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MLB Mid Season Report Card: Part 2 – NL Central 1

Posted on July 15, 2010 by Don Spieles

Cincinnati Reds (49-41): A+

Cincinnati Reds Scott Rolen watches his three run home run clear the wall aghainst the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on June 1, 2010. Rolen hit two home runs in the game defeating St. Louis 9-8. UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

Scott Rolen had been born again in Cincinnati.

Very few people foresaw the possibility of the Reds sitting atop the NL Central at the All-Star Break. Though, as of today, their lead is a single, tenuous game, they have exceeded all realistic expectations.

Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, and Mike Leak have all posted winning records thus far, though in 53 combined starts the Reds top three have a combined 30 no-decisions, a testament to a mediocre bullpen. While has 24 saves, he also has 10 blown saves and a 4.40 ERA. The lone releif star is 40 year old Arthur Rhodes who is posting an awesome 1.54 ERA in his 41 appearances. He’s averaging about 6 strike outs per nine innings with a WHIP of .943. His appearance on the All-Star roster was the stuff of Hollywood, even though he did not make it onto the field.

Cincinnati’s offense is leading the NL in runs (437), hits (843), batting average (.272), slugging (.441), and OPS (.779). With the resugence of veteran Scott Rolen and outstanding first half work from Joey Votto (22 home runs, .314 average) a Reds squad in the post season is a real possibility. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Baseball Previews: NL Central – The Cardinal Rule? Hitting Needs Pitching 3

Posted on March 29, 2010 by Don Spieles

One week left to go!  As we head back across the Midwest for a preview of the NL Central, we examine the division that boasts the most teams and the potential for the most surprises.

1. St. Louis Cardinals

San Diego Padres vs St. Louis Cardinals

Holliday and Pujols will be featured in a lot of pitchers nightmares in 2010.

Arguably the two biggest moves this off season were for near-homonyms Roy Halliday and Matt Holliday. In face, the Holliday signing holds significance on several levels.  First of all, most of the talking heads agree that the Cards spent too much money and contracted too long with Holliday.  There is the added pressure that expenditure will make when Albert Pujols, arguably the best player in baseball, becomes a free agent after the 2011 season.  Most importantly, if Holliday has a season like his 2007 and like his time in St. Louis last season, the Cardinals taking the division is all but carved in stone.

On the mound,the Cards will look to continue and extend the success that they saw last season with Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright at the top of there rotation. Brad Penny, will try to continue the NL success that began when he was traded to the Giants last season and avoid the mediocrity that he displayed in Boston.  The Cardinals pen is not a weak spot by any means, but on a team with such positives elsewhere, the relief crew gets the worried man’s attention. The bottom line for St. Louis is that if you add up the big bats (Pujols, Holliday), big enough bats (Rassmuss, Ludwig), then factor in the very good rotation, the Cardinals will be almost impossible to topple. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rusty Staub: A Man For All Ages
      April 8, 2024 | 1:26 pm
      Rusty Staub

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is a former major league baseball player who came into the game as a teenager and stayed until he was in his 40s. In between, Rusty Staub put up a solid career that was primarily spent on expansion or rebuilding teams.

      Originally signed by the Colt .45s at age 17, he made his major league debut as a 19-year old rookie and became only the second player in the modern era to play in more than 150 games as a teenager.

      Though he hit only .224 splitting time between first base and rightfield, Staub did start building a foundation that would turn him into an All-Star by 1967 when he finished fifth in the league with a .333 batting average.

      Read more »

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