So what is it about the Cincinnati Reds this season? We’ve dedicated one of our most fun sports t shirts designs to these guys. Baseball T Shirts that take a tongue-in-cheek look at the team that’s been in first place for a while now.
The Reds show no signs of letting up, yet they seem to be doing it with smoke and mirrors. Usually, when you see this happening, a “no-name” team gets hot and then fades out. It happens every season. So should we believe anything different with these Reds?
Joey Votto has had a good career, but this is another step up. Where he’s really shined is getting on base. His OBP stands at .478, first in the NL, and he’s drawn a lot more walks in the past year and a half than he did earlier in his career. In fact he’s first in walks in the NL and #1 in doubles too. He’s the “straw that stirs the drink.”
Tom Froemming of Rantsports.com’s Bringing Heat writes that the NL lacks anyone who can come close to comparing with Votto at first base, and I can’t disagree. Is there someone else with stats like Votto’s?
In another article with a strong opinion, Jake Mastroianni of Through The Fence Baseball.com thinks Votto is the NL MVP. Jake correctly points out that Votto is not only first in OBP, walks and doubles, but he’s also top ten in runs, hits, home runs, RBI and batting average, and has led the team to first place.
So what else is making the Reds a story? Brandon Phillips is having a 2007/2009-like season, and this could be the year he breaks 100 RBI if he keeps up this pace. Right fielder Jay Bruce could be good for 30 Home Runs and 100 RBI too, and Ryan Hanigan and Todd Frazier have been passable, but that’s about it for hitting on the team.
Unfortunately, the mighty have fallen with Scott Rolen. He doesn’t seem to have anything left batting .196 after 16 seasons of play. Well, whaddya expect? He can’t play forever.
Brien Jackson of Redlegnation.com laments that the front office needs to improve the on base ability of the top of this lineup. Regarding Rolen, he writes,
From a pure performance standpoint, there’s a much stronger case for starting Frazier at third base, his best position, and benching Scott Rolen, who’s hitting a measly .197/.258/.333 through his first 37 games played. On the other hand, this probably won’t happen in the near term, both because of the value of the brand name Rolen brings to the table, so to speak, and because Rolen wouldn’t exactly be a great fit for a bench role, since his playing ability is limited to one position.
Ryan Ludwick may have never been mighty but he can hit for power and we certainly expect more than a .229 BA. For the Reds to continue their first place run, he’ll have to at least get up to near his .259 career average.
Though the starting pitching has been only average with the exception of a stellar season by Johnny Cueto, the real surprise of the team so far has to be the relief pitching. With Sean Marshall, Jose Arredondo, Logan Ondrusek and Aroldis Chapman all under 3.00 ERA, it’s a team that does it by committee.
The thing is, they are always in games. They rarely lose when they score 4 or more runs, and that’s their key to success. Steal wins by staying close, win small moments and eke them out. Is this a formula for success?
As long as the pitching holds up, I don’t see why not. They are 4th in the league in Home Runs and 5th in the league in pitching ERA.
Ya Gotta Believe or Ya Gonna Bereave? From someone who knows the Reds better than I, check out Redreporter.com’s, “A Total Loser’s Guide to Staying in First Place”, where the hope is stated,
Just sort of generally hope nothing goes wrong. This is probably the most critical, yet least controllable, element of winning. It consists of two parts: (1) hoping regressions don’t make the team worse AND (2) hoping no one gets injured. Or, if heaven forbid someone does, that they are not important.”
But there are frightening hints that things may be beginning to unravel, with Chapman and Arredondo showing signs of breaking down over the past two weeks.
An aberration or a sign of things to come? Do a search online for “Are the Reds for Real?” The same question has been asked many seasons before, literally every season for the past 6-7 years. So will this one be any different?
John Heitz of Blogredmachine.com offers his cautionary opinion with an eye on the Pirates,
What should concern Reds fans is that the Pirates won 10 games in April while scoring 29 fewer runs than the Reds did… We Reds fans should not be so dismissive or we provide weight to the chip they already have on their shoulder. The experts have so far got it all wrong concerning these Pirates as they remember the August collapse last year. But this could be the team that shakes off that mantle of mediocrity if they aren’t taken seriously, experts not withstanding. They numbers indicate they can.
I have a funny feeling that our Dawn Of The Red baseball t shirts are going to be up for a while. Whether the team holds on this season or not, I think these guys are on the upswing.
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