The Cincinnati Reds have been one of the National League's top run-producing teams the past couple years. This year they started off like they were poured out of a molasses jar.
Scott Rolen cracked his first home run last night as the Reds extended their win streak to three games and clinched their third series win of the young campaign. The win also pulled the Reds 2.5 games back in the NL Central Division.
Some significant highlights have taken place recently that should serve notice to the rest of the league.
Mat Latos is actually as good as advertised. As his harshest critic, I believe I see the light.
In his last performance in the series opener against the San Francisco Giants, he went seven strong innings of shutout baseball allowing only four hits and two walks.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, "He will be working the rest of the month to get his ERA down below five." That is a true statement but he is well on his way as his ERA dropped about 2.5 runs in the one game.
Ryan Ludwick is turning out to be a good acquisition. He leads the team with three HR and 10 RBI. His upper-deck blast on Tuesday chased starter Matt Cain and opened the door for the Reds' winning rally.
Bronson Arroyo is not over the hill as many had irreverently proclaimed. In his last three starts, his ERA is an eye-popping 1.71 and his WHIP is 0.936.
Aroldis Chapman has developed into a feared pitcher. You can almost see the dread on the batter's faces when he takes the mound. The burning question in all fan's minds is whether he will remain a setup man or become a starter.
If the latter were true he would have to knock Mike Leake out as he has become the least effective member of the starting rotation.
Drew Stubbs actually looks as though he has become a MLB player. His strikeouts are down and he has started to prove his worth.
Sean Marshall showed that the loss of Ryan Madson is not a season killer. He has saved four games in four attempts.
The three-game win streak is second in the National League only to the astounding Washington Nationals, who have won four straight and stand alone atop the NL East Division.