Greg Reynolds set down his bag in the Reds clubhouse Saturday. Seconds later, a group of sports writers swarmed the pitcher, wanting to know why he was in Cincinnati and not with Triple-A Louisville.
The presence of Reynolds in the clubhouse seemed to solve the mystery of who would start today’s game against the Brewers. Minutes earlier, Tony Cingrani, the scheduled starter, said he felt fantastic, but he didn’t know if he would start. It wasn’t his decision. He left his previous start Tuesday against the Diamondbacks with back pain.
Reynolds revealed that he also didn’t know. He didn’t want to say anything until he talked to pitching coach Bryan Price and Dusty Baker.
Baker said a decision wouldn’t be made until after Saturday’s game when they would be able to see how Cingrani has responded to treatment.
“We’re kind of leaning (toward pitching Reynolds),” Baker said, “or else he wouldn’t be here.”
Reynolds made one start for the Reds on July 23. He allowed five earned runs in five innings in a 5-3 loss in San Francisco. He’s 12-3 with a 2.42 ERA in Louisville this season.
If Cingrani doesn’t start today, he might be placed on the disabled list. Then he would miss two starts and wouldn’t pitch again until Sept. 5 against the Cardinals, Baker said.
The danger of having him try to pitch today in the final game of the seven-game homestand is he might have to leave the game early again.
“We couldn’t really afford something happening to him,” Baker said. “We couldn’t afford a short outing (Sunday), to use my bullpen again, especially before we get to St. Louis. All of our starters are very aware and conscious like you want them to be of the workload that’s been put on the bullpen. They all said, ‘We’ll do whatever we can to go deep in the games.’”
Busy team: The Reds have four games left in a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. They had a similar stretch from April 12 to May 1. That one ended with three games in St. Louis, just as this one will Monday through Wednesday.
“It’s part of the game,” pitcher Homer Bailey said. “Everybody else does it, too. We’re not going to use that as an excuse. We’re doing the same things everybody else is. They have to do it, too. So do we.”
The Reds lost five of the last seven games the first time they played 20 days in a row. They can’t afford another skid if they’re going to catch the Pirates or Cardinals.
“It’s not early anymore,” Bailey said. “It’s late in the season. If we don’t bounce back, we’re going to be watching from home. We have a job to do, and we need to take care of it.”
First appearance: Reliever Nick Christiani made his big-league debut Friday. He walked a batter and then got a strikeout to end the eighth inning.
Christiani got to keep the ball he threw for his first pitch and the ball he used for the strikeout. His parents, sisters, girlfriend and his girlfriend’s family all made the trip to Cincinnati from New Jersey to see his first game.
“I’ve never been so pumped up on the mound,” he said. “I think it showed the first batter, not even being close. After that, I took a step back and said, ‘Just do what got you here and slow down and throw strikes,’ and I got through it.”