The Reds host the LA Angels’ second string today at Goodyear Ballpark at 3:05 p.m. ET. The only broadcast, once again, is radio on WSAI-1360. The Angels are playing two games today with split squads. The Reds won’t face Mike Trout or Albert Pujols or anyone you’ve ever heard of, except maybe SP Matt Shoemaker.

Heads up: Tomorrow, the Reds play at night (9 p.m. ET) in Scottsdale against the San Francisco Giants. The game will be broadcast on the national MLB cable network as well as MLB.tv, the online stream. We’ll post a for-real game thread.

Today’s lineup:

  1. Jose Peraza SS
  2. Jordan Pacheco 3B
  3. Joey Votto 1B
  4. Brandon Phillips 2B
  5. Jay Bruce RF
  6. Adam Duvall LF
  7. Scott Schebler DH
  8. Tyler Holt CF
  9. Tucker  Barnhart C

Cody Reed gets his first start on the mound for the Reds.

Lineup Thoughts

If you’re keeping track of the pitchers who have started spring training games: Jon Moscot (2), Brandon Finnegan (1), Anthony DeSclafani (1), Michael Lorenzen (1), Robert Stephenson (1) and now Reed. Raisel Iglesias (who will face hitters tomorrow), John Lamb and Homer Bailey are past starters who are on slowed-down tracks. Stephenson is pitching in the B game this morning (game is over, here’s the box score)

The Reds try Jose Peraza in the leadoff spot. Peraza is still looking for his first hit or walk this spring. Says here today’s the day.

Outfield roulette on full display, with starts for Duvall, Schebler and Holt. Holt had two hits, two walks and a stolen base last week. He’s second on the team in walks, behind only, of course, Joey Votto, who had three.

Homer Bailey on Leadership and Experience

News and Reading

• Homer Bailey, who says he feels normal, threw a 40-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. Bryan Price has said Bailey could have been pushed to start on Opening Day if, you know, the Reds were competitive. But as is, the Reds are aiming for a early-to-mid May first appearance.

Homer.Pitching

Reminder: Earlier reports on Bailey and prognosis. Favorite player status.

• Starter or Closer? Hal McCoy (Dayton Daily News) on the days Michael Lorenzen spent living out an Otis Redding lyric and the choice the Reds have to make about the young pitcher:

Remember the momentous decision in involving starter or closer for Aroldis Chapman? The Reds have the same kind of decision to make with Lorenzen. When Lorenzen played college baseball at Cal State-Fullerton he was an outfielder. But if the game involved a save situation in the ninth inning Lorenzen was dispatched from center field to the mound to close the game. After the Reds drafted him and signed him, they decided they liked his stuff enough to make him a starter. But last season they tried him in the bullpen and it was successful. Now what? With Chapman traded the Reds are looking for a closer.

• Jay Bruce is still on the roster (last we checked) and giving interviews. Zach Buchanan (Cincinnati Enquirer) has one from yesterday where the right fielder talks about tweaking his swing:

The idea for Bruce is to make his swing more linear and less rounded. When he cranked his hands up near his helmet, it forced his swing to take a longer path to the ball. Bruce felt like he was fouling off pitches he normally hit solidly. … Bruce is confident the alteration will allow his bat head to stay in the strike zone longer, giving him more room for error when it comes to making contact. He hopes it returns his production to his 2011-13 levels, a span in which he made two All-Star teams, won two Silver Sluggers and twice finished 10th in National League MVP voting.

The White Sox, who had been suggested as a possible landing spot for Bruce, signed free agent Austin  Jackson yesterday, which likely eliminates Chicago as a possibility. The Baltimore Orioles remain the leading candidate to work out a trade with the Reds for Bruce.

Reminder: Nick Carrington on Jay Bruce and Adjustments, long interview with Bruce about his hitting approach by Eno Sarris at FanGraphs (7/14).

Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

Jay Bruce this spring / Photo: Cincinnati Enquirer

• Mark Sheldon (MLB.com) on Phillip Ervin, an outfielder who had a good first week in spring training. Ervin says he’s received valuable help from several veterans on the instructional staff:

“Watching Phillip Ervin, you see him out there and he looks like a big leaguer,” Price said. “He’s stolen a couple of bases. He’s made some nice defensive plays in the outfield. He’s shown some power. He’s driven some base hits to right field.” Ervin has been working with Reds hitting coach Don Long, but also taking instruction from a pair of former Reds in Eric Davis and Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. They have shown him where he needs to make improvement. “I’m not preparing myself correctly for an at-bat, just my setup and stuff, and mentally, too,” Ervin said.

