Do the Cincinnati Reds have a chance to do well in the postseason? Yes, because of the starting pitching.

Over the past seven days, the Reds faced the two best offenses in the National League, both postseason bound. Mat Latos and Homer Bailey each pitched two games and Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani threw the other three.

The ERA for the five starting pitchers in those seven games was 2.34. If you limit it to the four pitchers most likely to start in the postseason (exclude Cingrani’s start), the collective ERA drops to 2.21.

You’re probably wondering about the staff’s FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), since as we know, that’s a better measure of how the pitchers actually performed. The starters’ FIP this week was 3.11 and 2.93 without Cingrani.

The strikeout-to-walk (K/BB) ratio of the starting pitchers for the week was a dazzling 38/6, or 6.33 and without Cingrani, 31/3 a ridiculous 10.33. Homer Bailey had 17 strikeouts and one walk in his 14 innings.

If the Reds can win either the NL Central or the coin-flip play-in Wild Card game, their starting pitching gives them a legitimate shot in any series.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 25 Comments

  1. Pitching is always the big neutralizer in any series.

    The Reds have as good a shot to win the whole thing as anyone.

    Both Bailey and Latos are #1s and will keep the game close. With those 2 pitching 4 games of any series, the chances of winning said series goes up.

  2. I like the idea of good rotation pitching keeping it close.

    HOW-ev-er … it would be nice if that batting order could rack up a couple of runs in the first inning and play a little add-on. I always believed good pitching was a whole lot better with a 3-run lead.

  3. Great post. I notice you’re excluding Cingrani. Is that because you think he should be excluded, or that’s what you expect Dusty to do?

    I wonder if there is another Manager who would skip Cingrani in favor of both Leake and Arroyo. Yet I think most of us not only expect it, we’d be surprised if it turned out differently. If we get bounced out of the playoffs with a Leake or Arroyo start when Cingrani could have started, I don’t want to hear from the “Managers aren’t that important; the players have to execute” crowd.

    • @Eric the Red: I excluded Cingrani because that’s what I expect Baker/Price/Jocketty (not sure who makes this decision) to do. Right now, I’d probably choose Cingrani (power arm, lefty) over Mike Leake if a fourth pitcher was needed. But we’ll have to see how Cingrani does in September, he may tire out.

      If I was convinced Cingrani was the better starting pitcher, then I’d choose him. But I’m not sure Baker will see it that way. He may let Cingrani’s left-handededness become an argument for being in the bullpen. I’d rather have the better pitcher face 20-30 hitters in a game instead of 1-3.

      • @Steve Mancuso: In all honesty, do you think there are more than a handful of Managers–or brain trusts if you prefer to spread the blame–who WOULDN’T choose the power left hander over Leake? (I think I’d take him over Arroyo, too, although with Arroyo you’ve got experience and one of the great pitching brains of this generation.). This would once again be an example of the talent on the team overcoming the obstacles placed in front of them by their own side.

        I mean that question seriously: do you think there are other organizations where this would likely happen?

        • @Eric the Red: And don’t forget… Arroyo logged a gem last year in the playoffs. The only real issue with him is the consistency factor and whether or not you can live with waiting to find out which version is in the ball park. I’d say short of a major, major, surprise, he’s there and starting at least one game.

        • @Eric the Red: Leake has the advantage of postseason experience. As I mentioned before, we’ll have to keep an eye on Cingrani’s starts in September to see if he’s showing signs of dropping off from a long season. Leake has pitched pretty well for most of the year, including his last start against the Dodgers. If it were up to me, I’d lean toward Cingrani right now. But I don’t think going with the guy who has had the year Leake has is flat out crazy. Cingrani’s end to the season is the biggest variable for me.

          • @Steve Mancuso: If Cingrani gets shelled in his last few starts it might be a different situation. But if he doesn’t, I think choosing Leake would be nuts–especially if it’s against the Cardinals, a team that has struggled against LHP this year.

  4. I posted this a few threads ago, but this is the discussion that I wanted to have. Leake and Arroyo become my long man in the playoffs…Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani are my starters and here is my reasoning “missed bats” (I start Cueto and piggyback him):

    I do not care who we face in the playoffs. It matters more about us than any team we played as evidenced by the last 7 games played.

    Homer is an ace. I have been lobbying to trade Leake with his fast start. He is now coming back to the pack and is being exposed. I like him, but he should be a swing man next year if not traded.

    “I think having a lefty in the rotation is a very nice bonus. Looking back at history, not many teams have won a W.S. without a strong rotation leftie. I think only 3 in the last 50 years.”

    Could not agree more. Who is helping the Reds more in 2013, Chapman or Cingrani?

    I am sorry but we could win this thing without Chapman closing. He is nice but as we just saw, he pitched once in 10-12 days during a time when we needed our best players on the field.

    Cingrani is a leader who has carried this team. Chapman can be that too but not in his current role. He did have a great week last week though (his first time pitching that many days in a row at that high of a level).

    Cueto, Latos, Bailey, Cingrani and Chapman is a lethal rotation with Leake as the swing man to Piggy back those guys. Leake has a very bad time the third time through a lineup, where too many days he does not miss bats. All five of those other guys miss bats.

    • @reaganspad: You gotta like that rotation for next year…..and it will be a necessity because you have to figure our offense will be slightly worse after losing Choo. Thrilly Hamilton will take his lumps as a rookie, so the only reasonable replacement for Choo’s offense would potentially come from Mesoraco.

