The Cincinnati Reds are on the hunt — the playoff hunt, that is. As of Sept. 22, the Reds have an 86-67 record and a lead of eight games on the second-place St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central Division, and the Reds seem to be pulling away.
“I think they’ll make the playoffs,” said Chad Runyon, a science teacher at Fairmont and a major Reds fan. “I’m not sure if they’ll enter on a positive note, though.” The Reds have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games, while the Cardinals have gone 3-7. The Reds and the Cardinals are fighting for the No. 1 position in the Central Division. The Reds hope to hold off a run by the Cardinals by having a run of their own, but neither team has looked strong lately.
It seems as if the Reds and their young pitching staff and team will hold together. But League MVP contender Joey Votto will need to provide a huge push to help the team as they try finish their year and secure their first playoff spot since 1995. Some experts say the Reds could go all the way and win the World Series, but it’s all on the shoulders of a mostly young group of players.
Young pitchers bring the heat in September
September is usually the time when the weather begins to get cooler, but the young pitchers of Cincinnati are bringing the heat. The Reds have a total of seven pitchers with three or fewer years of experience. Four of those seven pitchers are rookies, including pitcher Aroldis Chapman, who was called up to the Major League on Aug. 31.
Chapman was a citizen of Cuba who defected from his national team when it was in the Netherlands for a tournament. He made his way to the United States, and the Reds signed him in January. Chapman was originally a starting pitcher, but the Reds have moved him to relief.
This 22-year-old has the special ability to throw over 100 mph, which has made him an even bigger story. He’s thrown at a high of 105 mph this year, which is near the fastest of all time. “I think he is exciting,” said Runyon. “I like what they’ve done with him, too. I think it’ll make him have a bigger impact.”
Joey Votto breaks out
Some Dayton baseball fans may remember Joey Votto from his time with the Dayton Dragons a few years back. Votto was a young player who seemed to have great potential, and he’s now living up to that potential and more. Votto, 26, is having a phenomenal season and is in the race for the National League’s Triple Crown. Baseball’s Triple Crown is when a player leads the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average. Votto is currently tied for second in home runs, second in batting average and third in RBIs, but he isn’t very far behind the leader in those catagories.
Votto is also in the running for the National League MVP award. “It’ll be a crime if he doesn’t win MVP,” said Runyon. “But he almost didn’t make the All-Star game, so there is a chance he won’t.”
Votto has also played an important role for the Reds this year by setting a good example for the young team. Despite his youth, Votto has been a shining example for all the players on that team, even the veterans. Along with his consistent competitive drive, he hustles and never gives up. Without Votto, the Reds might not even be in this playoff race right now.