very own Bryan Price … tweeted just an hour ago from John Fay.

    “Price says Cingrani’s “time has come,” will pitch more in setup role.”

    Cingrani wins by default. See, perfectly healthy and now that every other pitcher is exhausted and terrible Cingrani’s ready!

      • charlottencredsfan

        You were right.

        Price – “At this point in time, I can’t worry about length anymore. I’ve got to worry about who’s the best for those later game situations.”

        I think we can all agree that is sound reasoning.☺

      • ProspectCincy

        It’s sound reasoning, but only because Price feels he has no choice. All things considered equal, Price does not recognize Cingrani as an asset. He pretty much said “I have to use Tony now, I have no choice. Look what you made me do Walt”

        Cingrani by default. As expected, Price came up with some lousy excuse not to use him (up 8 in the 6th inning in Milwaukee, Price pitched the entire bullpen, minus Cingrani) … perfect spot for the “long” man.

        Just a really moronic manager. As suspected.

      • ohiojimw

        Price’s accuracy in doing what he says is questionable. We will see. And we will find out over time if Cingrani really is durable enough for this role.

    • Silence Dogood

      Price is truly remarkable. The fact that Badenhop is pitching a game in the highest leverage situations…while Cingrani rots on the bench…it’s just remarkable. Their HAS to be more to this story than what is being shared.

  7. kywhi

    Reading Bryan Price’s quotes about his use of Cingrani – or lack thereof – speaks volumes as to why the Reds are such a mess right now.

    • pinson343

      Price’s quotes about Cingrani don’t make sense. For example he said “you want to keep him relatively fresh in case you need him for two or three innings.” The Reds have had several extra inning losses – Cingrani was needed in those games.

      And as far as Cingrani earning a chance now goes, he earned a chance before the season even started to be a high leverage relief pitcher, by the way he’s pitched in the major leagues. Maybe he got put in Price’s doghouse because he publicly voiced his displeasure about being moved from the starting rotation to the pen.

      • pinson343

        PS That is, in the extra inning games Cingrani could have pitched 2 or 3 innings to give the Reds a better chance to score a run.

      • Doctor K

        The way the offense was last night, Cingrani might have needed a CG for the Reds to score a run. Weren’t they 0-14 with RISPs?

  8. ohiojimw

    RE: the Reds trying a more “run and gun” offense…. I’ve wondered what might result if they put Negron in for Byrd. Lead him off if they to leave Hamilton and Votto back to back or pull a page from Maddon and bat Negron 9th so that after the 1st they would have that trio in succession

    • Silence Dogood

      I like Negron. I love it when it does well. He isn’t very good. On an everyday basis, he’s probably not as good as Byrd, IMO. You, like I, have tried to think about how to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Your idea is sound. The problem is none of our players are any good…save for just a handful.

      • ohiojimw

        I’d like to think that if Negron played 4-5 days a week, he could come close to doing what he did in the 2nd half of 2014 when he was playing that much. Is that better, worse, or the same as Byrd is likely to put up by the season’s end? Who knows?

        Certainly based on what we’ve seen so far, Negron would likely be an upgrade defensively.

  9. Steve Mancuso

    Folks, looks like the game will be delayed about an hour. We just started an “All Questions Answered” thread. Several of our writers will be available from 1-2 p.m. to answer your Reds-related questions. Post your questions in the comments section of that thread.

    • FLA Red

      Steve: Read the story on cincinnati.com about the 1990 Reds, and what happened with starting pitchers whose performances begin to falter late in the season. Has this strategy changed? I cringe when I see Gregg or Badenhop on Game Cast.I know Price wants to give these guys a chance and he’s concerned about their feelings, but seriously, we’re talking about millionaires (maybe not all of them) here who need to step up or go down. Why not make moves early in the season?

  10. chrislosolivos

    Is it just me or did Price totally mismanage last night’s game. Phillips doesn’t bunt, then hits into a double play which is fairly predictable. Next inning–one on, no outs–Hamilton does bunt allowing the Cubs to intentionally walk Votto . . . a gift at that point. And then there’s Bruce! Can’t blame Price for that, but OMG. Bruce later quoted as saying “we missed our chances . . . the writing was on the wall.” It must be a long season and one game just doesn’t matter. Glad he’s not playing today.