      I love that Cingrani removed any doubt this season that a 2 pitch guy can succeed as a starter, and yet I’m still doubtful the Reds will do right by Chapman. Start him or trade him.

      While I’d like to dangle Leake, I don’t see how we can given the lack of rotational depth. Heard an amazing stat last week—50% of all starting pitchers spend time on the DL in a season. We’ve been extremely fortunate, but the law of averages catches up with you eventually.

  5. Really, neither Arroyo or Leake should start a game. The NLDS is scheduled for Thursday, Friday, Off, Sunday, Monday, Off, and Wednesday.

    If the Reds win the division, I would go Latos, Bailey, Cueto/Cingrani, Latos (short rest), and Bailey.

    If they have to play in the wildcard game (on Tuesday) and Latos starts that, then you could go Bailey, Cueto/Cingrani, Latos, Bailey (short rest), Cueto/Cingrani.

    I really just can’t see the Reds pitching either Latos or Bailey on short rest over giving Bronson a start though.

    I also like the idea of starting Cueto and then giving the ball to Cingrani. Getting 4 IP out of each of them seems like a really great way to get to Chapman. Again, I have trouble believing the Reds would actually do something like that.

    • I also like the idea of starting Cueto and then giving the ball to Cingrani.

      I’d buy that subscription.

  6. Thinking more about the postseason pitching roster, this is what I have.

    These are the pitchers I think are locks: Latos, Bailey, Chapman, Lecure, Hoover, and Parra. That’s 6 guys for 11 spots.

    That leaves: Cueto, Arroyo, Leake, Cingrani, Marshall, Simon, Duke, Ondrusek, and a bunch of guys who have no chance. So 8 guys for 6 spots. And I think we can probably cut Ondrusek right off the bat. So, one of the other guys isn’t going to make the roster.

    Cueto and Marshall’s injuries become the biggest question marks. If Marshall comes back, I think Duke becomes expendable, and there’s your roster. If he doesn’t come back, the Duke is probably a lock as well to give Dusty another lefty option.

    Cingrani has shown he can be effective in the bullpen, so that’s where I’d expect him. What they do with Cueto will be very interesting. As far as I know, he’s never come out of the bullpen, so I have trouble imagining they’ll put him there in the playoffs.

    Here’s my best guess:



    • @al: Arroyo isn’t a lock on the playoff roster? Seriously?

      Cueto hasn’t pitched. Until he does, I won’t pencil him in on anything.

      • @Johnu1: No, you’re right, I should have put him on as a lock. When I was writing that post I was thinking about locks for the rotation and locks for the pen, and I accidentally left him off because I’m not sure where he’ll be.

        Cingrani would be in the same category I think. I don’t know whether he’ll start or relieve, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll be in.

        The real question marks are Cueto, Marshall, Leake, Simon, Duke. I think that if Cueto and Marshall are ready, Duke and Simon will miss out.

        • @al: Duke would be redundant if Marshall can pitch. He probably knows that. I have a hard time seeing how anybody beats out Leake. Cingrani is intriguing as a rotation lefty. That is just such a premium as to make it a no-brainer.

  7. I think it’s WAY premature to pencil Cueto into any role in the postseason, let alone starting. He hasn’t pitched for months and likely isn’t going to pitch much at all the rest of the way. He’ll be rusty at best. I’m extremely skeptical of whether he can help the team at all, even if he stays healthy (which is a huge IF).

    • @Steve Mancuso: His health is definitely an issue, but it seemed like things were going well yesterday, so I’m working on the assumption that he’ll be back in a week or two.

      If you take it as a given that he’ll be back this season (which he might not be) I have a very hard time imagining this Reds team with this manager, not letting him start.

    • @Steve Mancuso: The only question about Cueto, to me, is if he will be effective IF he indeed has scrapped the Tiant twist. It’s one thing to throw in the bullpen, still another to get people out.

  8. I can only hope and pray that management keeps Ondru off the postseason pitching roster. Somehow, deep down, I kind of know Logan will be pitching in a meaningful October game. Sadly.

    • @tpteach: I think this time it will happen. The Reds pitching depth is too great, and the staff too small in the postseason, to let him pitch.

      Simon will be the more interesting question I think. If Leake gets bumped from the rotation, they might move Leake to the pen to be the long man. But Simon has earned a lot of respect in the Reds view being the long man for two years, and they may want someone more familiar with the bullpen role.

  9. I think the only question is, depending on whether the team looks like a wild card lock or is in position to win it … clearly the rotation can’t be tinkered with if it comes down to the last few days, which seems likely.

    After that, it’s a matter of who we would play, where and what THAT TEAM’s rotation is looking like.

    So then, do you go with 11 pitchers, and add Hamilton … or do you use the same bullpen that got you there?

    Leake was left off the roster last year, added when JC got hurt. So there’s no real reason to expect something like that won’t happen again.

    Cingrani will make the roster, I have every confidence. Marshall probably won’t unless Parra lays an egg on out.

    • @Johnu1: I don’t think they’ll keep Duke if Marshall is ready. Dusty will definitely want two non-Chapman lefties though.

  10. Question:

    How does the one-game playoff fit into the roster. Can the Reds (if they have to play that game) formulate a roster just for that team on that day, and reformulate for the next series?

    Which brings me to my main question: does the opponent affect which players you’d want on the postseason roster?

Comments are closed.

About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


2013 Postseason, 2013 Reds, Reds - General


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