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First half awards, second half preview

July 14, 2010

For the Reds to remain in first place, Jonny Gomes will have to play above his career stats and recent slump.

It is nice to end the first half of the season talking about what it will take for our beloved Reds to stay in first place the rest of the season!  That hasn’t happened since 1999.  So what do the Reds have to do?

1. Pitching. Reds starters have been pretty solid so far this season… and surprising.  The kiddie crew of Mike Leake, Travis Wood, and Matt Maloney/Sam LeCure held their own and Aaron Harang and Bronson Arroyo have been solid veterans.  The Harangatang has already look much better than the past two seasons (not good enough to justify his salary, but good enough to keep around).

The Reds will need the bullpen to step up to stay in contention.  While Bill Bray, Logan Ondrusek, and Jordan Smith have been good since call-ups, the Reds need multiple vets to step up and take the lead (cough, Coco Cordero, cough, Nick Masset).

2. Hitting. Number one hitting team in the N.L.

That’s would have been a joke if you would have said it this spring, but the Reds have exceeded expectations at the plate.  All-Stars Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips have had exceptional years at the plate to go along with Jonny Gomes and All-Star Scott Rolen’s resurgence.  The key to the Reds continued success and the ability to avoid games like the last two before the break will be Gomes and Rolen’s abilities to maintain their first half numbers and to have Ryan Hannigan and Orlando Cabrera contribute.

3. Luck. The Reds have finished strong in recent years, always building hope that “next year is the year.”  Well this year is next year.  The St. Louis Alberts are having a down year of sorts and good teams take advantage of their opponents weaknesses.  With any luck we’ll be watching the 2010 N.L. Central Champions in the playoffs the first week of October.

First Half Awards

Joey Votto

MVP: Joey Votto. I actually struggled with this one.  Scott Rolen’s presence on the field and in the clubhouse has been so important, but this is Votto’s team.  Hard work, hustle, humility.  He is the man in Cincy.  Plus top-5 in most major hitting categories make him the MVP.

Cy Young: Arthur Rhodes. With out Arthur this team would not have the record it does.  33-straight scoreless innings, the best bullpen arm the Reds have.  A man that picked up where others didn’t.

Rookie-of-the-year: Mike Leake. Okay, it’s time to start the Mike Leake for R.O.Y. campaign.  Leake has been the

Mike Leake

ace of the Reds staff, period.

He’s 6-1, with a 3.53 ERA. If it weren’t for his last start in Philly it would be lower (can the manager be credited with a starters earned runs when he leaves a guy in too long?)

The only reason I didn’t give him the Cy too is that Rhodes has been just as valuable.  Can you imagine this team without Leake or Rhodes.  Ouch.

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