Volquez for Opening Day

Dusty Baker announced his Opening Day starter — it’s Edinson Volquez.

The top three of the rotation will be Volquez, Bronson Arroyo and Johnny Cueto.

“You want to go hard, soft, hard,” Baker said about the style of his pitchers. “You want to break up Cueto and Volquez because you don’t want them to out and out radar gun each other.”

The other two rotation spots remain up for grabs between Homer Bailey, Travis Wood and Mike Leake.

As for the hoopla that surrounds the opener, Baker felt Volquez was equipped to handle it since nothing really bothers him. More importantly, he felt Volquez could handle facing the other club’s No. 1 starters regularly.

Opening Day is March 31 vs. the Brewers at GABP.

More quotes from Baker:

Why it’s not Arroyo as the No. 1 starter?

“I think Bronson has always leaned towards not being it. He’s more of a long-run type of guy. What’s Bronson’s ERA, [3.88]? If you’re facing No. 1’s, that equals a lot of losses. He’s fine with it. I talked to him about it. He was thinking about it this winter, he feels it’s best spot in the rotation for him too.”

Shows confidence in Volquez?

“We’re very confident in Volquez. Plus you name who you think can handle it the best. Is Homer ready for the No. 1? Is Wood ready for No. 1? Is Leake ready for No. 1? Cueto just signed a four-year contract and what’s he, 23 years old? He’s already got enough pressure on him. I’m trying to relieve any pressure from him thinking he has to prove he’s worth the money. Sometimes through the process of elimination you come up with who you think can handle the situation the best. There’s nobody looser and I think can handle the situation better than Volquez. Not much bothers him. At least he doesn’t show it bothers him.”

More on this later…



I know Bronson wants no part of the Opening Day hoopla (and maybe pressure), so I think this is a good plan. And it’s good to have a plan before the spring games even begin. Plans, hmmm, plan ahead, hmmm. Mike Brown, are you watching this?

Bronson doesn’t feel pressure, so it’s not about that. I think if anything, with him at least, is that he doesn’t care or need attention. It’s not a big deal for him.

I’m glad Dusty is doing this. It only makes sense to split up power pitchers with a deceptive pitcher. I almost would put Cueto at the Opening Day slot, but maybe Baker’s right that it would be too much pressure. Perhaps not the pressure itself, but Cueto seems like the one who would try TOO hard to live up to that contract (which I am very fond of, btw. I’m very high on Cueto).

I like this decision. The Reds need to find out if some of the younger pitchers, especially Volquez, who is on the verge of making really big money, can handle big-game stress. Volquez didn’t do so great in the playoffs–this is another opportunity for him to show he can rise to the occasion during a high-profile game.

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