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Bright Spots for the Reds – Needle in a Haystack

The MLB season is less than a month old, and the Cincinnati Reds are doing something they usually reserve for after the All-Star break – disappoint.  It is still early in the season, but it won’t be early forever.  The bats seem to have holes in them, and their pitching has been spotty at best.  Throw into the mix that Edinson Volquez was recently slapped with a 50 game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, and a lot of fans are losing enthusiasm after only a few weeks.

Volquez’s suspension, though, will be entirely served on the DL, having no effect on his playing time with the club.  I will admit that I am a madman, having been a Reds fan since I was a child with an absurd hope, no matter what the current win-loss record.  That being said, Volquez’s suspension should be served after he is healthy enough to play.  He will lose somewhere around $120,000, but does the suspension really matter if he wouldn’t be playing anyway?

Let’s move on to players that are actually playing.  The Reds have been bad.  There’s no way around it.   Sure their bats aren’t producing, but I truly feel that this is something that will come around.  They have some decent batters who just aren’t producing.  It seems like Jay Bruce is coming around after batting around .160 for the first two weeks.  His last couple games have been promising.  Votto has been almost mediocre, and he will improve soon.  Stubbs has been one of the worst leadoff batters I’ve seen.  He has looked at far too many 3rd strikes for a leadoff batter.  That said, I think they will improve; hopefully sooner than later.

The scariest part of the first couple weeks has been the starting pitching.  I’m almost positive that Aaron Harang will never come out of his two-plus year slump.  He is only the “ace” to warrant paying him $14.5 million this season.  Cueto has been good, but not good enough to get a win.  The brightest spot on the starting rotation has been Bronson Arroyo.  If you take away a couple of bad innings, he has been stellar.  The only problem is that those few innings in which he hasn’t been stellar, he has been terrible.  He has gone from Cy Young candidate to little leaguer in one inning.

Homer Bailey, who many hoped would come around this season, hasn’t shown much in his first couple outings.  He has had absolutely no control.  The surprising Reds fifth starter, Mike Leake, has done quite well, considering his journey straight to the big leagues from college.  When it’s all said and done, the Reds starters have yet to chalk up a win, which is disconcerting to Reds fans.  There is still hope, though.

It’s still early, Reds fans.  It won't be “early” forever, though.

-Mike Zimmerman

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