Saturday, August 18, 2012

A historic streak ends today for the Cincinnati Reds rotation

Latos has been a key cog in what has been a
versatile, durable and potent rotation

Today likely marks the end of a rather impressive on-going streak for the starting rotation of the Reds. Entering Saturday, Cincinnati had used only five starting pitchers (Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey, Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake) for all 119 of their games this season, a modern franchise record. As of Saturday morning, they were the only team in Major League Baseball this year to have used just five pitchers in their rotation.

Outside of divine intervention, that run will end later on today when Todd Redmond, just called up from Triple-A Louisville, makes his season debut and becomes the sixth starting pitcher used by Dusty Baker and the Reds this year. The move to insert Redmond into a starter's role is a necessity caused by the team's doubleheader. One of the games is a makeup date from a rainout back on May 1st.

The previous modern franchise record had been held by the 1992 club that used the same five starting pitchers (Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, Tim Belcher, Greg Swindell, Chris Hammond) through its first 79 games until Keith Brown became the sixth on July 6th against, coincidentally, the Cubs.

Cincinnati's active 119-game streak is the longest such streak in overall franchise history since the 1898 staff (Still Bill Hill, Pink Hawley, Frank Dwyer, Bill Dammann, Ted Breitenstein) established the record by making every start through the first 147 games. The streak was snapped in game 148 when Percy Coleman made his one and only start of the 1898 campaign.

All in all, the fact that the Reds were able to use the same five guys all season long up until this point is an incredible feat indeed. A combination of good health, good performance, and great luck were all needed throughout the streak. My only worry is that the starting rotation may begin to wear down in September due to the heavy workload cast upon it. In a modern time when teams are more cautious than ever in protecting the arms and shoulders of their pitchers, *cough* Stephen Strasburg and Washington *cough*, I'm anxious to see how these five guys pitch down the stretch.

In case you were wondering, the last big league team to finish a season using only five starters were the 2003 Seattle Mariners. That '03 Mariners squad went 93-69 and finished second in the AL West Division, but missed the playoffs altogether. Odd enough, their pitching coach for that year was none other than Bryan Price, who is the current pitching coach of the Reds. It's a small world, isn't it?

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