The Reds must win out in order to avoid being losers. Any loss over these remaining five games guarantees a losing record for 2011. How much does this matter, beyond the symbolic? GM Walt Jocketty is now signed through 2014. On September 14, owner Bob Castellini told John Fay that "of course" Dusty Baker would be back next year, while Walt went on WLW last night after his re-signing and confirmed that the entire coaching staff would be back next year. Castellini seems to put a pretty high value on continuity - or at least the brass has earned his imprimatur after the 2010 season. So for at least through early-going in 2012, there won't be a shakeup. But how much patience will there be for the coaching staff in Dusty's walk-year if, assuming the Reds don't go 5-0 for the rest of 2011, they look to be headed down the path to a fourth losing season in five years with Baker at the helm?
Let's check in with our Cold Comfort Year-End Milestones (brought to you by Cold Comfort Creamery and the Gift Certificate Industry Advisory Council of N. America):
- Joey Votto is one RBI away from 100 and two HRs away from 30.
- Brandon Phillips is currently hitting .298. If he hits a touch above .333 the rest of the way (7-20, for example), he'll end up with a .300 average. If he keeps up his YTD pace - reaching base in, say, 9 of 24 PAs - he'll end up with an OBP just over .350. He's 2 HRs away from 20.
- Jay Bruce remains one HR away from 100 in his career and 6 RBI away from 100 on the season
- Drew Stubbs stole his 39th and 40th bases last night (and 80th of his career), making him the first 40 SB Red since '97
Where does Travis Wood fit into the picture for next season? At 24, he's the second-youngest (to Mike Leake) of the 10 pitchers to make starts this year for the Reds. He's only 14 months removed from a near-perfect game against the Phillies and a little less than a year removed from 3.1 very convincing shut-out innings against the same team in the 2010 playoffs. He spent a good portion of the second-half re-tooling in AAA and then just kinda hanging around in the bullpen with the Reds. Tonight will be his second proper major league start since June and his last of 2011.
While Wood sophomore-slumped through the first half of the season, he hasn't given up an earned run in either of his two call-ups since August (in admittedly very limited use: just 11 IP). With a Willis and Maloney fallen on hard times, he's certainly the leading southpaw starter again (if he ever even lost that distinction), at least until Chapman exits the bullpen stage left. With the 5th-most innings among Reds' pitchers and fourth-lowest ERA among starters, Wood has a strong claim to a rotation spot next season, especially if he can whittle down his ERA a little more today.
Lineups after the jump.
|2011 - Travis Wood||6-5||21||17||0||0||0||0||103.1||111||53||53||10||38||74||4.42||1.44|
|2011 - Brad Lincoln||1-4||12||7||0||0||0||0||42.2||48||25||23||4||12||25||4.85||1.41|
Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
Alex Presley (L) LF
SBNation's Pirates blog is Bucs Dugout