Reminder: Phil Ervin takes a step forward at the plate (Doug Gray, 9/15), where has Ervin’s power gone (Doug Gray, 6/15), and don’t forget about Ervin (Grant Freking, 5/15)

• C. Trent Rosecrans (Cincinnati Enquirer) talked to switch-hitting Tucker Barnhart about the catcher’s growing confidence that he’ll reduce his platoon split. Barnhart has carried a pronounced difference from the left and right side through a 6-year minor league, a gap that has continued into the majors: .158/.222/.158 (vs. LHP) compared to .259/.330/.347 (vs. RHP).

Hitting a home run is always a good feeling, but for Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart, hitting one right-handed, like he did on Saturday, “almost feels twice as good” as hitting one left-handed. All four of Barnhart’s career homers in the big leagues have come from the left side, and in his two years in the big leagues, he’s hit .259 from the left side and .158 from the right side. Barnhart even considered giving up switch-hitting at one point, but has stuck with it.

Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

Tucker Barnhart / Photo: Kareem Elgazzar/Enquirer

40 Responses

  1. IndyRedMan

    Lorenzen = starter. Kiss principle….big strong-armed kid with an elite arm so get as many innings as you can out of him! I would’ve done the same w/Chapman but he was weird about it and threw so many pitches per inning. You can only throw 103 for so long? I think Lorenzen already has the pitch to contact theory down which stalls a lot of hardthrowers because they try to K everyone. Admittedly I seem to be higher on Lorenzen and Lamb than most on here. The thing about Lorenzen is though….he hasn’t pitched much? Its not easy learning on the job in the major leagues!

    • Patrick Jeter

      Lorenzen’s issue last year was he walked far, far too many batters.

      His 4.53 BB/9 was the highest mark in the NL for any pitcher with at least 100 IP. Next closest guy was Williams Perez (who?) with 3.93 BB/9.

      The walks, coupled with a below-average ground-ball rate, will lead to lots of big flies with men on base.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        I agree with your assessment of Lorenzen, Patrick. However, I can’t help thinking that was only because his pitches on the corners, he simply wasn’t getting the calls. I seriously liked how he pitched last season. After a while, though, when you aren’t getting any of the close calls, it does get to you, especially if you are young.

      • reaganspad

        It is not like he is Sanchez or some vet trying to stick. He is a young talent learning how to pitch.

        I loved the way he battled last year. refine his pitches this year and we have something as a starter. Don’t refine, or continue to develop your 3rd pitch and you have a ticket to the bullpen.

        Same with Lamb.

        We are a long way from banking on Jimmy Haynes here, who was a starter with a great curveball and no other options and figured out how to win 15 games by pitching to the clock and creating 4 hour plus wins. Our guys have stuff, and if they do not develop, it is next man up because you have Stephenson and Reed who will be up in 60 days if these guys cannot get it done as starters.

        I am also looking at Finnegan this spring and I hope he grabs a spot coming out of camp as a starter. I would like to see him get a good long test drive in the bigs as a starter

    • Patrick Jeter

      The grass is greener! Very interesting stuff.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    So let me get this straight…The Reds aquired Duvall & Schebler for their ability to drive the ball, preferable over the fence.

    So with Phillips on 3B, Bruce on 1B and Duvall at the plate with 2 outs, Bruce tries the steal 2B and gets thrown out? Oh, and of course, Duvall leads off the next inning with a HR!

    Then with Schebler on 3B, Holt on 1B and Barnhart at the plate with no outs, Holt stands at 1B while Barnhart GIDP?

    Something must be amiss because no one can be that ignorant, right?

    • IndyRedMan

      Learn what not to do I guess? Duvall with a HR to right on an 0-2 pitch though!! If our LF platoon can play to GABP then they might hit 30+ HRs but taking that on the road is a different story….i.e the Toddfather

  3. bew901

    I had the same initial reaction, but maybe Bruce wants to work on stealing this spring. It’s not like the extra run matters in spring ball.

    I’m getting excited by this lineup. If the Reds stay healthy (like everyone from Cozart to Mesoraco to Bailey) and some young pitching pans out, I could see them being a .500 team with momentum for next year. It’s ridiculous that of all our returning hitters, Suarez is the only one who hasn’t had major injury problems (Votto, Phillips, Cozart, Bruce, Hamilton, Mesoraco). Reds might be the most snakebit team in the majors when you think about Bailey, Cueto, Ludwick and Latos during our open window.

    Smoking Shoemaker today is pretty impressive. Just wish Peraza could get in on the act. Duvall/Schebler/Cave panning out would be huge for the club’s depth.

