The Cincinnati Reds have been the forgotten team in the National League Central. MLB experts had the Cardinals and Pirates listed as the top two teams in the division before the season began, but Milwaukee has shocked everyone and sustained their tremendous level of play. If not for a horrible last 10 games the Reds could easily be in the hunt for the division title, and still may be. They send their number 1 starter to the mound Thursday night against a Miami squad that has struggled mightily on the mound without the services of Jose Fernandez.
If not for a phenomenal season by Adam Wainwright and the standard dominance of Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto would be a clear cut Cy Young award candidate. The only negative regarding Cueto’s pitching is the amount of walks he allows. If not for that his WHIP would be even more ridiculous than it already is at 0.93. He’s given up just 102 hits in 155+ innings, and has been one of the reasons why the Reds are still in the mix in the Central.
Cincy’s offense has fallen well short of expectations as they are currently in the bottom 10 in baseball in runs, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Joey Votto is their best hitter, but he’s spent a lot of time on the DL this season and has not been able to contribute on a consistence basis throughout the year. Todd Frazier leads the team in nearly every offensive category, and that’s good and bad. He’s having a career year with 20 homeruns, 55 runs batted in and 60 runs through 106 games, yet he hasn’t received much help from the rest of the line-up. Billy Hamilton is still learning and will be much better as he becomes accustomed to the Major League game. However, the Reds need more form him now as well as Brandon Phillips.
It wouldn’t take much for Cincinnati to get back in the mix. A solid 5-7 game win streak has the potential to shoot them right towards the top of a division that has been in the balance over the last month. Baseball handicappers have listed Cueto and the Reds as slight -119 favorites over the Marlins in Miami for tonight’s match-up. Tune in as the Reds battle to get the win and gain ground on Milwaukee, St Louis and Pittsburgh in the tough N.L. Central.