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.
|2011 - Homer Bailey||7-7||19||18||0||0||0||0||106.1||109||57||54||14||26||79||4.57||1.27|
|2011 - Jhoulys Chacin||11-10||29||27||2||1||0||0||170.0||141||73||68||19||78||139||3.60||1.29|
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