Cincinnati Reds Take 1st Game from Pirates, Extend Division Lead to 4.5 Games
In case you missed it, the Reds are on fire right now. After tonight's 3-0 victory over the Pirates, Cincinnati is 65-41 on the year and 4.5 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.
The Reds are an impressive 14-3 since Votto went down, and have a series record of 4-0-1 within within that span.
They've gone a major league best 18-3 since the All-Star break and now sit atop the MLB with the best record in baseball.
According to Reds beat writer John Fay, the last time the Reds were this far over .500 was during the 1999 season when they took on the Mets in a one-game playoff for the National League Wild Card.
To sum up this section, the Reds are on pace for one of the all-time great seasons in team history (At 65-41, Cincinnati is on pace to win 99 games.)
The last Reds team to reach the 99-win mark was the 1976 squad that went 102-60 and later went on to win the World Series.
People left the Reds for dead when Votto went down, yet many players have stepped up in key situations in his absence.
Most notably, Ryan Ludwick, Drew Stubbs, Brandon Phillips and Scott Rolen have put the team on their back offensively over this 17-game stretch.
Take a look at the numbers these four are posting with Votto out:
- Stubbs: .328/.397/.563/.960, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 18 runs, 6 steals
- Rolen: .320/.417/.540/.957, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 6 runs
- Ludwick: .358/.424/.792/1.216, 6 HR, 20 RBI, 10 runs
- Phillips: .339/.431/.589/1.020, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 11 runs, 3 steals
The Reds' pitching staff has also come through since Votto's surgery.
During this stretch, Reds starters have gone 12-3 with a 4.15 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 106.2 innings pitched.
The ERA and WHIP aren't very impressive; however, those two statistics include Bronson Arroyo's most recent four-run start, Johnny Cueto's back-to-back four-run starts, Mike Leake's most recent five-run start and Homer Bailey's last start of six earned runs.
Without these five starts, the Reds' starting rotation has a 2.67 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP.
Even with those five poor outings, the Reds went 4-1. This shows how well the Reds' offense and bullpen have been performing lately.
Speaking of the bullpen, it's arguably the best in baseball.
Over the Reds' 17-game stretch, the Reds bullpen has an ERA of 1.93 and a 1.16 WHIP
Aroldis Chapman has been, by far, the most impressive member of the Reds' bullpen over the last 17 games. Chapman has earned a save in 10 of the 17 games Votto has been gone, and currently has an ERA of 0.00 with a 0.59 WHIP and 19 strikeouts over 10.1 innings pitched.
That's 19 strikeouts in 31 possible outs. Roughly 61 percent of Chapman's outs in his last 17 games have come via strikeout and he's walked only one batter.
The Reds couldn't be any hotter right now and with tonight's victory over the Pirates, they look to keep rolling and make it five in a row, and 15 of 18 without Joey Votto.
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