From dead on their feet Thursday evening, to the top of the highest mountain by Sunday Night Baseball, the Cincinnati Reds may have just saved their season.
Believe it or not, June baseball has arrived. No longer are batting averages and ERA’s incredibly slanted; players have now had two months to fix any kinks and get out of any slumps.
While a 26-29 record is not where the Reds want to be…they survived.
Within the next two weeks, both Joey Votto and Mat Latos will be back in uniform and earning their paycheck. Jay Bruce has recovered, and seems poised to go on a Herculean tear at any time now. Not to mention, Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier have emerged as perennial All-Stars.
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Not to rain on the parade, but at the start of yesterday’s game, Billy Hamilton was a late scratch that hurt more than just my pristinely organized scorebook.
Unnecessarily, Hamilton attempted to make a miraculous throw during Saturday’s game that showed off his arm, but also apparently hurt it.
Stuck with being the bearer of bad news, Jim Day announced that Hamilton told him he was “very concerned” about the injury being something that would mean he would miss time.
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Hopefully Ryan Ludwick is feeling spry. After his two days off on Friday and Saturday, he came back on Sunday looking like a spring chicken.
He annihilated a home run down the left field line that produced a “WHOA” out of the collective fan base, and delivered another hit in his next at-bat.
His offense was only half of the story, though. Out in the field, Ludwick scoffed at the notion that he would need any kind of late-inning defensive replacement as he dove around on the turf like it were cashmere carpet. Bailing out Sam LeCure, Ludwick was arguably the player of the game yesterday.
Should Billy Hamilton be significantly injured (and why would he not be with the way injuries have gone down for the Reds this year), the platoon in center field becomes all about Skip Schumaker and Chris Heisey.
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It is not too often that relievers that are not closers make the All-Star Game. Yet, with the expanded rosters, and disqualification of pitchers who start on Sunday before the game, the trio of Sam LeCure, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman may all be representing the Reds in Minnesota.
Barring his arm coming disconnected from his body, Chapman will be in Minnesota. Even Mike Matheny recognizes the importance of having the Cuban Missile apart of his club when attempting to secure home field advantage.
Beginning the season on the disabled list may count against Broxton, but if he continues to refuse to give up runs, he is going to be difficult to stray away from. In his 17.1 innings thus far this season, he has allowed only a single run to cross the plate (an RBI double off the bat of Justin Morneau on his last night as a closer). His ERA sits at a mouth-watering 0.52 as June baseball begins.
On pace to put up career numbers, that still may not be enough for LeCure to reach the mid-summer Classic. Even though he does possess a 1.19 ERA and an outstanding 314 ERA+, he has only finished five of the 21 games he has appeared in. His three runs allowed in 22.2 innings is stealth-like, but his selection is more based on how generous Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is feeling.
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Hope that everyone enjoys their off day ahead of a gigantic 10-game homestand where we get to see the club wear some red and white for once.
In just a matter of days it seems, both Joey Votto and Mat Latos will be back with the club as the Redlegs now look to hit their stride and once again begin a push towards October baseball.