The odds of the Cincinnati Reds making the playoffs this season is great – right at about 98%. So I think it is a fine time to bring up the starting rotation that the Reds should use in a playoff series.
The Reds have used only 5 starters this season (yes, I know that Todd Redmond pitched one game during a double header, but I’m not going to count that). Those starters used are Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey.
I believe that Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker will go with a 3-man rotation, at least in the first series. So I thought it would be fun to discuss who would make up that 3-man rotation.
First off, of course, would be the ace of the Cincinnati Reds staff – Cueto. Cueto has had a very good, possible Cy Young Award winning, season. He is the clear leader of the staff and boasts 16-6 record (#1 in the league) and an ERA of 2.47 (also #1 in the league). So, no duh here, he is your starting pitcher in the first game.
Secondly, you have to go with Mat Latos. Latos has improved as the season has progressed. Right now he stands at 10-4 with an ERA of 3.84 (in the month of August he is at 2.62). So, he is the second starter.
Next up, I’d go with the veteran, bulldog, Arroyo. Arroyo had a rough stretch during the middle part of the season, but he has been very reliable in the last month or so. He is 10-7 with an ERA of 3.87. More importantly, he has won 6 of his last 7 starts and allowed 3 or fewer runs in 5 of those starts. Yes he does seem to have the one inning in which he is tagged for 3 or so runs and he does give up too many homeruns, but you can count on 6 innings and 3 runs of work from the highkicking righthander.
The other two pitchers for the Cincinnati Reds, Leake and Bailey, are very inconsistent. I would not feel comfortable having them start any game in a series unless the Reds have a sizeable lead in the series. So to the bullpen, where they are hurting right now, go these two.
I believe that these three give the Cincinnati Reds the best opportunity to win in the playoffs.