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.