  11. Jake

    Can we trade Price for Maddon? Maddon knows what’s he’s doing

    • Doctor K

      That interview with Maddon that they showed on Fox Sports Ohio today was great. I agree with whoever said they could listen to him talk baseball all day.

  12. Whoa Bundy!

    Love BP in the four hole,once again. It’s almost a month into the season so he is due for an extra base hit.

    • jdx19

      Can’t tell if this is sarcastic or not.

  13. Whoa Bundy!

    He needs to get Joey Votto fit! He’s too young to be a Schlub.

    • Robby20

      Jay Bruce is out of shape and that is inexcusable

  14. renbutler

    I was surprised to see the comments above regarding a full rainout.

    Rain is just about done for a while (notwithstanding some light showers here and there).

    They’re going to get this one in today.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Yes!!!

      In Ren, I trust.

      • renbutler

        I’ll be wrong about the weather eventually. But you gotta go with the hot hand for now…

        😉

      • charlottencredsfan

        Until you’re wrong, you’re right.☺

      • jdx19

        One time I thought I was wrong; but I was wrong.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Simon doesn’t have movement today but so far he is battling.

      • jdx19

        It’s always been odd to me watching former Reds in other uniforms. Simon ‘looks’ the same, but he looks so different. Almost like “maybe he IS good because someone else thought so, besides the Reds.” Always a weird feeling…

      • charlottencredsfan

        Simon is probably done for the day, he is >100 pitches:
        6 IP
        5 H
        1 R
        2 BB
        3 K

        Not his best day but still not to bad.

      • jdx19

        Certainly. I’d take 6 IP 1R every time.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Final line:
        6-2/3 IP
        6 H
        1 R
        2 BB
        3 K

    • jdx19

      GREAT! I love in Colorado so weather.com’s satellite pic is my go-to. Their predictions from about an hour ago made it seem like the band of rain wouldn’t pass until dinner time.

    • renbutler

      Another small batch of rain has formed SW of the stadium. They might wait that out. I’m still optimistic about playing ball today — but certainly no earlier than 3ET.

    • renbutler

      I was just about to predict a 3:30 or 3:45 start. But Reds Twitter just beat me to it:

      “A small system still lingers to the south, so we remain in delay. Do not anticipate starting today’s game before 3:30pm at the earliest.”

      • charlottencredsfan

        My wife’s B-day Party at 6. Might miss a game, first of the year

      • jdx19

        Bah! I have parents-in-law coming for dinner at 7:30 ET, so i might get this one in. Just no extra innings!

      • Red Giant

        Thanks for the info! Time for some tea…

  15. renbutler

    Time’s not been the friend of most of these guys, but Benzinger looks the same!

    I liked his story about catching the WS clincher and then looking around before celebrating just in case he had lost track of the outs. I never noticed that until he just mentioned it.

    • charlottencredsfan

      Mariano Duncan, ED and Barry; I thought look pretty good too.

      • ohiojimw

        noticed that everybody tried to put some bounce into their step but the catchers. that’s what the position does to a body I guess

      • pinson343

        Yes and it’s doing it to Mes as we speak.

      • renbutler

        Davis (still my all-time fave) has put on noticeable weight. I agree that Larkin also looks great.

      • charlottencredsfan

        Haven’t we all.

        Any updates on a projected start time?

      • renbutler

        I did until I got sick. I lost 30 pounds in two months!

        There’s one little pop-up shower to the SW. I don’t know if they’ll wait that out. No update on Twitter. I’d say still at least an hour away.

  16. jdx19

    Zobrist out 4-6 weeks. That’s a big blow for the A’s They work on such a thin margin to begin with.

  17. mikemartz

    Well if we have to sit through a rain delay, at least it’s on a day we are celebrating the 1990 Wire to Wire World Series Team! Loving the extra long coverage and insight into the team that I watched many years ago! The Big Red Machine is still and always will be my favorite Reds team but this one is very close to them in my heart! Maybe some day I’ll get to see a 3’rd Series Championship in my lifetime.
    Go Redlegs! let’s win one for the visiting Reds on hand today!!!!!

