Bronson Arroyo will start tonight for the Reds
which is probably the least surprising news you'll hear all week. He's (in)famously never missed a start. Despite the mono, the sore back, the carpal tunnel, and now a sore Achilles, and, of course, his plain ol' bad pitching so far this year, he'll take his turn in the rotation once again.
I"m afraid this is starting to look like the Eric Milton situation all over again. In Milton's first year of his regrettable three-year contract, he led the league in earned runs and home runs allowed with a 66 ERA+. This year, in Arroyo's first year of his hopefully-not-regrettable three-year contract, he's allowed the second-most earned runs thus far (87 to Brett Myers' 88) and the most home runs, with a 75 ERA+. In fact, after checking both pitcher's B-Ref pages, their career numbers are gallingly similar. I really hope we aren't witnessing a Milton-esque decline from Arroyo, and my gut-instinct is that he's been unlucky so far this year and he can still bounce back. But this Milton comparison is going to keep me up at night.
B-Ref Blog notes that if Johnny Cueto can maintain his ERA over the last month+ of the season
he will set the Reds franchise record for the live-ball era. After last night's gem, his ERA is down to a scintillating 1.89, which betters Dolf Luque's 1.93 in '23 and Gary Nolan's 1.99 in '72. As we all know, this franchise is not exactly known for it's pitching (these two are the only ones to record a sub-2 ERA in 1920), but it would still be quite a feat from the young fella.
Sheldon praises Cueto for another excellent effort
but points out that even though he leads the universe in ERA, there is a good possibility that he will not finish in the top five in Cy Young balloting. Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Tim Lincecum, Jair Jurrjens, and Ian Kennedy, just to name a few, are all having fantastic seasons in their own way. Dusty says "he’s definitely one of the elite pitchers," and he certainly is, but missing the first month of the season is going keep him from scoring any awards. Whatevs. Kid is still awesome.
Brandon Phillips is nothing if not confident
He sat down with Dusty Baker after Tuesday night's loss and laid it all on the table.
"I had a lot of things in my heart," Phillips said on Wednesday. "I just felt like that we have to have a spark at the top of the lineup. When he put me in the leadoff spot last year, I felt like I was the playmaker that kept us going. And we started winning when they put me in the leadoff spot. I could be myself. I could worry about being myself instead of worrying just about driving in runs hitting fourth. When I hit fourth, I am limited to a role and can't run or do a lot of things. I just talked to him man to man. He understood where I was coming from. I felt like it can't get worse. Let's try it and see what happens."
I don't feel like going back and fact-checking, but I'll take BeeP's word that the team started winning when he moved to lead-off. Thing is, it likely had very little to do with, or perhaps even it was in spite of, his move to lead-off. He got on base at a paltry .303 clip out of the #1 spot last year, which kinda stinks. His overall line this year is exactly what we've come to expect from the BeePer, as he's slashed .283/.330/.417. Hopefully he can keep that up as a lead-off man, as it would be an improvement over the aggregate so far this year. Reds' lead-off hitters have slashed .251/.323/.388.
Tim Dierkes takes stock of the potential Type A free agents this winter who could make for difficult decisions in arbitration
Two Reds make the list:
Ramon Hernandez, Reds: I think the Reds are safe here and Hernandez would decline an arbitration offer in search of multiyear security and a guaranteed deal.
Brandon Phillips, Reds: If the Reds decide to decline Phillips' $12MM club option, snag some picks, and move on, they'd have to consider the possibility of Phillips accepting arbitration and actually getting more than $12MM. I think the risk of the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins accepting arbitration is lower.
The scuttlebutt on Twitter last night was that the Diamondbacks asked about Edgar Renteria
but the Reds said he wasn't available. I think the Reds could land a Chase Weems/Kris Negron-type of prospect in such a deal, which is pretty much inconsequential, but I'm okay with keeping him. The whole point of signing him at the beginning of the year was that he provided depth. Without him, we probably would have seen 50-70 games of Miguel Cairo or Chris Valaika at SS this year. And even though Edgar has been bad (and he's been baaaad), he's mostly likely been better than what those guys would have done. We're talking Jeff Keppinger depths of SS malfeasance. And now that he's hurt and Zack Cozart isn't coming back, there is absolutely zero chance that he gets moved. And I'm okay with that.
Grant Brisbee isn't ready to ring the bell for the Cardinals yet
but man, this division race got out of hand really quick. In the past three weeks, the Brewers have won 19 of 21 and have amassed a seven game lead over the Cardinals. Remember when the Reds did the same thing in August of last year? That was awesome!
The trouble for the Cardinals is, this is probably their last chance. Lance Berkman, Edwin Jackson, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, and of course, Albert Pujols can be free agents after this season. They will try to re-sign Albert (and most likely will), but that probably means saying good bye to Berkman and probably even Carpenter. That's good news for our Reds.