With Opening Day only three days away, the Cincinnati Reds roster is looking more like the walking wounded than a defending division champion.
A pitching rotation of Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, Travis Wood, Mike Leake and probably Sam LeCure will not strike fear into the hearts of the collective sluggers of the Milwaukee Brewers. Their combined ERA is 6.45.
Arroyo is currently suffering through a bout of mononucleosis, while would-be starters Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto are starting the season on the shelf.
Spring training sensation Dave Sappelt, along with pitcher Dontrelle Willis, will begin the season in Louisville, while Jeremy Hermida will throw his line into the waters of the MLB to see if there are any bites.
The Reds pitching this spring has been terrible for the most part. Volquez was rocked in his last show before he opens the season on Thursday. He has worked only 9+ innings this spring in preparation for the season premiere and boasts an 8.38 ERA in two starts.
The final position spot on the 25-man roster is a battle between home-grown Juan Francisco and newcomer Fred Lewis. On paper, Francisco would be a lead-pipe cinch, but with Dusty Baker's love for veterans, it is anybody's guess. Lewis has a minor injury, so that could be a factor.
In my opinion, as controversial as it may be at times, it would have been best to keep Hermida and let Lewis hang with the Bats for a little while. Hermida has had a real good spring, batting .342 with three HR and an OBP of .458.
Where do you think the Reds will finish in the Central Division?
Lewis has an anemic average of .205 but is among the team leaders with 11 RBI.
The final two cuts for the bullpen will involve a final four of Matt Maloney, Jared Burton, Logan Ondrusek and Jose Arredondo. My money is on Ondrusek and Burton to remain with the mothership as the other two will probably begin the season with the Bats in Louisville.
This is my best guess of what you will see when the game starts Thursday:
1. Drew Stubbs - CF
2. Brandon Phillips - 2B
3. Joey Votto - 1B
4. Scott Rolen - 3B
5. Jay Bruce - RF
6. Jonny Gomes - LF
7. Ryan Hanigan - C
8. Paul Janish - SS
9. Edinson Volquez - P
It looks a little bleak right now, but buck up kids, the Reds are going to REPEAT this season.