Mar. 12, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Bronson Arroyo (61) pitches during the third inning against the Cincinnati Reds at HoHoKam Park. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

It's Just Spring Training

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The Spring Training campaign is two weeks along and we are faced with the rationalizations that naturally follow unfulfilled expectations.  Reds pitchers have played 12 games and have a staff ERA of 5.77 and have allowed 16 home runs, the second most during the month of March.  As I have stated before, it is not yet the time for panic but concern is warranted.  First let’s compare apples to apples.

Team ERA IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
Chicago Cubs 5.16 89.0 91 55 51 8 26 62 1.31
Cincinnati Reds 5.77 103.0 122 70 66 16 41 70 1.58
Houston Astros 4.85 89.0 98 49 48 9 35 68 1.46
Milwaukee Brewers 5.01 97.0 105 64 54 10 28 86 1.27
Pittsburgh Pirates 4.30 88.0 93 51 42 11 26 67 1.35
St. Louis Cardinals 3.46 78.0 66 36 30 5 41 65 1.31

The Reds have played more innings than their other division rivals but the numbers paint a bleak tale, they have allowed more home runs, have a far worse ERA and a higher WHIP than the rest.  While the homers can grow based on innings played the other two stats do not share this biased distinction.

So the question is, how are the competing starters faring for the Reds?  Mat Latos is the only projected starter with an ERA under 5, he is at 3.60 over 5 IP.  Aroldis Chapman, who may be considered for the rotation if his stamina is up to it, has an ERA is of 2.25 over 4 IP.  They have not been perfect but they have at least shown some success.  The rest have not been so lucky.  Homer Bailey has an ERA of 5.40 in 5 IP.  Johnny Cueto has an ERA of 6.75 in 4 IP allowing 7 hits and a walk for a WHIP of 2.0.  Mike Leake has appeared in 3 games sporting an ERA of 7.71 in 7 IP, he has allowed a team leading 15 hits while walking 2 batters.  Finally Bronson Arroyo brings up the rear with an ERA of 9.00, allowing 5 runs in 5 IP.

Dusty Baker is right, these games don’t matter.  We know what these pitchers are all capable of and we know each and every one of them can excel.  But would you rather have a team ERA of 5.77 or an ERA like the Cardinals of 3.46.  I continue to expect the Reds will succeed in 2012 but it won’t be with an ERA over 5.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnHeitz

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Tags: Aroldis Chapman Bronson Arroyo Homer Bailey Johnny Cueto Mat Latos Mike Leake

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