With only one more series left in what has been the best Reds season since 1995, it’s time to turn our attention to the postseason. It sure is nice to type those words.
It’s looking like barring some kind of miraculous collapse by the Giants, the Reds are going to open the 2010 MLB Playoffs in Philadelphia. Which means the Reds and their fans can hang their heads and complain that they have to play the hottest team in baseball. Or they (and we as fans) can relish the opportunity to take out the reigning National League champions in the first round.
In order to do that the Reds are going to need to have a solid starting rotation to go along with their potent offense.
Bronson Arroyo will probably be the Reds starter for Game 1 which will be in Philadelphia. After all Arroyo is 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA and is obviously the only veteran in the starting rotation. Interestingly enough, Arroyo hasn’t faced the Phillies this year despite the fact that the two teams have met seven times during the regular season.
Then starting Game 2 will probably be Johnny Cueto. He’s arguably been the best pitcher for the Reds this season posting a 3.64 ERA. In his two starts against the Phillies this season (home and away) Cueto has combined to pitch 15 innings, allowing just two earned runs on 10 hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Then comes Game 3 in Cincinnati. This is the game that I believe Travis Wood will start for the Reds. Although a rookie who hasn’t even been with the big league club the entire season, Wood has looked unflappable while posting a 3.46 ERA. Plus, as some of you may recall, Wood was three outs away from pitching a perfect game in Philly. Wood finished that game (which the Reds lost 1-0 in 11 innings) pitching nine innings of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts.
So that leaves us with who will be the fourth “starter” for the playoffs. With the NLDS being a short series, a fourth “starter” may not even be needed so he is the guy who can come out of the bullpen if necessary the very second it looks like one of the starters doesn’t have their A-game. Assuming all the regular starters pitch well and the series extends to a Game 4, said fourth “starter” will get the start.
At this point I truly think it’s a toss up between Homer Bailey and Edinson Volquez but if I had to make a decision I’d go with Voltron. He’s (more of) a veteran and he’s had an unbelievable September. In his last four starts he has posted a 1.95 ERA while striking out 31 in 27.2 innings pitched.
Now that I’ve typed those things out I think there is no doubt that Volquez should be the fourth starter and Bailey should be the long guy ready out of the bullpen should any of the starters look “off” early in the game.
Now that we’ve got that settled, it sure would be nice if the Reds pulled out a miracle, coupled with a Giants collapse, and claimed the number two seed to ensure home field advantage for the NLDS.
Either way, it’s October 1 and the Reds are relevant for the first time in over a decade; enjoy it.