We are now a little past the mid-point of the 2012 season and the Cincinnati Reds find themselves one game out of first place behind the red-hot Pittsburgh Pirates and a game-and-a-half ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Reds just finished a grueling 11 games in 11 days west coast stretch in which they went 6-5. Could or should have been 8-3, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
Now, we are beginning the second half of the season. It is time for my predictions concerning the Cincinnati Reds.
Let’s start with hitting.
Joey Votto – leads the team in average at .348 and hits at 100. He has been a doubles machine having blasted 35 so far this year. This is in addition to his 14 homeruns. Over the west coast trip he faultered a little at the plate. Look for him to be outstanding for the rest of the season and to end up the year above .350 and, very likely, another MVP to his credit.
Zack Cozart leads all rookies in extra base hits (32). Look for that trend to continue. As he gets more comfortable in the show, I look for him to improve the batting average and be more consistent. Right now he is .252. I expect Cozart to be a .270 hitter by season’s end and, very possibly, another Rookie of the Year award for the Cincinnati Reds.
Jay Bruce leads the Reds in RBI 56 and HR 18. He is struggling with the strike outs and is very streaky. I don’t expect him to be any more consistent than he is right now. However, look for Bruce to push the 40 homerun mark and around 120 RBI. Both of those would be very welcome numbers for the Cincinnati Reds.
Brandon Phillips is hitting at a higher average than he normally does at a .280 clip. Currently, Phillips has 10 homeruns. I expect him to be around 25 by seasons end. However, he must learn how to hit with RISP or the Cincinnati Reds will be in trouble.
The rest of the roster must also learn that lesson. The Cincinnati Reds are 11-24 when they do not hit a homerun. They just cannot move runners along very well. The homeruns will start to dry up as the postseason approaches, so to be successful then, they must learn to play small ball.
I expect that the Cincinnati Reds will do just that and finish the year, where I expected them to at the beginning of the season, in first place of the Central Division.
Enjoy the ride!