While there are still some roster decisions to be made, especially in the starting rotation, one thing that is know is that Raisel Iglesias will get the nod on Opening Day for the Reds.
Manager Bryan Price announced Monday that Iglesias will get the ball for the Reds for his first Opening Day start which comes in just his second season. One thing was for certain, someone was going to make their first Opening Day start for the Reds young and currently injured pitching staff. Anthony DeSclafani was originally thought to be the Opening Day starter, but an oblique strain will keep him out until at least the weekend series with Pittsburgh.
Iglesias was no stranger to injuries last season after he missed time with a strained oblique and then was shut down on Sept. 13 after exiting with right shoulder fatigue. That fatigue likely came in to play thanks to Iglesias spending most of 2014 in Haiti after he defected from Cuba. He finished the year with a 3-7 record, but strung together seven straight quality starts over the course of a month that included three-straight games with at least ten strikeouts.
His spring training has not gone quite the way he would have liked. In three outings, he’s allowed six runs, four earned, on seven hits over six innings. In his last start, he went three innings allowing three runs including a home run. He’ll be followed in the rotation by Brandon Finnegan, who’s having a worse spring than Iglesias. In six stars, Finnegan has been rocked for 17 runs with 13 of those coming in his last two starts.
Iglesias draws the Phillies Jeremy Hellickson as his opposing hurler on Opening Day. Hellickson went 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA last season with the Diamondbacks after spending his first five years with the Rays. As for Finnegan, he’ll square off against Aaron Nola on Opening Night two days later. Nola was a lone bright spot for the Phillies last year, going 6-2 with a 3.59 ERA in his first 13 MLB starts. The final game of the series will see former Pirate, Charlie Morton go for Philadelphia, but the Reds aren’t sure who’ll take the mound.
Jon Moscot is definitely a candidate for the rotation, but he’s coming off an injury that will likely push him back a few starts. Alfredo Simon, whom the Reds re-acquired earlier this month,is set to go in the Reds first NL Central game as he is expected to face Jeff Locke of the Pirates. Tim Melville, who’s a non-roster player, or possibly Robert Stephenson, who was optioned to Louisville, but is on the 40-man roster, could both be candidates for Thursday’s game. Down the road, John Lamb and Homer Bailey will both be able to join the rotation after they’ve fully recovered from injuries that are expected to keep them out until at least May.
The Reds have less than a week to figure out their roster before they are trimmed down to the 25-man roster that will take the field on April 4 in Cincinnati. Iglesias and Hellickson will get the ball rolling with first pitch set for 4:10 p.m.