    • ohiojimw

      yeah, I had drifted away from the Reds in the mid and late 1980’s but the 90 team called me back home so to speak

      • mikemartz

        Same here Jim, in the 70’s while playing little league the Reds were a big part of my life. In the 80’s girls took over my attention.
        Then came the 90’s Championship and I started all over again with my love fest for the Reds.
        70’s = shared the Reds with friends
        90’s = shared the Reds with my wife
        00’s = shared the Reds with my wife and children
        and the future will be sharing the Reds with my grandkids!

  18. renbutler

    Reds Twitter:

    “Update: Will reevaluate at 4pm ET. Hoping to have a gametime then.”

    Radar looking VERY promising right now. 5:00 first pitch maybe?

  19. mikemartz

    I think the tv coverage just said 4:30’ish

  20. mikemartz

    According to Assistant Director of Media Relations for the Cincinnati Reds twitter page…. 4:35 est time start

    • jdx19

      Welp, coverage still hasn’t kicked in on MLB.tv at 4:37.

  21. mikemartz

    tv coverage said it was just a sprinkle right now and the grounds crew were getting the water off the tarp in preparation to remove it from the field.

  22. I-71_Exile

    Jay Bruce has no character? Please. Jay Bruce is not hitting? Agreed.

  23. jdx19

    Reds Win Probability Added (WPA) Standings:

    1) Votto 2.01 (1st in MLB)
    2) Frazier 0.68 (27th in MLB)
    3) Hamilton 0.44
    4) Cozart -0.01
    5) Pena -0;04
    6) Bruce -0.19
    7) Byrd -0.32
    8) Phillips -0.36
    9) Mesoraco -0.40

  24. mikemartz

    Tarp off, grounds crew still working. Still a sprinkle falling so still in delay and the 4:35 start has been put off again, but it shouldn’t be long now. The umps and managers were meeting on the field to discuss the playing conditions.

    • ohiojimw

      Anybody looked at the respective schedules to see if there is an obvious make up date? It is one thing to start in a “sprinkle” on a dry field and quite another to start in a continuing “sprinkle” when the field is already soaked following a 3+ hour delay.

      • charlottencredsfan

        You would think they would have called it a day than. Don’t all new fields drain quickly now?

  25. mikemartz

    GABP outfield can take up to 3 inches of rain per hour and still remain playable according to what I’ve read

  26. mikemartz

    Latest from Fox Ohio, they will not exchange lineups until the rain stops. The light rain continues to fall and there popup showers continuing on the radar. Tarp has been put on the field once again, still in a holding pattern but this one may be ppd. Nothing certain as of yet. The umpiring crew have went into the tunnel to review radar.

  27. jdx19

    From the radar maps I’ve seen, the systems appears to just be stalled over Cincy. It’s looked for the past 2 hours like it would finally move past downtown but it hasn’t. I don’t think there is going to be any ball today. No reason to think its going to stop riding when the system is stationary.

  28. mikemartz

    Watching the radar it looks like just as soon as the rain is about to move off to the east enough for the rain stop cease the front drops south just enough to keep it in the Cincinnati area.

  29. mikemartz

    prospect Aristides Aquino (@Aristide_Aquino) has been placed on Dayton’s DL with a left forearm fracture.

  30. Steve Mancuso

    Today’s game has been postponed. Silver lining: no runs given up by bullpen.

  31. mikemartz

    sorry Steve, I didn’t refresh before I posted my update

  32. renbutler

    Oh, man. I was wrong. I thought there would be a game today for sure.

    Well, I never promised or implied perfection. :p

    • Jeremy Forbes

      I think I am happier with the postponement than a four hour or more delay. If DeSclafani wasn’t going to be able to go 7 innings because of the big delay, I wouldn’t want to risk a game where they needed 3-5 bullpen innings.

      • Tom Reed

        And the postponement means the Reds can skip the 5th. starter on this round.

