Boy, is Johnny Cueto something else. It is only June 12, but the game that took place inside the walls of Great American Ball Park on Wednesday night felt important. Fans, players and first year manager, are all beginning to get a bit uncomfortable, wondering where and when the team that has won 90 games in back-to-back seasons will arrive.
Finally, everyone is healthy. The cynical fans will claim that the team has to battle through these injuries and still perform, but when they were reeling off these fantastic regular seasons three out of the last four years, the club was still unable to advance past the division series.
This year, many of the main cogs have built-in rest. It may seem like a silly concept, but think about it: Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Devin Mesoraco, Aroldis Chapman, Mat Latos and Jonathan Broxton have all missed significant chunks of playing time due to injuries. Come October, should the Reds be lucky enough to find themselves as one of the four remaining National League ball clubs, there will be at least 60-75 less at-bats of wear and tear on the shoulders of the offensive players and 20-30 innings less of stress on the bullpen arms. (Even more so for Latos, who should be fresh as a daisy come October.)
Four games below .500 just a month out from the All-Star Break is not a position the Reds wanted to put themselves in, but 98 games remain—which, as you may have figured, some are going to be lost by the Reds. To reach 90 wins on the year, the team will have to finish the season 60-38–not an unattainable number.
* * *
The World Cup gets underway this afternoon. Personally, I do not get to watch as much club football as I should (the damn time zone swing with England becomes impossible to figure out on Mountain Standard Time), but am a complete sucker for the World Cup.
It is interesting to watch an event that means such an unbelievable amount to so many people take grasp of an entire nation.
Then, there is that World Baseball Classic thing they do that about 3% the amount of fans that watch the World Cup care about. In order for the WBC to ever become a fraction of what the World Cup will be (and it will not), players would have to leave mid-season—which again, will not happen.
* * *
Just four short years ago, the Reds had a man who was not their closer, make the National League All-Star team as a reliever. In what will be a tremendous trivia question down the line, Arthur Rhodes and his 1.54 ERA made the trip to Angel Stadium for the Mid-Summer Classic.
Rhodes pitched just 35 innings prior to making the club and had exactly zero saves. He appeared in 41 games and finished just six of them.
With that statistical backing, there is no rational reason to keep Jonathan Broxton off the All-Star roster this year in Minnesota.
For the year, Broxton has allowed a single run to cross the plate. His 0.47 ERA is astonishing, even if he did miss time at the beginning of the season while on the disabled list.
Currently at 19 innings, Broxton should get up to a minimum of 32 innings before it comes selection time, giving him an ample amount of credence to back his case.
There is no doubt that it is unlikely a “non-closer” makes the team, but when a pitcher is having a season as dominant as Broxton is, there is no silencing the numbers.
* * *
In just a few hours, the Reds get another crack at Zack Greinke. While many fans are rightfully riding high after last night’s dominant performance by Johnny Cueto that got the team back on the correct side of the win column, momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.
Not that there is anything wrong with Alfredo Simon, but rather, the fact that Greinke is darn near impossible to hit.
Should the Redlegs not win later on Thursday afternoon, their homestand would sit at a lackluster 4-6 record. The only series they will have won has been against the Philadelphia Phillies, the team with the worst record percentage-wise in the senior circuit.
Beating Greinke does so much more than give the team a win against an elite pitcher. With the offense finally taking shape as to what it should look like in the upcoming dog days of summer, a win on Thursday, and a series split against the Dodgers, would be a step in the right direction.
Tags: Cincinnati Reds