101 Ways to Win the NL Central. While it feels like the Reds keep landing back at Square One, they're at least heading down the 101 with a 1-0 record. That's wicked binary. Lost in all the perceived mediocrity is the fact that the team has been very convincing against NL Central competition, to the tune of a 23-13 record. I'm cautiously optimistic that any regression there would be offset by not playing .200 ball against the Pirates. This team can compete and win in its division. But non-division play will be the test, especially with an AL East-heavy inter-league schedule ahead. The Reds should take every opportunity to beat up on inferior teams before facing this next gauntlet.
Edinson Volquez returns to the big leagues today after a short-lived demotion to Louisville. I apologize if I've overlooked something, but I haven't seen the corresponding move as of this writing. It's difficult to say which Volquez we'll see for the rest of the season. One extreme is the starter who, saddled with the pressure of being tapped at #1 starter, responded in what appeared to be a mostly mental-mechanical breakdown and walked nearly 7 batters per 9 innings. The other, of course, is the superb 2008 incarnation. I'd suspect, for at least 2011, we're looking at something in the middle. But his two outings in Louisville suggest he's gotten some of his mojo woking again. If Volquez can stay at or below 4 BB/9 (much lower just isn't realistic), he can be a major boost to the rotation.
In other embattled Reds pitchers with ridiculous talent news, Chapman is back on rehab with AA Carolina.
Lineup after the jump.
|2011 - Edinson Volquez||3-2||11||10||0||0||0||0||51.0||47||38||36||9||38||53||6.35||1.67|
|2011 - Doug Davis||0-4||4||4||0||0||0||0||19.2||24||17||13||1||10||17||5.95||1.73|