Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
It's a new season. A "post season," if you will.
The Reds can now approach Saturday as the start of a new season - one with different stakes. They can set their roster, rotation, lineup with just one team and two ball parks in mind. They can do it with knowing that the priority is to win every game with very little consideration for the next.
The slow, methodical, "adult" season gives way to the very "live in the now," instantly-gratified, child-like post-season. Although, we're still kinda talking about the same group of guys.
Dusty tipped his lineup card during the last few days of the season. Although Chris Heisey made some starts in the Pittsburgh series, Stubbs was in CF for the final three games in St. Louis, along with Scott Rolen and therest of the regulars. Heisey and Stubbs also weren't used down stretch in any platoon way. Heisey made starts against Wandy (a lefty) and Kyle McPherson (a righty) in Pittsburgh, while Stubbs started against Carpenter and Shelby Miller - both righties - in the final two games.
Stubbs finished the season with rip-roaringly terrible numbers against righties: .186/.259/.282 (vs. .228/.301/.355 career). As much as I don't want to see him face Matt Cain - against whom he's 1-11 lifetime - I also think it's OK to put him in CF to patrol AT&T's right-centerfield cave.
If you assume Heisey would also be stifled by Cain - and that these will be low-scoring games - the Reds should play to their run-preventing strengths.
The probable lineup for Game 1 puts the Reds' best defensive unit on the field (Cueto included):
Then who's on the bench?
Devin Mesoraco hasn't played since September 10. If they were considering him as a third catcher, well, they're not. I still think Leake makes it in part because of his bat, but Hoover could easily edge out either he or Jose Arredondo. J-HOOVA had a tune-up last night, if that means anything.
Hoover is the most deserving of those three by relief-pitching capability alone, but that won't necessarily be enough for him squeak on.
Added to the above, this is my final guess:
Chris Heisey (R) OF
Xavier Paul (L) OF
Mike Leake (R) RP/long reliever