Friday, August 9, 2013

Help is on the way for Reds

by: Izsak Rapp
Staff Writer

With Jonathan Broxton's return, and other reinforcements on the horizon for the Reds, will it be enough to give it one last push for the first wild card seed or even for the National League Central Division crown? There is no way for sure to tell ,but there are a few things that you can be sure of.

We know what our pitching staff can do. With the current rotation, we know what to expect from the starters. Arroyo will continue to eat up innings, and Latos and Cingrani will continue to be the power pitchers that they are. I really can't say enough what Cingrani has done this season. Having a 6th man that is this dominate doesn't happen often. He could walk onto just about any rotation in the bigs and be an improvement. Bailey has been interesting. While his numbers don't show it, he has quietly had a solid season. As long as Leake can continue to work the same magic he has been preforming all season we will be in good shape. The crazy thing is the rotation can only get better when Cueto returns. He hasn't started throwing yet so his return is a big question mark right now.

The bullpen is more or less lights out. With LeCure and Cornelius - his mustache - leading the domination, and Broxton returning, the bullpen is a driving force for a potential deep playoff push. I have been very impressed with the turn around for Manny Parra. It's safe to say every Reds fan has wanted someone fired for the hire of Parra, but he has turned into a valuable part of the pen. With Marshall going down, and Dusty's "use" of Chapman, Parra has become the go-to lefty in the pen. I think its safe to say he will be safe even with the return of Cingrani and Marshall to the pen.

The outfield will be looking a little different by the end of this season. Ryan Ludwick should be joining the big league club in a week or so. Knowing what to expect from him is a difficult task. He hasn't exactly stolen the spotlight down in Louisville. In a way that's expected, he has gone 3-30 with one single, one double, and one long ball. I think he will get back into the swing of things (Get it?) when he gets back with the Reds. We can't expect him to put up the crazy numbers he did last season, but it's hard to imagine he can't get on base more than the current left fielders' with a .235 average and a .294 on-base percent.

Another question that I think will pan out interestingly is who is shipped out when Ludwick returns. Paul, Robinson, and Heisey are all out of options. The only way they could be sent down to AAA is if they clear waivers. I think it's safe to say all three are Major League ready. Someone would claim any of those three if they were sent down. I would think Paul has to be the odd man out in Ludwick's return. Dusty loves Heisey, this has been proven time and time again, and with Robinson's speed and ability to also play center field, you can't loose him. With Izturis and D-Rob being switch hitters and Hannahan being a lefty, its hard to imagine really needing Paul.

With Corky Miller going down yesterday and Hanigan still not back yet I would imagine we will be seeing Nevin Ashley being called up from AAA Louisville. Ashley has shown he can wield a bat this season hitting 6 long balls and 12 doubles he might fit right in. There are only two scenarios where I could see him not being called up. One, Corky isn't hurt enough to go on the DL. Or two, the front office and Dusty were so impressed with AA Pensacola catcher Tucker Barnhart, that they would being him up. I see the latter as being the most unlikely of the three, although, I could see either catcher being a September call-up.

One of the greatest things about baseball is it's unpredictability. Anything can happen at any time. It could be interesting to note that 4 of the last 6 NL teams to win the World Series have had similar records to the Reds at this point in the season. Perhaps returning the veteran leadership of Ludwick and the rest of the troops is just that this team needs to put on an impressive run with the Pirates and the Cardinals that plays out to the last game of the season.

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