Cincinnati Reds are Team to Beat in NL

9/1/12 in MLB   |   AJ_88   |   166 respect

A year removed from winning the NL Central crown, the Reds are back at it again this year. Dusty Baker has his team playing the best baseball in the league as they continue to reel off win after win. They currently sit at 81-52, good enough for best in the majors behind consistent pitching and timely hitting. The bullpen, led by closer Aroldis Chapman, has been lights out all season long. 

Johnny Cueto has inherited the role of team ace and has not missed a beat since. He is 17-6 with an ERA of 2.48, completely dominating the MLB and could end up with the NL Cy Young when all is said and done. behind him, Matt Latos, formerly of the San Diego Padres, has pitched very well as well posting an 11-4 record with a 3.84 ERA. 

Aug 18, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) during the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIREIt isn't common place to have two potential Cy Young candidates on one pitching staff, however, with the way Chapman has been pitching all season, he certainly has a shot at taking the honor home. With 33 saves on the season, Chapman has put himself into a category above all other closers in baseball. He has amassed 113 strikeouts in only 64 innings of work....The dude throws heat. Period. 

At the plate, the Reds were forced to sustain a high level of play without reigning NL MVP, Joey Votto as he took a stint to the DL midseason, and they didn't miss a beat. Ryan Ludwick (25 HR's) and Jay Bruce (28 HR's) picked up the power once Votto hit the DL and they have yet to slow down.  Brandon Phillips has epitomized consistency, batting .300 for the season with 142 hits, 29 doubles, 15 homeruns and 71 RBI. 

With a much improved bullpen and a pitching staff Dusty Baker can depend on, the Reds are the favorite to represent the NL in the World Series in October, especially as Votto begins to hit his stride. In 86 games this season, he is hitting .342 with 36 doubles, 14 homeruns and 49 RBI. 

A dangerous lineup and a lethal bullpen are recipes for success. The Cincinnati Reds possess both. 
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