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Series Preview #1: Talking Reds With Joel Luckhaupt of Red Reporter





0-0 (1st place, NL Central)
0-0 (1st place, NL Central)

GAME 1: March 31, 2011 @ 1:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

: April 2, 2011 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT

(TV: WMLW; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: April 3, 2011 @ 12:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FSN-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Great American Ballpark   Cincinnati, Ohio

SBN Coverage: Brewers vs Reds coverage

A View from the Other Dugout: Red Reporter

Game 1 Yovani Gallardo (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Edinson Volquez (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Reds
(0-0, 0.00)
vs. Brewers
(0-0, 0.00)
Game 2 Shawn Marcum (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Travis Wood (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Reds
(0-0, 0.00)
vs. Brewers
(0-0, 0.00)
Game 3 Randy Wolf (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Bronson Arroyo (0-0, 0.00)
vs. Reds
(0-0, 0.00)
vs. Brewers
(0-0, 0.00)

As we wait patiently for tomorrow's Opening Day festivities, I took a few moments to ask a few questions of  Joel Luckhaupt, former editor of Red Reporter, co-author of The Wire-to-Wire Reds about the 1990 Reds World Championship, and newly minted statistician for Fox Sports Ohio's Reds broadcasts. Here's what he had to say about the 2011 Reds and this week's series:

KL: It's been a rough spring for members of your starting rotation, with both Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey going on the shelf. What can you tell us about their injuries, and how long do you expect them to be out?

JL: Cueto's injury was some tightness in his biceps and forearm. That can be scary in a "OMG TOMMY JOHN SURGERY IS IN HIS FUTURE" sort of way, but an MRI showed no real damage. He hasn't pitched the last couple of weeks and only started throwing again a couple days ago. He says the pain is gone, but I imagine the Reds will be cautious since they just gave him a bunch of money this off-season. Based on what we've been told, I expect him back by the end of April.

Bailey's injury is an impingement in his shoulder, meaning there isn't enough space for all of the moving parts to get through cleanly. This is concerning particularly because Bailey missed 3 months with shoulder soreness last year. There hasn't been talk yet of surgery or anything, and it sounds like the plan is let him rest and hope any swelling he has will subside. There is also talk about some mechanical changes to help the issue, but I haven't heard if the Reds are going forward with that plan. Bailey is only supposed to miss a couple of weeks, but given the trouble he had last year, I'm a little concerned that this could be a longer term issue and we may see him miss some significant time.

Follow the jump for more!

KL: Is Bronson Arroyo really going to try to make a regular season start with mono?

JL: That's what it looks like. He started the Reds last spring game on Tuesday and pitched 6 innings. From the sound of it, his case of mono is pretty mild, but given how long mono can linger, it's a little scary that this could be an issue that he's dealing with for a while. Two years ago Arroyo battled carpal tunnel from his guitar playing. This year it's mono from his, ahem, lifestyle. I suspect next year he will have a hair related injury.

KL: Scott Rolen's 2010 season might have been one of the best ever for a guy who's being held together by duct tape and cable ties. Do the Reds have a plan for keeping him healthy and in the lineup in 2011? 

JL: The plan right now is to basically do what they did last year. He almost never played in a day game after a night game and Dusty Baker gave him 1 or 2 days off every week. The Reds realize that they have to protect Rolen, who clearly had worn down over the last couple of months and in the playoffs in 2010. I don't normally buy into the whole team leader being a difference maker stuff, but Rolen's attitude really seems to have an effect on his teammates, so it's good for the Reds to do whatever they can to keep him healthy. Plus, if he can put up anything close to what he did last year, it will really solidify the middle of the order.

KL: The Reds allowed 200 runs and had a 5.67 team ERA this spring, fourth worst in the NL. Is there something to that, or is it just a spring training anomaly?

JL: I don't put a lot of stock into spring training results. So many players and teams are trying to accomplish so many different things and of course there's the small sample issue. Also add in the fact that the Cactus League inflates offensive numbers dramatically (of the bottom 9 pitching staffs in the NL during spring, 7 played in Arizona), and I think it's safe to say that Cactus League numbers aren't necessarily a precursor for what we'll see in the season.  Sure, I'd prefer the Reds to have had good results, but there's nothing about what happened statistically in Arizona that concerns me right now.

KL: Are you picking the Reds to win the Central? If so, do you think the Brewers or Cardinals present their greatest challenge? If not, who are you picking?

JL: I'm picking the Reds, but I don't think it will be easy and I wouldn't be surprised if they finished third or fourth. I'd put the Reds, Brewers, Cardinals, and Cubs all in the 83-87 win talent range, which to me is basically even. With some good fortune, any of those teams could win 90 games and take the division. I know it probably sounds like a homer talking, but I think the Reds' depth makes them a very slight favorite overall, but if the Brewers starting rotation stays healthy and the bullpen and defense can keep their heads above water, I think they are the most dangerous team in the division. I'll never count the Cardinals out until they are officially dead, though their road is steeper than the other two primary contenders. And the Cubs are the Cubs, but if Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have good seasons, they could surprise us. I suspect that whoever wins the division won't do so by more than one or two games. Should be a fun year!

Thanks again to Joel for taking the time!