    The biggest room for improvement since Jocketty took over is the bench, which might not be a liability this year. I wonder if the Reds will have Peraza come up to play every 3rd day to keep Cozart and BP fresh. Suarez could also cycle in to 2B and SS to keep the rotation fresh if another 3B emerges. I think any at bats De Jesus gets over Peraza is an absolute waste, especially if he’s the primary backup at every infield position.

    A bench of Barnhart, Peraza, Cave, Duvall/Schebler would be an improvement.

    • Brian

      Even if he plays every 3rd day I would be hesitant to have Peraza as a bench piece given he is 21 and clearly someone the Reds are betting big on. I would imagine that with Cozart and Phillips both healthy he starts the year at AAA to further develop his approach at the plate and play SS to see if he can stick there at the majors instead of 2B.

      I agree with you that Cave, Duvall/Schebler looks interesting – will be interested to see them further in spring and at the start of the season as most pitchers are really focusing on things they need to work on vs. game planning for hitters. So once we get into the year pitchers will have a game plan for them and will be interested to see how quickly they make adjustments.

      In this scenario Yorman is not in the plan – do the reds try and trade him to get something for him as he is out of options?

      • lwblogger2

        Agree on Peraza.

        Yes, it will be interesting to see what happens when pitchers start to game-plan for them and really try to get them out.

        I don’t know if the Reds could trade Yorman or not. He’s a nice young talent but any acquiring team is going to face the same issue the Reds are and that’s basically being forced to have a player on the 25-man who might not be ready and who should probably be getting as many reps as possible somewhere. A team that would likely want to acquire him may figure they would have a good shot at getting him for nothing if the Reds end up having to put him through waivers… I’m thinking he’s going to make the roster because the Reds have too much invested in him to lose him.

    • RFM

      Peraza will be playing everyday somewhere, likely in AAA Louisville until one of the middle infielders is out of the picture long term by trade or injury.

      DeJesus is the utility infielder assured of a roster spot on the bench. Although he’s not really competing for anything, there’s no harm in letting him get ready. If you want to be angry, Carlton Daal has been playing a bunch, and is years from debuting.

      Adam Duvall is nominally a thirdbaseman, albeit a very poor one defensively. Nevertheless, he may play occasionally at 3b or 1b, depending on how he hits.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        With as young and inexperienced as this team is, I don’t believe they are going to worry about the differences between players like Dejesus and Peraza, of course unless there is a difference in their numbers. For, like with these two, if it can be done that Peraza can still get 3-5 starts each week playing different positions, I would almost rather have him up here, if he shows he is performing well.

        But, of course, we will know more in about a month. Peraza could still be starting in the OF, as poor the OF production has been the last 2 years.

    • Shchi Cossack

      Not looking for the extra run. Looking for the opportunity for Duvall to hit with runners on base and 2 outs! Looking for good decisions and sound baseball. Looking for the base stealers to steal bases, not thumpers with knee injuries.

  4. Shchi Cossack

    Peraza gets his 1st hit of the spring!!! With no outs, Peraza steals 2b, then for good measure Peraza steals 3B, then for even gooder measure, Peraza scores on a sac fly by Votto. That’s how stolen bases should be utilized. Let the base stealers steal the bases.

    • Patrick Jeter

      We had “Hamilruns” in 2014… do we have “Perazuns” now?

      I think this is probably one of the reasons the Reds were so high on Peraza. He’s almost as fast as Hamilton but has shown the ability to hit the ball a bit, even if he doesn’t ever walk.

      • lwblogger2

        I will say one thing for Peraza and that’s historically, he’s hit the ball on the ground.

  5. Shchi Cossack

    Reed pitched 3 innings with 2-H & 1-SO. Nice outing after Moscot’s disaster yesterday.

    Duvall 2-3 with 1-HR & 1-3B.
    Schebler 2-3
    Votto 2-2 with 1-HR
    Bruce 2-3

  6. vegastypo

    Regarding the ill-fated attempted steal of second by Jay Bruce, this might add context. A few days ago, Bryan Price was saying all of his players have the green light to run at any time. (The question came up a few days ago when Schebler surprised everybody by stealing third base. The throw to third was wild and he scored on the play.)

    Price said he wants to see how players make decisions without being told by the coaching staff, so they can run when they think they can make it. I’d hate to think that Bruce’s best judgment was to try to steal in that scenario, but I wonder if he was just trying to show some aggressiveness based on what Price said. I suspect not everybody will have the ‘green light’ during the season.

    For what it’s worth, Price also said he wants pitchers and catchers to use their own judgment on pitch-calling and when to call for pick-off plays. He said the coaching staff would have a better idea of how to teach the players based on what they showed when they were on their own.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      I have no problem with any of this in ST. That’s what these times are for, so that players can judge just how fast they are in a game situation, etc. As long as they learn from it and use that information. For once the season starts, it shouldn’t be “just run”, it should be “run with your head”, know what you are doing out there.

