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Rockies vs. Reds preview: Matt Belisle starting in place of Franklin Morales

Or not, if the rain doesn't stop.

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"I've got this."
"I've got this."
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER -- Matt Belisle will start his first game since 2008 -- and will do so against the club for whom that start came -- when the Rockies take on the Reds in the second game of a four-game set on Friday.

Belisle will take the place of Franklin Morales, whose wife went into labor earlier today, making him unavailable to start. The team found out about the situation too late to call upon the minors for reinforcement, forcing a collaborative effort from the bullpen. Belisle will go roughly three innings and/or 45 pitches before giving way to another reliever.

"We're going to improvise a bit," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said before the game. "Fortunately, with Jorge going as long as he did last night, it gave the bullpen a break so we’re in a decent position for this game."

Belisle posted a 5.38 ERA with six strikeouts per nine innings in 43 starts from 2005 through 2008 while with the Reds. The 34-year-old right-hander resurrected his career as a reliever, managing a 3.94 ERA with 7.3 K/9 in 498 innings, most of them with the Rockies, out of the bullpen.

The Rockies expect to use four relievers to get through "six or seven innings" and have a plan in place to mitigate any negative effect that might have on the remainder of the series. "If Frankie is available tomorrow, will probably just plug him into the 'pen to protect it," Weiss said.

Heavy rain and lightning in the area prior to the game could prevent Belisle from making the rare start, and such an event might not be the worst thing for the Rockies. In addition to the unconventional pitching arrangement, Colorado is tasked with facing Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto, who has dominated opponents to the tune of a 2.05 ERA and 9.1 K/9 in 2014.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Here's the link; jump in now!

Here are the lineups:

Today's Lineups

CINCINNATI REDS COLORADO ROCKIES
Billy Hamilton - CF Charlie Blackmon - RF
Kristopher Negron - 2B Drew Stubbs - CF
Jay Bruce - RF Justin Morneau - 1B
Ryan Ludwick - LF Nolan Arenado - 3B
Brayan Pena - C Corey Dickerson - LF
Jack Hannahan - 1B Wilin Rosario - C
Ramon Santiago - 3B Charlie Culberson - SS
Zack Cozart - SS DJ LeMahieu - 2B
Johnny Cueto - RHP Matt Belisle - RHP