Reds Await Playoff Fate in the West
West Coast Games Could Prove Disrupting
by Robb Hoff
October 4, 2012
Reds Country watched the Cincinnati Reds win the National League Central Division and continue to provide glimpses of greatness -- like Homer Bailey's no-hitter against the Pittsburgh Pirates -- after the division was clinched.
However, Reds Country has to be concerned by some of what the Reds demonstrated even before the team clinched the division: namely the Reds hitting.
The Reds are going to go as far in the N.L. playoffs as their hitters carry the team, It's going to ultimately be up to whether or not Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce can hit up to their capability. With Votto, that's pretty much a given, but with the others, all bets are off because each is a streaky hitter with the unfortunate tendency to go stone cold.
The Reds hitters will have no easy task in facing the San Francisco Giants starting rotation of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong. And the bullpen has been solid for the Giants despite the loss of their closer at the outset of the season.
If the pitching is considered, the Reds-Giants series looks like an evenly matched one because the Reds rotation of Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Bailey is equally as good as the Giants. Likewise, the Reds bullpen has been stellar after losing their closer before Spring Training even ended.
The problem for the Reds is going to be the hitting. The Giants are a better hitting team, and while good pitching beats good hitting is true, it's also true that better hitting beats weaker hitting when the pitching and defense are equal.
The Reds hitters will either have to suddenly start hot streaks -- which hasn't been the case for well over a month now -- or they'll have to approach the goal of scoring runs differently than they have (which is not likely since they approach hitting pretty much the same way they always have under manager Dusty Baker).
So that leaves Reds Country with the unenviable task of watching tortuous games that are likely to cause ulcers and heartburn. Kind of like Giants fans had to suffer through game-after-game of nerve-wracking affairs on the way to watch their team be crowned World Series Champions in 2010.
Oddly, the Reds are more like that Giants 2010 team than the 2012 Giants are like that team.
In Reds Country, let's hope that turns out to be a good thing.