First pitch @ 1:10 pm ET
First pitch… 7:10 pm
12:35 p.m. ET first pitch
As I wrote on Tuesday during the off day, the bridge from starting pitcher to closer was rickety in the eighth inning when Kevin Gregg debuted with a rough outing that included the game-tying two-run homer by Andrew McCutchen.
On Wednesday, manager Bryan Price was asked if Gregg would be his guy again in the eighth going forward.
“He may be. He may not be,” Price replied. “It just depends on who I have healthy and who is down there. He’s a guy who is experienced as a closer, a setup man and a starter. He’s a guy who has been a lot tighter situations than that over the course of his career. As I’ve told you, the bullpen will be ever evolving. These guys will cut out their roles based on how they perform.”
The bullpen is a high scrutiny area after last season’s struggles and second-highest ERA in the NL (4.11). Price didn’t have a backup option warming up to start the eighth on Monday.
“Once the eighth inning becomes a situational inning, it becomes a challenge,” Price said. “We went into that game anticipating him pitching the eighth inning. It didn’t go as well as we had anticipated. The eighth inning isn’t really a matchup inning. We really had hoped that it would be a clean inning and it wasn’t, so I had to make some adjustments there.”
When asked about Jumbo Diaz and Tony Cingrani, Price noted both could be in the late-inning mix.
“Yeah, came in and got the strikeout, and that was big. He’s another guy that doesn’t have the major league experience that Kevin has. He certainly has the power arm and I think he may be a guy that’s comfortable in some of those late inning situations.”
On what Cingrani can do:
“Any number of things. He’s stretched out and has a history as a starter, so he could throw some middle length innings and he could come in and be a left-handed guy out of the bullpen later in the game. He’s a guy who hasn’t historically gotten hit a lot. Last year we didn’t get anything out of it, because it was a tough year for Tony, he never had the same stuff he had in Opening Day. He spent a good portion of the year on the DL, and I don’t want to say it was a wasted year, but it was a year without a great deal of growth and I think pitching out of the bullpen plays to his natural aggressiveness. Again, if he throws well, he could find himself in a lot of those late-game opportunities.”
First pitch at 7:10 p.m. ET
Here is your Opening Day roster for Triple-A Louisville.
After all the questions about Bryan Price’s batting order, and his being coy about it since the offseason, the Reds manager came awfully close to what I projected before Spring Training. That included Joey Votto in the second spot, Todd Frazier in the third spot and Brandon Phillips batting seventh.
Phillips has started in the seventh spot only 70 times in his career, and 66 of those came in 2006 — his first year in Cincinnati. Price was asked about his lineup choices before Monday’s opener vs. the Pirates.
“I mentioned in the offseason, once we signed Marlon [Byrd], that we would have an impact bat hitting seventh,” Price said. “Joey is another high on-base, extra base hit type of guy setting the table in the middle for guys like Todd, Devin, Marlon and Jay, that will be power sources for us. That certainly leads itself to Brandon in the seventh hole. I wanted to create enough separation between Joey and Jay, where we don’t make it easy to matchup for a left-handed relief pitcher. There will be times we could see Jay move up towards that four or five spot periodically based on who’s pitching. I think there will be some flexibility in that middle of the order as far as having some movement based on who’s pitching. But I’m very, very satisfied, 1-8, with where we are. As I’ve said to our players, this will be fluid. If there’s a better way to line these guys up through the course of the year, then I will do that. I think this is the best way to get started and the best way to be the most productive.”
Price was asked if he had to speak with Phillips about batting lower in the order.
Well, we’ve talked about it, collectively, as a group,” Price said. “We talked about what our expectations are of each other and we pride ourselves on playing selfless baseball. Brandon is a guy that loves responsibility and not just offensively, but also defensively. He prides himself on being an outstanding player. I think he also realizes there’s going to be a lot of opportunities to drive in runs in that seven hole and he also understands and appreciates the need to be impactful offensively throughout the entirety of the lineup besides saying we’re really good one-through-four but then there’s a real drop-off. I think any way you dice it, we’re not going to be as vulnerable as a healthy ballclub when you have somebody of Brandon’s caliber hitting seventh and I certainly feel the way Zack’s swung the bat in spring training, and his approach, we’ll be strong one-through-eight.”
There are still some 40-man roster decisions to be made to get non-roster guys on there, but the Reds have essentially set their 25-man roster on Thursday. It won’t be “official” until all of the corresponding moves are done.
Here it is:
25 Badenhop, Burke……….RHP
54 Chapman, Aroldis……….LHP
52 Cingrani, Tony……………LHP
47 Cueto, Johnny……………RHP
28 DeSclafani, Anthony……RHP
70 Diaz, Jumbo………………RHP
37 Gregg, Kevin*…………….RHP
60 Hoover, J.J………………..RHP
26 Iglesias, Raisel…………..RHP
44 Leake, Mike……………….RHP
31 Marquis, Jason*…………RHP
43 Parra, Manny……………..LHP
39 Mesoraco, Devin
29 Pena, Brayan
2 Cozart, Zack
89 Dominguez, Chris*
21 Frazier, Todd
17 Negron, Kristopher
4 Phillips, Brandon
19 Votto, Joey
27 Boesch, Brennan*
32 Bruce, Jay
9 Byrd, Marlon
6 Hamilton, Billy
55 Schumaker, Skip
Homer Bailey, Sean Marshall, Jason Bourgeois.