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Cactus League 2012 Game 29: Reds @ Giants

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Next Game

Cincinnati Reds vs.
San Francisco Giants

Saturday, March 31, 2012

6:05 PM EDT

Scottsdale Stadium, Scottsdale, AZ

Jeff Francis vs. Guillermo Mota

Coverage:

MLB.tv FREE GAME of the DAY, TV: MLBN (replay, 9pm), KNTV, RADIO: WLW, KNBR,

WEB: Gameday Audio, Gameday

Clear. Gametime temperature around 85.

The calculus for Jeff Francis is a lot more clear now than it was before his 11-run misadventure on Monday vs. the Rangers. It should probably be called " 'rithmatic" now. Although I'm not sure why one spring outing - or even an entire spring - should change how we view most any pitcher, especially a fairly-well-established veteran. Francis is still a good depth signing, but it was hard to imagine him cracking the rotation at the start of the spring without an injury. The biggest difference since then is the compelling case Aroldis Chapman has made.

The Reds currently have 12 healthy pitchers in camp, so it's tempting to think it's only a matter of handing out roles at this point ("cool guy," "don't suck," BE MINE, etc). But the Reds also have two (2) 40-man spots open and have been kicking the tires on Mike Gonzalez, possibly others. There's also been a whiff of other minor trades that might fill at least one of those two bullpen spots.

Without an outside acquisition, I think the Reds will put Chapman in the rotation, Bailey and Francis in the bullpen. At least a sliver of that decision has to turn on the fact that the Reds probably don't want four lefties in their bullpen (Marshall, Bray, Chapman, Francis). I also have to think they're going to try to make an acquisition, because Francis and Bailey in the bullpen seems not a whole lot more likely than having four lefties.

As far as the bench goes, I think John Fay made a pretty good guess about Leake possibly being sent down until they need him to start. Except, as Joel/Slyde pointed out, why not make it Chapman? Leake's spot should be as secure as Cueto or Latos after last season, while Chapman could use another tune-up start. In either case, the Reds might defer the decision on Frazier vs. Franciso vs. Harris(?) until Aprill 11 by rolling with 11 pitchers.

It'll be interesting to see how it all falls out, even though the answers to these roster quandaries seem more obvious than the controversy around them. Those answers, in order are: Aroldis Chapman, the Battle of Vicksburgh, a common ingredient in cough medicine and the Who's the Boss episode where the cast looks at the camera and asks "Who is the Boss, after all?"

Lineup after the dump.

Lineups

Reds giants
El BeePerino Angel Pagan CF
Soft J
Melky Cabrera LF
Vottomatic for the People Buster Posey 1B
Rolen, the Reds' Best Thompson Gunner
Pablo Sandoval 3B
Jay-Hova Nate Schierholtz RF
Ludwi C.K.
Ryan Theriot 2B
Texarkana Slim
Emmanuel Burriss SS
RyHan Chris Stewart C
START THE REACTOR! Guillermo Mota P