Dusty Baker brings his troupe of smoke and mirror artists to the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati starting Tuesday evening.
I say "smoke and mirrors" because other than a stellar bullpen I have a hard time believing that this Cincinnati Reds club is 23 games above .500 and leading the NL Central by 5 games.
This Reds line up having been without the services of Joey Votto since July 16 (torn meniscus) has gotten remarkable production from the likes of St. Louis, San Diego and Pittsburgh castoff Ryan Ludwick(21/63/.266), Todd Frazier(14/48/.280) and steady contributions from Jay Bruce and the ever entertaining @DatDudeBP , Brandon Phillips.
Pitching (MLB 4th best staff ERA of 3.40) has been the one constant of this team with the starters getting a career year from previously inconsistent Johnny Cueto (15-6/2.45), a nice effort from newly acquired Matt Latos (10-3/3.81) and a quietly solid performance from Homer Bailey. The bullpen has been the absolute backbone of the staff with an immensely overpowering season provided by fireballing closer Aroldis Chapman (who has converted 28 of his 32 save opportunities, holding opposing hitters to a .188 batting average along with his 106 strikeouts in 57 innings of work) to compliment the steady relief efforts of "household" names like Jose Arredondo, Sam LeCure, Alfredo Simon, Logan Ondrusek, Sean Marshall along with the trade deadline addition of set up man Jonathan Broxton.
All that said let's hope the Mets can build upon Sunday night's win over Atlanta and bring some respectability back to Queens this week.
Meanwhile Jason Kubel brings his career year into St. Louis with the Arizona Diamondbacks to face a reeling Redbird team that has gotten very little bullpen support this season.
As Always LET'S GO METS !
& GO CARDS !!