MLB Spring Training 2012: For Cincinnati Reds, It's All About the Pitching

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIMarch 20, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ - MARCH 14:  Pitcher Bronson Arroyo #61 of the Cincinnati Reds  runs from the bullpen to the dugout during a spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Goodyear Ballpark on March 14, 2012 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds' starting pitching rotation has started to become a powerful force in spring training putting up strong, solid numbers together.

Bronson Arroyo, Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto dominated that last three games together with a combined  1.50 ERA and two earned runs over 12 innings.

Arroyo pitched four innings on Saturday giving up one run and four hits, had no walks and struck out two batters.

Cueto has earned the top spot as the No. 1 pitcher in the starting rotation for the 2012 season. Suffering an injury early in the 2011 season, he appears to be strong and healthy in spring training.

The Reds have had a very successful spring training so far, and the ballclub looks solid. Arroyo said that when the starting pitchers get racked around, it puts the Cincinnati organization in a bad mood. When the pitchers are successful, it makes the organization feel comfortable and boosts the team's morale.

Manager Dusty Baker said that starting pitching is the key. When the team hasn't played well in a game, starting pitching hasn't performed well. Baker doesn't see that as a coincidence.

Before the game on Saturday, Baker said, "It's no secret. That's where it starts. These guys are coming around. Keep remembering it's how you finish, not how you start."

Any team's success depends upon the collective contributions of the entire team. As important and as valuable as each player is, the team's success begins and ends with pitching.

The Reds appear to have a strong starting pitching rotation, and the bullpen should deliver solid support.

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