It may still be a mystery as to when clean-up hitter Ryan Ludwick can return to the lineup from shoulder injury, but the Cincinnati Reds are still managing to get by decently thanks to pleasant surprises near the top of the starting lineup. It’s unfortunate that Ludwick had to go down on Opening Day, but offseason acquisition Shin-Soo Choo‘s corresponding emergence has made leadoff a bright spot that helps heat this lineup enough to get by.
The Reds now approach the quarter mark of the season at 19-16 — three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for first in the National League Central — and figure to only get better when their clean-up hitter in Ludwick and ace in Johnny Cueto return from injuries.
“If you look at the injuries we’ve had and the schedules — the opponents we’ve played, plus playing 20 consecutive days, some tough road trips — I am happy,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said, via Cincinnati.com. “We’ve had some games we probably could have won. We’ve won some games we probably shouldn’t have. It evens out. I think overall — losing Ludwick on Opening Day — really hurt our lineup and offense. I think we’ve adjusted. The pitching’s been pretty good for the most part. Once we get everyone back, I think we’ll get on a run again.”
The Reds currently sit a decent 11th in both runs scored and runs allowed per game, which basically reflects their 19-16 mark. However, key returns on both offense and defense figure to put this team back in their expected position of contending for the pennant in 2013.