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Game 144: Reds @ Rockies

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Cincinnati Reds
@ Colorado Rockies

Friday, Sep 9, 2011, 8:40 PM EDT
Coors Field

Homer Bailey vs Jhoulys Chacin

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 65.

MLB Media Center | Gameday

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Good word to describe the season: GROSS. Game 144 sees the Reds 14 games back, playing at 8:40 eastern on a Friday. Ratings for this one are at serious risk of default.

After two heartbreakers in Chicago, it's starting to seem like knife-twisting will define the tail-end of the season. That seems an odd statement to make with the Reds destined to finish dead-middle of the pack in the NL, but if run differential isn't reflected in their win percentage, neither is the season-long frustration. But neither, again, are the stock values of some of the Reds younger players. Yonder Alonso is still working on an absurd slash line (.407/.470/.678 in 66 PAs). Mike Leake, after stumblingin late 2010 and early 2011, is pitching like a rotational rock at the end of his second season in professional baseball. Devin Mesoraco appears to be adjusting to crouching at the big league level (his bat will follow), while Todd Frazier is almost certainly already league average at 3B (though he's only made two September starts) - something that carries a lot of value for the Reds. I'm mostly encouraged by the showing by the September call-ups, even if there are some lagging indicators.

With depth at catcher and - I'll see how this sounds - third base, I keep coming back to the Big Two: LF and SP. Shortstop is another question mark, but the choice is more stark: Zach Cozart or one of several seemingly-unattainable NL names including Jose Reyes. Left field is still totally confusing. So is the future of Homer Bailey and his fellow high-ceiling starters (hopefully) Volquez and Chapman. Maybe it's a stretch to label Volquez or Bailey "high ceiling" at this stage in their careers, especially since tonight's Reds starter has put up an 86 ERA+ this season, right in line with his 84 ERA+ complied over 410 big league innings. But who else within the organization is going to answer that call?

My two burning questions and top hot stove priorities over the last 18 game chapter: Will Yonder Alonso stay in the conversation as a starting LF for 2012? And will Homer Bailey (or someone else) show the beginnings of a push to become something like a #2 starter? The front office outlook for next season on these two fronts should shape the offseason.

Go Reds.


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Homer Bailey 7-7 19 18 0 0 0 0 106.1 109 57 54 14 26 79 4.57 1.27


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Jhoulys Chacin 11-10 29 27 2 1 0 0 170.0 141 73 68 19 78 139 3.60 1.29

LINEUP:

Phillips 2B
Sappelt LF
Votto 1B
Bruce RF
Francisco 3B
Stubbs CF
Hanigan C
Janish SS
Bailey RHP

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