The Reds will likely face Brandon Webb, Dan Haren and Randy Johnson with Haren and Johnson possibly being flipped in the rotation to get that Righty-Lefty-Righty order in the first three games of the schedule. Can the Reds compete with that?
Facing the defending NL West champs will be difficult but our saving grace hopefully will be having our hitters ahead of their pitchers that early in the season. Don't even want to think of their hitters being ahead of our pitchers.
The Arizona mailbag (D'backs official site)offers this-
Brandon Webb is still our No. 1 pitcher, correct? Where do you think Randy Johnson will be in the rotation? Do you think with this surgery, he'll make it through an entire season?
-- Naomi B., Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Webb will be the Opening Day pitcher, Naomi, but where Johnson will be slotted is still yet to be determined. From the way manager Bob Melvin has been talking of late, it seems likely that he will slot Johnson right behind Webb and in front of Dan Haren. That simply would allow him to not have lefties Johnson and Doug Davis pitching on consecutive days.
I heard that Johnson will pitch in the second spot in the rotation. Wouldn't it make more sense to throw Haren in that role since he's the better pitcher? I mean, we gave up six prospects to get him. Isn't he better than a No. 3 guy?
-- Greg S., Scottsdale, Ariz. Regardless of where he pitches in the rotation, Haren has the stuff to be a No. 1 starter, but really I think too much gets made about what spot a guy pitches in the rotation. Getting the Opening Day start is clearly something special. And if you're the No. 5 guy, that's important, because you may get skipped to keep the other guys working on regular rest. As for the other slots, once the first week of the season is over, everyone has different off-days and everyone's rotation gets jumbled, so it's not like if you were to pitch Webb the fifth day of the season, he would match up every time against other team's No. 5's.
So the Reds counter with Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Matt Belisle or does Dusty Baker slot Homer Bailey #3? Hopefully a successful spring training allows Baker to entrust Bailey as the third starter.
After the first three games, what will the Reds record be?
I go with Harang winning game 1 and the Reds losing games 2 and 3.