Cactus League Game 13: Reds @ Rangers

Next Game

Cincinnati Reds
@ Texas Rangers

Friday, March 11, 2011, 3:05 PM EST
Surprise Stadium

Johnny Cueto vs. Colby Lewis

Coverage:
TV: None; RADIO: None; WEB: Gameday, Gameday Audio (MLB.com)

Partly cloudy. Game time temperature around 85.


Fred Lewis, hitting today in the 5th spot, has been a a bit of marginalized figure so far this spring. I hate to use such strong language, but when Lewis was signed to a guaranteed contract his offseason, many of us expected him to be lefthanded platoon partner for Gomes and potential leadoff candidate. So far, both the rhetoric and lineup cards say different. Dusty has preemptively named Gomes the "most of the time" starter in left field, while Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips and even Jay Bruce have gotten more attention in the leadoff spot. Lewis has only leadoff once this spring, in Game 2 against Cleveland, and has made less trips to the plate than Frazier, Cozart, Dorn, Renteria, Francisco, Valaika and Hermida. Most of this probably has to do with getting guys who are likely to be cut some looks before they head to minor league camp. Let's hope Lewis gets a fair shake. Or at least a healthy, multi-fruit shake served to him on the bench.

Johnny Cueto is back for his third start of the spring, have pitched 3 scoreless against the Cubs in his last outing. It should be interesting to see how he operates against guys he hasn't seen before - Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz among them. This is the Rangers' A Team, with Michael Young conspicuously present. And this is Hamilton's first time playing his former club, though we missed the Volquez-Hamilton Trade Off by one game.  Cueto is targeted for 4 innings or so, followed by Jose Arredondo and probably at least two other available arms.

The pattern lately has been for starters with well-defined roles to turn in middling-to-terrible performances. Let's hope Cueto bucks that trend today. Call it what you will - "making adjustments," "working it out," or "Pro Bowling it," it doesn't do much for fan confidence. My advice is to slide it on unless you're truly afraid Joey Votto will OPS .600 this season. I'd much rather see a player with an assured spot on the roster ease up and have a weak showing in spring training than injure themselves. Especially in a sport other than baseball.

No cuts from MLB camp yet, though John Fay expects some to come down as soon as Monday.

DON'T FORGET: Today is is Fresh Friday. Roll out your best trash talk, vis a vis the Rangers. Or any other object of scorn. "Hey Rangers, if you were any rangier, you'd actually be playing in the Texas League." Nice job by me there.

Lineups

Cincinnati Reds Texas rangers
Dave Sappelt CF
Ian Kinsler DH
Drew Stubbs DH
Elvis Andrus SS
Joey Votto 1B
Josh Hamilton LF
Juan Francisco 3B
Nelson Cruz RF
Fred Lewis LF
Michael Young 2B
Ryan Hanigan C
Yorvit Torrealba C
Zack Cozart SS
Mitch Moreland 1B
Daniel Dorn RF
Chris Davis 3B
Chris Valaika 2B
Julio Borbon CF
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