Another Borek Morning: Talking Cincinnati Reds Baseball 5/22/2014


Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At least there are clear skies ahead for this weekend in downtown Cincinnati.

Yet another game was delayed by rain on Wednesday, which did provide a solid hour of turning on the ol’ Xbox, but when Alfredo Simon is rolling like he was, you never want to see a delay. Now leading the team in wins (as if that stat matters) and posting a sparkling ERA below 2.5, can there really be any doubt about where he belongs on this roster?

Tens of thousands of pitchers over the course of baseball history have gotten hot through 10 starts to begin their season. There is no guarantee that Simon will continue to pitch like this as the season progresses, but are the Reds really in a position to place a bet on him not continuing this success?

Johnny Cueto is in a class all by himself thus far this season. After that, even though Mike Leake has proven to be one of the brightest young arms in the game today, his propensity to not throw very hard makes him perpetually susceptible to a beatdown. Both Homer Bailey and Tony Cingrani are better pitchers than their numbers have shown in the first month and a half, but with that said, Simon is the second best starter on the club at the moment.

Will that remain the same all the way through the rest of the year? The All-Star break? Probably not. But, even if it is Mat Latos coming back, the Reds cannot afford to not feed the hot hand.

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Jay Bruce and Joey Votto swapped spots between the active roster and 15-day disabled list just before the game got underway on Wednesday afternoon. Presumably, that means Bruce will be in the lineup come Friday night against St. Louis.

Attempting to find some kind of silver lining amidst all this, the best I can come up with is that at least everyone should be rested. If the Reds are to make a push towards the Postseason this year, there will be two weeks less of wear and tear on the legs of Bruce and Votto, which may not sound like much, but I’m sure they will tell you it doesn’t hurt.

Seeing a left-handed bat in the middle of the order on Friday will be a beautiful sight to all Cincinnati Reds fans eyes. My guess is Jay gets slotted into the cleanup spot behind Brandon Phillips, and then followed by Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco, in whichever combination Bryan Price chooses.

Which sounds all fine and dandy. Until, there is the dreaded two-hole in the batting order.

I have zero inside information on this, but I’d bet a shiny penny we see Zack Cozart back in the two-hole on Friday. Unless Price gets extra fancy with his lineup shuffling (Bruce or Frazier second), it oddly makes the most sense. Plus, he had a three-hit night from the slot on Wednesday.

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Remember when Tony LaRussa would change his rotation around ahead of series against the Redlegs? It was of course no coincidence the Reds would always see Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia (all guys who had elbow problems, hmmmm….) when the two teams would meet in a three-game set.

It is not often a manager even has a chance to swap his rotation due to lack of off-days and such, but Price actually does have that opportunity.

As it sits now, Homer Bailey gets the ball Friday, Tony Cingrani on Saturday and Mike Leake on Sunday. The game on Saturday is national televised on Fox and the game on Sunday is Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Missing from the trio would be the Reds two best starting pitchers as of right now. Surely, this three-game set with the Cardinals is just another three games, but with these three being the only games of the homestand, it being Memorial Day weekend, and a West Coast road trip looming, these games become hugely important.

So, should Bryan Price potentially push back Homer Bailey’s start to Monday? (When again, the team is on ESPN for a Memorial Day clash with the Dodgers.) Or, does he hold true to his rotation and let Cueto get the team on the right track to begin the road trip?

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Today is an off day for the club, so enjoy it, since this will be the last one until June 2, with their only being three until July 4.