Coming off the huge week against the division leading St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Reds have made a nice run at the NL Central.
Going into this week, the Reds stand tied for second place with the Pittsburgh Pirates at 1.5 Games behind the Cardinals for the division crown.
Starting a series this evening with the Cubs, the Reds will face two NL Central foes this week with the Cubs & Brewers. To preview this weeks series with the Chicago Cubs, Blog Red Machine spoke with Jacob Misener of cubbiescrib.com to discuss the state of the Cubs.
Personally, I’m not terribly concerned about it. Despite the batting average in the .230s, Rizzo is still on pace for 25 homers and 80 RBIs. That’s a pretty respectable year for a guy in just his second full big league season. He will be working on getting the short, powerful stroke that we saw last year back in the offseason, and I expect a much better year, in terms of average, in 2014.
Brett Jackson is pretty much a non-factor at this point. He can’t hit for average, strikes out a ton and has shown virtually no signs of improving on these things. With Rookie Level, AA and AAA, he struggled – and that’s putting it mildly. He hit just .210 in 95 games, striking out in over 1/3 of his at-bats (121/324) and managing just a .296 on-base percentage. Keep in mind that he slugged just .330 (Cody Ransom even slugged over .400) and he hit just six homers in over three hundred at-bats and it’s enough for me to write him off. Lake is the man, at least for now, moving forward.
It’s a bit of a trick question because it’s all about the perspective you have. In the short-term, the team struggled because of the deals. Losing guys like Feldman or Soriano takes a lot out of a team all-around. Sori was a great clubhouse presence and he left a big hole when he was traded to New York. That being said, adding the depth and talent that we did through these deals are right in tune with what Epstein is planning out. The idea is to make the team better over a long-term time frame. Adding the talent we did through the Garza deal was huge, and unloading Sori’s contract was also an important step for the organization moving forward.
This is the biggest news to come out of the organization since 2003. (But we won’t talk about what almost happened that year). These organizations take the Friendly Confines into the 21st century. It increases revenue streams, adds marketing value and updates facilities – all of which are necessary for a team’s success in modern day baseball. In my opinion, the balance between maintaining the historic value of the stadium and adding a modern touch to the Confines was struck perfectly. This is the key to the Cubs contending on a regular basis.
Hopefully, playing spoiler in the Reds’ playoff chances. That being said, the Cubs have struggled mightily since the All-Star Break (18-30) and the Reds have been strong of late. Seeing if Castro and Rizzo can finish things on a high note is one of the lone remaining spots on the Cubs season that I’m looking forward to. Bronson Arroyo is always a contender, and watching him pitch is a treat. Hopefully, some competitive baseball will be had, and the Cubs’ offense offers some type of consistency throughout the series.