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Queen City Bolsheviks Seize Machinery of the [NL Central]

[ 28 ] September 23, 2012 |

DJW and I stood witness to the Reds capture of the NL Central last night. As I wrote in March:

The Reds should be viewed as prohibitive favorites in the NL Central…

Ryan Ludwick is an impressive acquisition; there is every reason to expect 25+ home run power…

Once Baker settles Aroldis Chapman into the closer role, the bullpen should be the best in the National League…

With what I expect to be a rejuvenated Bronson Arroyo solidifying the back half of the rotation, the Reds have no worries in the rotation…

It’s not enough to say that Joey Votto is great and be done with it; this team is good enough to win the division *without* Votto…

And if only I’d hit the “Publish” button, they’d be calling me a genius.

To be sure, I did think that the Reds would win the NL Central, and I’m not surprised that they won it going away.  I had much more confidence in the rotation than did Scott (although Arroyo’s season has been remarkable), and higher expectations for Cueto than seemed common at the time. I absolutely could not have imagined that they’d miss Votto for 48 games and go 31-17. We’ll see how things work out moving forward; with Cueto and Latos they have a pair of outstanding playoff starters, plus an excellent bullpen.  Perhaps most importantly, there is no longer a temptation to start Edison Volquez in the first game of the division series…

Comments (28)

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  1. Fighting Words says:

    Go Giants!!! Go A’s!!!

    I am happy that the San Francisco Giants clinched last night. On the other hand, it looks like the Oakland A’s are going to make this a very tense last week of September.

  2. Marek says:

    I always liked Bronson Arroyo as a pitcher. I was glad when he left Boston, and sorry that the Yanks never picked him up.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

      I was bummed when the Sox got rid of Arroyo. He never dominated on the level of Pedro, Beckett etc., but he was (for the most part) a pretty dependable pitcher who seemed like a good guy. I’m very happy that he avoided pinstripes.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      Yeah, I was also hoping that the Yanks would pick up Arroyo somewhere along the road.

      He’s not a very spectacular pitcher, but he’s a very solid one.

      I’m very happy for the Reds.

      Normally, I’d root for someone like the Nationals to play the Yankees in the WS (not that they’re a mortal lock to make it) – but today, that odious toad, Disco Dancin’ Dave Gregory held up their cap on his show, so now I’m hoping they get swept in the first round.

      • Uncle Ebeneezer says:

        Well one good thing about the Yanks failing to get Arroyo (from a NY-fan perspective) is that you didn’t have to endure regular YES segments showing his crappy band.

      • BobS says:

        My worst nightmare when baseball returned to DC- George Will wrecking October for me.

        • c u n d gulag says:

          Oy!!!
          His book, “Men At Work,” was the worst feckin’ Baseball book ever written!

          Saying it was inane and insipid, is to compliment it.

          I think a bio of Mario Mendoza would blow that piece of shite away!!!

  3. Woodrowfan says:

    so, what’s the likely breakdown of the NL playoffs? Atlanta is 5-1 vs St. Louis this year. I’m thinking Atlanta beats St.Louis for the Wild Card, but then loses to the Nats in the NLDS. Reds and SF are a fairly even match, slight edge to the Reds, but the Giants get home field first.

    So Reds vs Nats for the NLCS? I gotta say, as a Reds fan only 2 NL teams worry me, the Phils and the Nats, and the Phils likely won’t be there this year.

  4. Jonas says:

    1 start by someone outside the 5 man rotation? That’s pretty amazing.

  5. Sherm says:

    The only problem I see is that Cueto appears to be tiring and Chapman’s arm is a question mark right now.

  6. JRoth says:

    This may sound like sour grapes coming from a Pirates fan, but:

    surely the Votto situation strikes a blow against the entire WAR project? I’m not even being snarky – I use WAR all the time – but if ever a team should have lost a win or two, it was in the absence of Votto. Instead they performed better than they did with him in place.

    • NBarnes says:

      Small sample size. There’s a bunch of people on that team that played out of their minds while Votto was out; does anybody believe that this represents Arroyo’s true talent level? It’s not that the wins don’t count, but that their predictive value aren’t what some people are going to think they are. The Reds are simply not a team that you can count on to go forward as if they were a 31-17 true talent team all along.

    • djw says:

      Not sure what you’re getting at.

      WAR is nothing more than a way of quantifying what should in many cases (like Votto’s) be obvious–he’s a really good player. The team being better with Votto out wouldn’t be a blow to “the WAR project” without also being a blow to the idea that Votto is a good player.

      The obvious alternative interpretation is to recognize that actual outcomes contain a significant degree of random variation, and in any given baseball season a large number of improbable things occur. The Reds compiling a better record during Votto’s absence is merely one of those things. Nothing in the claims made on behalf of WAR (and other WAR-like statistics) denies the existence of this sort of variation in outcomes.

      • JRoth says:

        Oh, obviously – Small Sample Size and all that. But they ran the actual experiment of replacing Votto with someone much, much closer to Replacement, and they clearly didn’t actually have any fewer wins (unless you want to argue that they would have won 33 or 34 games if only they’d had Votto).

        Mostly my point was that the name of the stat has a very literal implication that wasn’t borne out. Just like a player could go, I dunno, 3-3 with a double and 2 walks, and his Runs Created would surely be above 1.0, yet there’s no guarantee his team scores at all. What’s shocking about the Votto situation was that it would be like a player doing that for a week and never creating any actual runs – the Reds went almost 1/3 of the season without a guy who produces an extra win* every 18 games or so, but didn’t give up any discernible losses in that stretch.

        * I realize their replacement 1B wasn’t a true replacement level player

  7. Scott Lemieux says:

    Picking Miami for the NL wildcard was certainly prescient!

    • Timb says:

      I’ve been abusing you in the comments since June. As I wrote in April, the Arroyo/Bailey/Leake combo was the fine back of a rotation. Yay for me.

      I told a co-worker Reds fan when Joey went down, the Reds would be fine, since they are now built on pitching and defense. I didn’t mean 31-14, but still…

  8. wengler says:

    I’m just waiting for the ‘This Week in Scab Refs’ post because at the end of the 49ers-Vikes game there were a couple really doozies.

  9. Charles Giacometti says:

    Just think how much better the Reds would be doing if they had Mike Cameron.

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