The Cincinnati Reds pre-game conference with manager David Bell was full of interesting notes on Friday afternoon. The biggest one was likely about starting pitcher Sonny Gray, who is currently on the 10-day injured list with a back strain. He’s seemingly doing better, with Bell mentioning it’s possible he could be back for the next series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“There’s a couple of open dates that we need to see how things shape up,” said Bell about the rotation beyond this weekend’s series against the Chicago White Sox. “We’re hoping to get Sonny back, next week, and he would factor in. So there’s still some open questions. Sonny’s doing much better. He’s getting close. There’s a lot of optimism that he could make a start next week, even in the next series.”

After being rather dominant through the first seven starts of the year (1.94 ERA in 41.2 innings with 15 walks and 55 strikeouts, the last two starts were problematic as he struggled, not getting out of the 1st inning on the 1st and not out of the 4th inning on the 10th before hitting the injured list – allowing 11 earned runs in just 4.0 innings (24.75 ERA). Getting Gray back for one or two starts to end the season, if healthy, could be a real difference maker between making the playoffs or missing them.

Could Trevor Bauer go on short rest the rest of this season?

“It is on the table,” Bell said. “It wasn’t this time, but the next two times – he could potentially pitch two more times if it was on three days rest. The off day (on the 24th) does allow us, for example, we could get Trevor two more starts. And also Luis two more starts after today. So it helps.”

Pitching every fourth day is something that Trevor Bauer has been trying to get someone to let him do all season. He may finally get that opportunity down the stretch run here for the Reds.

“It’s certainly something I’m open to,” said Bauer. “I think we need to get through this weekend series, obviously, and see what the landscape looks like and make a decision from there. I’m sure it’ll be a talking point after my next start and see what the team needs. Mainly at this point of the year it’s whatever I can do to help the team win and get in, that’s where my heads at.”

Wade Miley Update

“He’s also getting close,” said manager David Bell. “We’ve got to figure out, because of what I just described as far as not having a 5-man rotation, or even a 4-man rotation potentially – just trying to figure out how to get him back in once he’s fully ready to go. So hopefully we’re faced with that decision in the next few days.”

Reds starters going into “playoff mode”

While manager David Bell wasn’t explicit in saying the team was going to start going with their top guys on short rest, he sure seemed to imply it multiple times this afternoon when discussing nearly every pitcher. It obviously all depends on how things shake out with the playoff race and where the Reds are in relation to other teams – but it seems that moving forward the team may be going with their pitching staff in a “playoff format” and trying to give their best starters as many opportunities as possible.