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Reds Chop Magic Number to 5

Updated on September 16, 2012

Postseason Rotation in the Balance

by Robb Hoff

September 16, 2012

The Cincinnati Reds have resorted to playing some ugly baseball lately. Despite sweeping a stumbling Pittsburgh Pirates team earlier last week, the Reds have somehow managed to drop two of three games in series against teams of the ilk of the Houston Astros and the Miami Marlins.

Winning and losing doesn't matter so much now for the Reds because of the postseason position they are in. With a Magic Number of just 5 before the Reds clinch the N. L Central Division for the second time in three years, the Reds look solidly set to be the second seed in the National League, meaning they will travel to San Francisco to face the Giants for the first two games of the divisional series in October.

But an announcement made today will have some head scratching going on about the postseason rotation and with good reason.

The change in the rotation headed into the last three weeks of the regular season seems shifted to set the postseason rotation as follows:

Johnny Cueto

Bronson Arroyo

Mat Latos

Homer Bailey

If that rotation holds true, it means Arroyo would get the nod over Latos in San Francisco, which will likely come under heavy scrutiny in Reds Country.

Latos has quite a history of antagonism in his young career with the Giants and their fans. What's more, he's pitched 43 innings in six starts at AT&T Park, sporting a 1.62 earned run average and a 0.72 walks-plus-hits per innings pitched ratio.

Maybe the goal is to give Reds fans who attend the third game -- the first at Great American Ball Park -- the opportunity to see one of the two best starters for the Reds in Latos, but as dominant as Latos has been against the Giants in San Francisco, it makes for a head scratch why Arroyo would be given the ball there, especially since his ERA is 4.11 and his WHIP is 1.60 in his six games started and 35 innings pitched at AT&T.

Either way -- and if there is head scratching and second guessing -- it's good to know for Reds fans that there will be postseason play in Cincinnati once again with the hope that team has made significant enough strides from its 2010 version to fare better than they did the last time.

Reds fans should have another thing to look forward to between now and the postseason and that is clinching the division at home. Even if the Reds sweep the hapless Chicago Cubs on the road, the St. Louis Cardinals are likely to at least win two of three against the even more hapless Astros.

So the likelihood is the Reds clinch at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a series that will certainly have a postseason feel, not only if the Reds are clinching the division during the series but also because the Dodgers will be playing for their postseason lives.


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