Cincinnati Reds: Three things to watch for on Opening Day

CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 30: A general view during the national anthem prior to the Opening Day game between the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MARCH 30: A general view during the national anthem prior to the Opening Day game between the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) follows through on a delivery.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Amir Garrett (50) follows through on a delivery. /

3. How will the Reds bullpen hold up?

With usual starter Sonny Gray out with a back injury, and pitcher Michael Lorenzen questionable with a right shoulder injury, the Reds have 2019 Opening Day starter Luis Castillo lined up to face the Cardinals on Thursday. But who might David Bell turn to once Castillo reaches his limit?

While Castillo has shown the ability to go the distance, coming out of Goodyear having only thrown in 9.1 innings during Cactus League play. The bullpen has plenty of arms to bridge innings together, and for the first time since becoming manager Bell now has multiple closer options.

We could see Tejay Antone, along with new additions Cam Bedrosian and Cionel Pérez make appearances from the fifth inning on. The Reds will also have former starting pitcher Sal Romano. Jose De Leon may be an option if necessary, but with Lorenzen and Gray on the IL, De Leon is being counted on as starter.

Finishing up with the potential of Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims or Sean Doolittle to close things out, Bell has options. Garrett locked hitters down this spring, retiring the first nine batters he faced via strikeout. Sims was held out for most of spring, but looked healthy of late. Doolittle was the Reds lone major-league free agent signee this winter.

As the 2021 season kicks off and progresses, the Reds will be constantly tinkering with the lineup and also the rotation. This team is no stranger to making odd combinations work and having contributions from names you’ve never heard from.

Next. 5 Reds players most likely to break out

Facing a St. Louis Cardinals team that will compete for, and potentially win, the division is a challenging test to start the season. Hopefully the Cincinnati Reds pass with flying colors and begin the 2021 season 1-0.