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Cactus League Game 14, 15: Reds @ Cubs (split-squad doubleheader)

Next Game

Cincinnati Reds
@ Chicago Cubs

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3:05 PM EST
HoHoKam Park

Homer Bailey vs. Carlos Silva

TV: None; RADIO: 700 WLW & affiliates, WGN; WEB:  GamedayGameday Audio

Partly cloudy. Game time temperature around 80.

4:05 PM EST
Cashman Field (Las Vegas)

Mike Leake vs. James Russell

TV: Fox Sports Ohio, WGN; RADIO: None; WEB:  GamedayGameday

Sunny. Game time temperature around 75.

This is getting confusing. First off, my sequential numbering of these games is now probably inconsistent, as I took poetic license earlier in the spring and counted the previous split squad as two half-games. I know we're going to get an avalanche of hate mail for this, but it's probably more accurate to call this Game 15 and 16. Secondly, to explain what's going on today: The Reds and Cubs are both splitting squads. To play against each other. Seems inefficient, but just humor them.

The first game is in Mesa AZ at #3 Most Charmingly Named Spring Venue, HoHoKam Park. The second game starts an hour later in Vegas. But what is to happen in Vegas will not, in this case, stay in Vegas. The 4:05 tilt is the headline game and will be on TV (FSO and WGN). Everyone will also probably be comped some rooms and chips at Little Nero's MGM Grand Palace Prisidio Casino & Scale Replica of Hong Kong.

The biggest news out of yesterdays game, other the unconscionable tie that was allowed to take place, was Johnny Cueto's forearm. He left the game prematurely, reporting "tightness." The injury was downplayed by everyone including Cueto, with trainer Paul Lessard saying that pulling Cueto was just precautionary. The Reds announced just a little while a go via Twitter that Cueto had been "diagnosed with stiffness in right biceps and forearm" and "will take a couple days off from throwing, to be examined again Monday." It's certainly more concerning that the the biceps are now being mentioned. But while every serious injury seems to begin with this kind of talk, so does every non-issue.

"Careful" is the byword with Cueto since '09 - especially after Volquez's injury - and we can expect this kind of preemptive action during spring training. Cueto reached a career high in IP last season (185.2), but the Reds have been vigilant with him since his fatigue issues in the latter half of 2009 and ran a full battery of tests in connection to his new contract. Bryan Price mentioned that the Reds were going to stop trying to correct his Gibsonian fall-off-to-1B syndrome. But there doesn't appear to be evidence of the usual red flags in his delivery, such "loading" the ball too late or too early, that would suggest stress on the elbow or shoulder.

With Homer and Mike Leake both on tap today, it's a 5th Starter Special. Most news from the starting pitchers has been dismal lately, so it would be nice to get a confidence-boost from these two. Or at least some movement in the race to join the rotation. Leake and Bailey are set to go 4 innings or so. Matt Maloney, Daryl Thompson, Jerry Gil, Scott Carroll and Philippe Valiquette are available to pitch behind Leake in Vegas, while Dontrelle Willis, Jordan Smith and Logan Ondrusek will follow Bailey (Smith and LeCure are also there).

Game 1 Lineups (Mesa)

Cincinnati Reds Chicago cubs
Edgar Renteria SS Fernando Perez LF
Brandon Phillips 2B Darwin Barney SS
Jay Bruce RF Marlon Byrd CF
Scott Rolen 3B Aramis Ramirez 3B
Jonny Gomes DH Carlos Pena 1B
Jeremy Hermida LF Geovany Soto C
Chris Heisey CF Bobby Scales 2B
Yonder Alonso 1B James Adduci RF
Ramon Hernandez C Carlos Silva P

Game 2 Lineups (Las Vegas)

Cincinnati Reds Chicago cubs
Drew Stubbs CF Kosuke Fukudome RF
Zack Cozart SS Starlin Castro SS
Joey Votto 1B Tyler Colvin DH
Juan Francisco 3B Alfonso Soriano LF
Fred Lewis LF Scott Moore 1B
Ryan Hanigan C Jeff Baker 3B
Todd Frazier RF Blake DeWitt 2B
Dave Sappelt DH Reed Johnson CF
Chris Valaika 2B Koyie Hill C