Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price broke down the eight candidates who are competing for starting pitching jobs earlier this spring. Earlier today he announced who would be starting the first five games this spring. Here’s how things break down:

  • Friday: Sal Romano
  • Saturday: Michael Lorenzen
  • Sunday vs Cleveland: Homer Bailey
  • Sunday at White Sox: Luis Castillo
  • Tuesday or Wednesday“: Anthony DeSclafani

The starters that aren’t listed, who were listed earlier in the running are Brandon Finnegan, Robert Stephenson, and Tyler Mahle. The last of that group, Tyler Mahle, is scheduled to pitch on Friday at some point against the Indians. The other pitchers that will be available on Friday: Jackson Stephens, Keury Mella, Jesus Reyes, Kevin Shackelford, Barrett Astin, and Jimmy Herget. This game will be on Fox Sports Ohio at 3pm (ET).

We also know the other pitchers who will be available following Michael Lorenzen on Saturday. Dylan Floro, Kyle Crockett, Tanner Rainey, Ben Rowen, Cody Reed, Ariel Hernandez, Jose De Paula, and Zack Weiss are the guys who will be in the bullpen. This game will not be televised.

With Anthony DeSclafani listed as “Tuesday or Wednesday”, that leaves open the other day, whichever it is, for either Finnegan or Stephenson. Robert Stephenson reportedly had a crick in his neck, and is being held back for a few days because of it. That could explain why he’s missing in this list. It would likely mean that Finnegan starts whichever game that DeSclafani won’t be.

What’s strange is that the Reds only have one split squad day all spring, and it’s on the third day of the spring. That leaves the team with fewer innings for the starters. They can double up on starters early in the spring when guys are throwing three or fewer innings, but by mid-spring, it’s tougher to do that.

The Starting Lineup for Friday

  1. Billy Hamilton | CF
  2. Eugenio Suarez | 3B
  3. Joey Votto | 1B
  4. Scooter Gennett | 2B
  5. Adam Duvall | LF
  6. Scott Schebler | RF
  7. Jose Peraza | SS
  8. Tucker Barnhart | C
  9. Dilson Herrera | DH
  10. Sal Romano | SP

19 Responses

  1. Doug Gray

    Sorry for such a late 2nd post today, guys. I’ve been under the weather today – good enough to work intermittently, but not enough to sit down for an hour or two straight and get stuff accomplished.

      • Doug Gray

        I will. Not sure how many of you have seen me mention it before, but I’ve got a birth defect that causes issues from time-to-time – usually 3-5 days a month. It’s just that rearing it’s awesome head right now. I’ll be fine tomorrow, probably.

    • Rich


      I am appreciate your post and insight, but if you have to take some time to rest up; please do! Get well! Plus, I know that you have your big trip to Arizona soon.

      • Doug Gray

        Thanks Rich. When I need a real day off, I will take it. Rest won’t really do much for when this stuff pops up. It doesn’t change the recovery time because there’s not really anything to recover from. Just one of those crappy situations where there’s only so much that I can get done.

  2. Sandheel

    I hope you heal quickly, Doug.

    I would prefer Winker in starting line-up but I’m sure they don’t want to hurt Schebler’s confidence before they get a chance to unload him.

    I don’t like the plan of rotating four outfielders.

  3. Norwood Nate

    Under the caveat that I understand that ST games, and initial line ups don’t amount to a hill of beans in terms of applicable meaning.

    But Billy Hamilton leading off…ugh
    No Winker in opening line up…ugh

    First line up already putting a bad taste in my mouth. I wish I could say it was unexpected under Price.

  4. AirborneJayJay

    That certainly isn’t a lineup that looks like it will be a top-15 offense in baseball in 2018. I know it doesn’t include Winker and Senzel, but it looks very closely like an opening day lineup.
    Hamilton at the top, a .249/.301 hitter at #5, a .233/.307 hitter at #6, a .259/.297 hitter at #7, and Barnhart. If the Reds are going against a RH pitcher I wouldn’t mind seeing Barnhart leadoff. Scooter against a RH pitcher is OK at #4, but could be a little lower. It is just spring training.
    That is, though, at the heart of my grief I give the Reds front office. They are chock full of #7 and #8 hitters, yet couldn’t find the courage to pull the trigger on the Christian Yelich trade for a legitimate hitter.
    The Reds have a #8 hitter leading off, a #6 hitter in the clean up spot, a #7 hitter in the #5 spot, a #7 hitter in the #6 spot, another #8 hitter in the #7 spot. And a #6 or #7 hitter in the #8 spot.
    I just don’t get the Reds penchant for hoarding bottom of the lineup hitters. Yankees seem flush with OFers. We don’t want Ellsbury (34) and the 3 years, $68.3MM he is owed unless Yankees pay much of it. But what could the Reds part with to get Aaron Hicks or even Brett Gardner for CF? Gardner is 34 and signed for 2018 at $11M with a $12M option for 2019. Hicks is 28 and had his first year of arbitration and is set at $2.8MM for 2018.
    I don’t see Stanton as a full-time DH. He’ll want to play in the field, too.

    • JM

      Studies have shown that major league lines up reflect no actual change between an 8 or 9 hitter hitting 3 or 5th.

      Most in important slots are 2nd and 4th, anything else can be interchangeable for up to 1.3 runs on a 162 game schedule. Not 1.3 runs more per game, 1.3 runs over the entire season.

      • Colt Holt

        Do you have a reference to these studies? I am reading this as negligible impact of slipping Joey Votto down to 9th. Maybe sequencing has little effect, but 20-30 at bats for Joey Votto (or any other teams 3rd hitter) would have to be worth more than 1.3 runs in a season, right? Struggling wrapping my head around this one.

      • Doug Gray

        Using the lineup tool at, the best lineup using the 9 Reds players (not counting Winker, and counting the pitcher), based on 2017 lines, the difference between best and worst is 5.105 to 4.362 runs per game. Over 162 games a year, that’s 121 runs.

        Not sure what study you saw JM, but it’s wildly inaccurate. Now, it’s wildly impossible that a manager would actually run out the worst possible lineup. Here’s the best, based on the 9:
        Pitcher/Pinch Hitter spot

        Here’s the worst:

      • indydoug

        Interesting that best lineup has Hamilton hitting 3rd! That turns conventional baseball wisdom on its head!

  5. AirborneJayJay

    Rays OF Corey Dickerson traded to Pittsburgh. I didn’t see that one coming after Pittsburgh signed OF Michael Saunders. I guess we’ll get a front row seat playing PIT 19 games each year to witness if a Reds trade for Dickerson would have been worth it, or not.

    • wes

      I didn’t like the fit in cincy but love it for pirates! Helps justifying some meager returns in trades they made. NL Central is tuff this year!

  6. Michael B. Green

    With Hamilton leading off today and Winker not in the lineup, I wonder if we’re going to see Winker lead off Saturday with Hamilton out of the lineup. In other words, I’m wondering if we are going to have a friendly battle of who bats leadoff.

  7. Michael B. Green

    What if, each game, Billy Hamilton pinch-ran for the first OF of Duvall-Schebler-Winker to get on base each game? You’re potentially wasting a player early in the game but the chances of scoring that run goes way up – especially if you implement with less than 2 outs.