    • renbutler

      Looking at the radar now, it was the right choice to postpone.

      It certainly looked like there would be a few consecutive dry hours, but small showers kept popping up behind the main body of rain. And now the heavy stuff is on the way by sometime this evening.

      Without those random pop-ups, they could have played.

  33. Eric the Red

    “Well, it was Tony Cingrani’s time” Reds manager Bryan Price said after the game was officially postponed. “But that time has passed. It’s a shame, because Tony could have really helped us.” According to Price, going forward Cingrani will be used on alternate Tuesdays in games where the starter throws exactly 62.5 pitches in the first two innings. “That’s Cingrani’s role with this club. It’s an important role. If today’s game hadn’t been rained out maybe things would have been different, but things move on in baseball and that’s how we plan to use him moving forward.”

    In a separate statement, Price announced that from now on the 8th inning setup role will be filled by former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. Price explained, “He’s got experience pitching in this ballpark and hasn’t given up any homeruns.”

    • ohiojimw

      I’m surprised he didn’t announce he was going to activate himself to be the setup man 🙂

    • Doctor K

      I’m not saying that Price’s use of the bull pen has been defensible, but I also don’t share everyone’s confidence in Cingrani. He seems to walk a lot of batters and has been given chances in the past to claim a role within the pitching staff and is yet to do that.
      Now, if the criticism is that the rest of the bullpen (excluding Chapman) has been a dumpster fire and Cingrani could possibly be better, than I agree. But if the argument is that Cingrani is the answer to the Reds relief pitching needs, I am not so sure about that.

      • ohiojimw

        To me Cingrani is a hope for making something better about a bad situation. He seems to get a lot of K’s but his fastball seems to get squared with regularity. And as you inferred, he has to come in throwing strikes and missing bats to succeed in the 8th inning. I’m hoping that as a 1 inning pitcher he will find several more MPH, spot his fastball well and get the job done.

      • jdx19

        Cingrani was a dominant starter in 2013 and injured in 2014. He was having a decent spring and was relegated to the bullpen.

        Anyone who can possibly be mentioned as a good starter is going to be a good reliever, and if not “good,” then serviceable, which is all we need. No one man will be the “answer” to this pullpen since it is indeed a dumpster fire, but Cingrani is a fine pitcher that should excel out of the pen. There is really nothing to suggest he won’t. He walks a lot of guys but strikes out even more.

      • ohiojimw

        imo, walks are more deadly in the 8th.Little time for the Reds to recover if he gets nicked for a run or two.

    • Tom Reed

      But His Honor has yet to get a ball over the plate.

  34. Vanessa Galagnara

    Oh my! Our. Bullpen gets a rest. With an extra day off i certainly how the B brothers decide to spend a few extra hours watching film of when they could get versus film of 2015 and if they can discover where the hole is at in their swing.

    Has everyone given up on this team based upon the performance so far? What is scaring me now is the performance of Stephenson and Winker down on the farm. Both of those guys are showing why they didn’t get much of spring training time. Also at what point does Stephenson’s potential start to be diminished by performance against live batters? Maybe he would make a good reliever instead of a starter has anyone else thought or suggested that idea? Lorenzen and Moscot are so far the only two pitchers I hear about that look even remotely close to being major league ready.

    • George Mirones

      Vanessa; Your observations are both fair and on point. The ongoing clamor for Winkler is based on hope, his performance at this time shows that AA is his chance and he is not doing that well. Those posters who are suggesting that the Reds just DFA 50% of the bullpen are blowing smoke and know it. Right or wrong, Walt does not tinker with the 40 man roster. The overall lack of help can be truly seen when a look at the 40 man has folks on it that have proven not to be major league ready.

  35. charlottencredsfan

    Things like this I don’t understand:

    John Fay tweets the Reds will start AD today and everyone will be pushed back a day “but” Marquis will not be skipped. Maybe we’re are better team than I thought. Someone seems to think so.

    • jdx19

      Don’t wanna hurt JM’s feelings. Gotta keep those gritty veteran feelings intact!