Cincinnati Reds in Midst of Historic Season
Reds on Verge of Season for the Ages
by Robb Hoff
August 31, 2012
Not since 1976 have the Cincinnati Reds won 80 games in a season so soon. That back-to-back World Series winning team of the Big Red Machine in 1976 notched its 80th win on August 26. The 2012 version of the historic Reds franchise won its 80th on August 30, but even being in the same ballpark as the Big Red Machine is quite an accomplishment for the 2012 Reds, especially since this team has gone 30-14 without their best player, Joey Votto.
The last time the Reds were even sniffing the likeness of the Big Red Machine was 1999 when the Reds won 96 games and had their 80th "W" on September 7.
That last gasp of the Little Red Caboose in 1999 marked the fading resurgence of the Reds franchise under the leadership of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, who led the franchise to its last World Series title in 1990.
Today, Larkin's outstanding defense and clutch hitting is the province of second baseman Brandon Phillips, who continues to baffle the eyes with Gold Glove defense unlike arguably ever seen at the position in all of baseball history. Phillips is also a high average hitter with power and base-stealing ability that easily makes him the best all-around second baseman playing today.
Phillips has led the club to its quick pace to 80 wins, but he 's had a lot of help from some unlikely sources -- namely Rookie-of-the-Year performer Todd Frazier who has been instrumental not only at the plate with clutch hitting and outstanding numbers but has also proven to be an excellent corner infielder, both at third base in lieu of Scott Rolen and at first base in replacement of Votto during the 44 games prior to the last game of August.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick has played like the Comeback-Player-of-the Year in producing Tony Perez-like power and clutch numbers from the cleanup spot.
It's also been a historic season for the Reds from a pitching perspective. With the exception of one game this year, the Reds have trotted the same five starting pitchers out to the mound for every game.
And the bullpen has been dominant with the backend sporting perhaps one of the most dominant closers the game has seen in any one season in Aroldis Chapman.
How the last 30 games pan out for the 2012 Reds remain to be seen, but winning 20 of them would give the Reds their best season since the 1976 World Champions. And winning 17 would top the 96 won by the 1999 team, which was the most since 1976 for any Reds team.
And if the poppycock about the world ending in 2012 somehow comes true, what better way for it to end for Reds fans than to watch the vestige of greatness filter through once again with another World Series title, this time courtesy of the Red Door Painted Black version of baseball first professional franchise -- the Cincinnati Reds.