The Cincinnati Reds have had pretty good starting pitching this season. There have been a few hiccups along the way, but overall, the rotation has been the bright spot of the team in 2020. Things haven’t exactly remained on schedule for the starting pitchers, though. With double headers, games missed due to postponements due to COVID-19, and weather related issues – the Reds have shuffled their rotation more than a few times. They’re doing so again this week, with both Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo getting additional rest between their last start and their next one.

We learned about Sonny Gray getting additional rest on Friday when manager David Bell noted that he wouldn’t start on Sunday and would instead pitch in the upcoming series with the Chicago Cubs.

“His last start, I think he might of mentioned it, I think I did, too – his arm didn’t hurt, nothing was coming out the way he was used to,” said David Bell on Friday afternoon. “We just want to make sure that, given everything he’s dealt with and a lot of players have dealt with this season, that he’s got enough time to get rejuvenated for his next start and not rush that. He’s been so good for us for a year-and-a-half, and he’s gone deep into games and he’s healthy, and he’s even healthier this year than last year – we want to make sure we can keep it that way. We don’t like pushing anyone back this time of year, given this season and everything, but at least we’ll have him in Chicago, which is a good thing.”

At the time there was no specific game mentioned for when Gray would return to the mound, just that it would be in the Cubs series. On Sunday morning we found out that it would be the final game of the series on Thursday. That means that the Reds are giving their right-handed starter a full nine days of rest between his last start on September 1st where he threw 38 pitches and didn’t get out of the 1st inning and his start that will be on the 10th.

Preceding Gray against the Cubs will be Tyler Mahle on Tuesday and Trevor Bauer on Wednesday. The rotation beyond there has not been announced, but as you’ll notice – Luis Castillo isn’t pitching in Chicago. His last start came on September 4th. The soonest that he will pitch next is on the 11th, which would be a full week between starts. For Mahle and for Bauer, they are going to be pitching in their normal spots in the rotation. But Castillo was skipped – he last pitched on the same day that Bauer did as they pitched each side of a double header.

The Reds have had a few pitching injuries this season – Wade Miley being the most notable. But with teams across baseball losing more pitchers to injury this season than ever, Cincinnati has not been dealt the same kind of hand this season. There could be a lot of reasons for that. Maybe it’s just luck. Maybe it’s how guys were preparing during the shut down. Perhaps it’s how the Reds have been working with their guys during the season since it’s started. It seems that this week they are being a little more cautious with both Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. The Reds are currently outside of the playoffs and looking in, but they are also just 1.5 games back (entering Sunday’s games) of the final wild card spot. If the team plans to not only reach the playoffs, but advance in them, they’re going to need both of those guys healthy and pitching at full strength.

13 Responses

  1. Old-school

    Can Joey votto get more rest too?

    • Big Ed

      Is he that bad? Is he not even the 10th best hitter on the team?

  2. Jim m

    I just wish the front office would come out and say this teams performance is unacceptable and replace Bell and Zinter if they still think they got a chance. Doing nothing tells me losing is okay by this ownership. Sucks to be a Reds fan as 17 of the last 20 years ( If they fail to get in the playoffs again!!) ,They have had losing record and zero accountability from the owners down to the GM. Its been a failure of a rebuild. Look at the White Sox, tge Twins and Astros who lost built a better farm system and tgis Reds team cant even kerp Senzel on the dang field!! And there top catcher plays one game does great banished to alternate site. Think any manager supposedly trying to win would play guys that dont deserve it??? And Aquino must be hated by Bell, he refuses to use him even with Ervin sucking and Davidson sucking ag leftys. I am pissed because the front office doesnt hold anybody accountable. How can you spend 160+ million in the off season and your hitting is worse, your team is playing like 2019 and nobody gets pissed about it from the owner to the GM???? Reds fans deserve better than this after 20 freaking years. The beat writers wont ask the tough questions either!!!

  3. Daytonnati

    The entire novelty of this season was that it began IN THE PLAYOFFS. We are there! Advance and survive. The first round was to play well enough over 60 games to advance to the Round of 16. Then move on from there. To me, Bell and the Reds never quite internalized this. Or as Montaigne might say, “What do I know?”

  4. Rednat

    the pitching has been great this year. we have hit plenty of homeruns this year. the problem in my opinion is that we just haven’t made enough good baseball plays this year, both on the defensive end and on the bases. today was a good example. Shogo’s throw was just awful. the friday night cap was another example. terrible defense lost us the game.

    2018 was all about #get the pitching
    2019 was all about #get the hitting
    2020 will all be about #get the playmakers!

    • Big Ed

      2021 will be about #get a new team to cheer for

  5. SteveO

    How about giving Disco a rest too and stick him in the bullpen. Antone should take his place in the rotation

  6. seadog

    Yea, if you had to pencil a 2021 rotation right now. You would almost have to say. Gray/Castillo/Mahle/Antone/Miley. So, why keep pitching Disco? Maybe they do plan to sign him?? Who knows at this point.

  7. Dennis Westrick

    Seriously, is there no sense of urgency with this team? So, Sonny Gray is going to get nine (9) days of “rest” after lasting less than one (1) inning in his last start. EVERY game is critical from this point on! Cub series is especially critical but the manager elects to start Tyler Mahle in Game 1? Lifelong Reds fan since 1960, YES, 1960. Will never understand David Bell’s “logic”! Someone please tell Mr. Bell there are only 19 games left!

  8. DataDumpster

    Giving more rest to our top pitchers because of “everything they have dealt with”. What? There’s less than a month left, playoff chances have dwindled to a double coin flip and Bell is still intent on micromanaging rest periods. Perhaps he should try to figure out how St. Louis is managing its “rest periods” while playing basically every day with 2 double headers a week. It seemed very apparent to me that this shortened season would really test the mettle of managers much more than the “wait and see” attitude that sometimes prevails in the regular season. Clearly, David Bell has not even come close to motivating his team and making the adjustments necessary. If not for the 7 inning matinees, this team would have the worst record in baseball. Besides that, the game played by this team is perplexing, fundamentally unsound, boring and predictable even when they do win. Even a rich guy like Castellini has got to be smarting on the return he got on his $170 million investment (and the need to retool again).

    • Dewey Roberts

      David Bell might be good with analytics, but he is not a Major League manager where you have to think on your feet and strategize.

    • jim walker

      Perhaps my greatest concern about the Reds heading into 2021 is that the folks in charge believe what they are seeing is just an aberration somehow related to the strangeness of this season and do nothing significant in the off season to address the issues.

  9. Rob

    Quite a few rebuilds have caught or passed us. Throw in the last year or two, I think it would fair to add Braves, Phils, and Blue Jays to the list. A lot of young stars and less age than us. This was supposed to be our turnaround year but some of the fill in pieces haven’t performed up to snuff. Unfortunately it appears as if we will still need fill in pieces again next year as our potential young stars are either gone (PE, JVM), disappointing (RS, AA, NS), or not ready (JG, TS, HG, JI). No, I don’t have the answers. Go one direction, and the young guys don’t play. Go the other way and we probably won’t contend.