Cactus League 2012 Game 19: Reds vs. Mariners

Next Game

Cincinnati Reds vs.
Seattle Mariners

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

4:10 PM EDT

Goodyear Ballpark, Goodyear, AZ

Jeff Francis vs. Kevin Millwood

Coverage:

RADIO: KIRO, WEB: MLB/Reds.com audio (free), Gameday

Partly cloudy. Game time temperature around 60 degrees.

I have to agree with what Chuck laid down in yesterday's game thread. And not just about the discrete charm of Ron Karkovice. This has been a mostly drama-free, uneventful spring. While it's not great for generating discussion on a baseball blog, it's probably a good sign for the general stability of our beloved team.

Jeff Francis makes his first proper start (and 4th appearance). He's probably the softest thrower of any Reds' starter - with a fastball that sat last season a whole 20 mph less than Aroldis Chapman's record-breaking mark - but he's having one of the best springs of any Reds' pitcher. Francis hasn't walked a batter in 8 innings and only surrendered 2 earned runs.

What it means, if anything, is that Francis may have inched closer to being involved in a March Surprise. I don't think there's any spring performance Francis could turn in that should let him break into the rotation to start the season (even, IMO, for Bronson Arroyo), but the Reds have to be more tempted than they were three weeks a go to add him to the roster. Things get more interesting depending on what bullpen spots are open. And also if anything the least bit unexpected happened from here until the end of the month.

The Red Reporter Delegation can't get to Goodyear soon enough. We'll make our own news.

Red Reporter Insider Content (please pay before you read this):

Homer Bailey was seen looking toward the bullpen.

Andrew Brackman found a treasure map.

My friend Trina has a crush on a LOOGy, but she won't say who.

After Francis (which sounds like a Malcolm in the Middle spin-off): Sean Marshall, Andrew Brackman and Kanekoa Texeira.

Lineups

Reds mariners
Brandon Phillips 2B Kawasaki
Zack Cozart SS Rodriguez
Joey Votto 1B Carp
Scott Rolen 3B Montero
Jay Bruce RF Seager
Ryan Ludwick LF Liddi
Drew Stubbs CF Catricala
Ryan Hanigan C Peguero
Jeff Francis P Wells
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