    • RFM

      Schebler stole 17 bases in 2012, 16 in 2013, and 17 in 2015 after only stealing 10 in 2014. ‘Surprised everybody’? I don’t think so… he’s not Billy Hamilton on the base paths, but he’s no stranger from stealing a base when nobody’s watching. I guess his stolen base attempts require surprising everybody, but not in the sense that he’s the last guy you’d expect to see steal a base. Keep in mind that Joey Votto quietly stole 11 last year, after once stealing 16, with no better speed than Schebler. I assume that’s part of Schebler’s approach that got their attention, and that they liked.

      • lwblogger2

        Schebler can flat out motor. The guy was a track athlete. He has much better speed than Votto or most the team’s players.

      • RFM

        Cool. I’ve never seen him run. I just know he’s sometimes asked to play CF and he’s no stranger to stolen bases. He’s best known for his power, but he doesn’t fall solely into one dimensional power hitter stereotypes as one might expect.

    • lwblogger2

      I hope the pitch-calling from the bench really does stop, even during the season. I can’t stand pitches being called from the bench. I understand wanting a throw-over, pitch-out, pick-off play, or something but there should be no reason for it when there’s nobody on base. Personally, I think it makes it easier for teams to figure out what pitch is coming and tip the hitter.

  7. vegastypo

    By the way, I thought it was interesting how the Reds scored their first run. With two outs and nobody on base in the first inning, Votto bunted for a base hit. He has been bunting a few times this spring already. And it paid off today when Phillips followed with a walk, and then Bruce hit a single to center field.

    You don’t supposed there really IS something to this whole “get on base” thing, do you?

    • Patrick Jeter

      Nope. Definitely not. Getting on base is way over-rated.

  8. Indy RedMan

    I wish we could get the velocity for some of these young guys that we (or I) don’t know much about like Reed, Drew Hayes, Somsen, Travieso, and especially Bob Steve?

  9. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I was thinking the other day, I could see as many as 10 pitchers (I think it was) that have some sort of shot at the starting rotation, not including Disco and Racial. This is freaky. And, I really don’t think it sets up our club very well. Best thing I would like to see, of course, is all of these have success at whatever level they get assigned to. But, then, for those who are starting at AAA and/or even AA, trade them off for some everyday player prospects. After all, we are strong in young starting pitching, we are weak in young everyday players. Let’s try to balance that out. If starting pitching is so sought after, there should be some other teams that would want some of what we have, even if it’s a prospect for a prospect.

  10. ohiojimw

    Pedro Alvarez apparently has signed with the O’s which would seemingly mean another door closed on a possible Jay Bruce trade. With Austin Jackson signing with the WSox, that’s two in as many days.

    • lwblogger2

      Alvarez isn’t going to play the OF. The O’s would still like someone who can play RF with regularity. They don’t really want Trumbo out there every day. I think they’d like he and Alvarez to DH with some starts in the OF for Trumbo and some starts at 1B for Alvarez.

      • RFM

        The Orioles only have so much money, Trumbo may be ugly out in RF, but trading prospects to add a $12m contract seems to me like an unlikely solution.

      • lwblogger2

        From OhioJimW’s post on Heyman’s Tweet, sounds like the O’s are in full agreement with you.

    • Craig Z

      That’s interesting because I read something the other day about how the Orioles felt Mark Trumbo was better suited as a DH and they wanted someone who could be an everyday OF. Alvarez can only be a DH at this point.

      • ohiojimw

        The early comments I saw on Twitter were speculating the O’s are finished and the Alvarez signing means they will suffer through with Trumbo in RF. Time will tell I guess.

      • lwblogger2

        Well as a fan, I’m not looking forward to that adventure (Trumbo in RF).

      • ohiojimw

        Jon Heyman (@jonheyman) just Tweeted:

        “Orioles will sort out OF. Trumbo will be RF or LF. Kim, reimold, rickard, hoes also in mix.”

      • WVRedlegs

        Alvarez still has to pass that Baltimore physical. Its not a done deal until it is a done deal.

  11. Patrick Jeter

    Random thought of the day:

    Votto’s OBP against lefties: .399
    Tyler Holt’s OBP against lefties: .402 (last 3 years, all levels combined)

  12. WVRedlegs

    Not a bad lineup going tonight. Could be fun to watch the top 3.
    1. Cave CF
    2. Suarez 3B
    3. Winker RF
    4. BP 2B
    5. Schebler LF
    6. DeJesus SS
    7. Allen 1B
    8. Ervin DH
    9. Cabrera C
    DeSclafani P