Monday, August 3, 2009

Cubs/Reds preview

Game 1: Randy Wells (7-4, 2.84) v. Aaron Harang (5-12, 4.50) - Coming off his 8 shutout innings against Houston, you have to feel pretty confident about this as a Cub fan. However, Harang has pitched decent against the Cubs this season, allowing only 4 runs in 13 innings. Wells has pitched about the same against the Reds, giving up 5 runs in 12.2 innings.

Great American's smaller dimensions paired with Jake Fox homering in his last 3 starts scream to me that he should play. Soriano was 0-9 in Florida, but I don't think he should sit. I'd love to see catch tonight, but when you think about it realistically, you can't sacrifice defense behind the plate for 9 innings.

Tonight's game brings on a little added importance because the Cardinals are off. The advantage in the loss column the Cubs have currently stands at two, and it would real nice to keep it there after tonight. The Reds, on the other hand, have fallen into a tie for last in the division with the Pirates at 45-59. In their last 19 games, the Reds have gone 3-16. To put it in words: this is a good time for the Cubs to catch them.

The whole downfall of the Reds is really interesting to me. They have been affected by injuries in the same way the Cubs have having lost Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Edinson Volquez for lengths of time. Volquez, in fact, will not return this season as he will undergo surgery on his right elbow. When you are a team centered around young talent like those three, you don't expect to have the injuries they have had.

Either way, I really thought this Reds team would stick around because of their pitching. Their bullpen has been pretty solid with Cordero, Weathers, and Rhodes, but their starters really have disappointed this season. The Volquez injury clearly affects that, but he had compiled a 4.50 ERA until his injury on June 2. Of their regular starters, Johnny Cueto leads the group with a 4.05 ERA, not bad but not what you would expect from a team leader. Bronson Arroyo and Micah Ownings have ERA's above 5.

Despite all the disappoint this season, I think the Reds have the pieces in place to become a contending team in the division in the near future. I know this is pretty trite because people have been saying that about them for a few years, but I believe it. Votto, Volquez, Bruce, and Cueto still form a solid nucleus that still recieves the benefit of the doubt on not being injury-prone players and having only succumbed to bad luck.

Though financially confusing, I see the Scott Rolen trade being in the same mold as Ivan Rodriguez in Detroit a few years befor they had their AL Pennant season. Rolen has declined into the type of player that is not a star anymore but still good enough not be considered a role player. A player like him usually is brought in to bolster a contending team, not to a team tied for last in their division in August. However, with Rolen in the fold right now, the team can start to lay the foundation for a winner next year.

Sorry for the ramble on the Reds. Go Cubs. Photo courtesy

No comments:

Post a Comment