Forget about their 7-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs last night. The Cincinnati Reds have been a pretty good team lately. They’ve rebounded from a slow start to get right back in the mix in a very crowded NL Central.
A loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 10th left them at 29-34 and with all the injuries they have been dealing with, it seemed like they could be out of the race by July.
In the 13 games since, they have gone 9-4, scoring 6.3 runs/game.
Johnny Cueto has been the National League’s best pitcher not named Clayton Kershaw, Billy Hamilton has caused major havoc on the base-paths and third baseman Todd Frazier has been their most productive offensive player.
They have been lucky enough to even stay close in the race, considering the injuries to their stars that they have had to deal with.
Jay Bruce missed 2 weeks earlier this season with a torn meniscus and the usually reliable Joey Votto missed almost a month due to a stained left quad.
The Reds — along with the rest of the Central, had to weather a 20-7 start by the Milwaukee Brewers. Luckily for the rest of the division, the Brewers have been pretty average since then — with a 27-25 record, so other teams have been able to stay close.
The Reds have two things that those other teams don’t have though : Hamilton’s legs (31 stolen bases) and Aroldis Chapman‘s arm.
Chapmam missed the first month of the season, and although he has blown 2 saves, he does have 13 saves on the season.
Even Jonathan Broxton recorded 5 saves in Chapman’s absence — and he has been as close to automatic as any reliever in the league, with a 0.74 ERA.
Pitcher Mat Latos has just returned from injury (knee and arm issues) and has looked good in his first two starts.
Devin Mesoraco might be the best player that no one has heard of. He has a 1.054 OPS — which would rank him second in the NL if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
Although Brandon Phillips is dealing with a bruised heel — they are hoping he doesn’t have to land on the DL, they are finally primaril healthy. This team, especially this offense could be scary once Votto and Bruce start hitting, and the scary part is they are right there — just 3 games back in the Wild Card race, with Bruce batting just .225 and Votto batting just .263, which is way below his capabilities.
This team could be — and will show during the summer that they are dangerous. Don’t count this team out. They have done this postseason thing before.
– Khristian Peel
Follow me on twitter @KhristianPeel