You're messing up my mind, Reds and Indians. Same ballpark, same two teams, but this time the Reds are visitors in their own home. Spring training is a world where conventional baseball logic goes to die.
Homer Bailey takes the mound today to kick off his sixth spring in big league camp. Instead of flogging the same storyline about Homer Bailey vs. His Unrealized Potential, let's go with the health angle. I think it's the only thing worth looking at for Hoss this March. He had a rough spring last year, then started the season on the DL. He came back and had a very nice May, then went on the DL again. After adding over 20 pounds in the offseason, maybe he'll have the durability to put in a full season. That, along with the newfound heft, might make him better in 2012. Or it would at least let the Reds get that much closer to some kind of definitive opinion on Homer as a starting pitcher.
I know we've been cautioned against reading into lineups - and I agree, reading is bad. Most today's lineup consists of JV and varisity bench players. The most interesting case is probably Chris Heisey. Does him starting today, after Ludwick hit clean-up with the A-listers, mean anything? Probably not, but we could see preference emerge from Dusty. After all, Jonny Gomes started Cactus League Game #1 last season.
In other news, Sean Marshall makes his spring debut in Red. Marshall went though the full life cycle of an established major leaguer this offseason, settling his final year or arbitration, being traded, then being offered a multi-year contract. He'll be a Red through the middle of this decade, so it's time to start getting accustomed to his face - knowing full well that first impressions are meaningless in baseball.
Hoss is scheduled to be followed by Aroldis Chapman. With only five pitchers due to make appearances for the Reds, I think it's safe to assume Chapman is going to try for multiple innings. We haven't seen him since his abortive attempt to stretch out during the Arizona Fall League. After scrapping plans to play in the Puerto Rican Winter League, I'm not sure how firm the team is in their stated goal of making Chapman as a starter again. Are the Reds getting cold feet or just being careful? It's not clear how severe Chapman's injury is, but things will come into focus if his innings aren't increasing.
I've still got Chapmania. I hope you do too.
(Jump with me for the lineups)