Jun 7, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco (39) talks to starting pitcher Mike Leake (44) during the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

Reds Need Quality Starts

The Pirates, for the 15th time in the last 24 games, managed to find another way to beat the Reds. This time in extra innings, against arguably the best pitcher in Major League Baseball. Reds now 9-15 against Pirates dating back to last year. The Pirates are only two back now.

But that’s all from the Pirates until August. These two teams are through with each other for a couple months, much to the delight of the Reds, who I’m sure are getting tired of having their lunch eaten by a team they’re used to bullying.

Now the Reds look ahead to an even daunting stretch, a stretch where they’ll play the surprisingly struggling Tigers (who are absolutely LOADED with talent) before playing nine straight games against the first place Indians and the 3rd place Mets, who are only 1.5 games out of first. It’s time to get serious, again.

The last stretch of 14 straight games against winning opponents, the Reds went a respectable 9-5, against teams including the likes of Washington, New York Mets, New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves. The run was propelled by phenomenal starting pitching, as guys were posting quality starts on a daily basis.

And that’s what will need to happen for the Reds to have any amount of success during the next run through the gauntlet. They need the quality start. Maybe you’re getting bored of reading me yapping about this. But the proof is astounding.

The Reds have amassed 31 wins to this point. They’ve had 30 quality starts and are 22-8 when one of the starting five gives them one. In the last ten games, the Reds are 5-5. Reds starting pitching has only thrown four quality starts during this stretch. 3-1 during last ten when Reds get the quality start. 3-3 in the games they didn’t.

The offense could use an upgrade and you have to believe that Walt is searching the market for best addition possible; however, the 21st most prolific offense should be enough to suffice if the 8th best pitching in baseball can keep the game within reach. The Pirates are the worst offensive team in baseball. Literally, no one has scored fewer runs. They’re two games out of first.

Latos throws a pitch against the Houston Astros in the first inning at Minute Maid Park. (Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE)

This stretch, and this entire season for that matter,will rest on the arms of the starting five. Mat Latos goes tonight. He is absolutely essential to any success the Reds hope to enjoy this year. A quality start this evening would do wonders to getting the Reds back to playing consistent, winning baseball.

Tags: Baseball Cincinnati Reds Detroit Tigers Dusty Baker GABP Mat Latos New York Mets Pitching Pittsburgh Pirates Quality Start

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