Cincinnati Reds Owe Much of Their Recent Success to the Chicago Cubs

By Robb Hoff
Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, NL Central
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If the Cincinnati Reds could face the hapless Chicago Cubs every game, they would have the best record in baseball every year.

Even when the Reds make a bad decision like they did Tuesday in spot-starting an unprepared and talent-challenged minor-leaguer like David Holmberg in the nightcap of a twinbill against the Cubs, the Reds are still the vastly superior team overall.

And it shows much more often than not.

Since 2010, the Reds have dominated the most recent version of the Lovable Losers to a tune of 56-23 for a .709 winning percentage, which would translate to a 115-47 record over the course of an entire year if the Reds could only face the Cubs every game.

The trend won’t last forever. Sooner or later the Cubs will be flush in mega-market payroll again. Cubs’ ownership under the Ricketts’ family will eventually throw big money around the way Cubs’ teams of the recent past did with huge contracts for the likes of Carlos Zambrano, Alfonso Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome.

Sooner or later, the Cubs’ desperate rebuilding attempt under the Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer regime are bound to produce a couple of prospects who pan out as well or better than Starling Castro or Anthony Rizzo and make Cubs fans forget the likes of Darwin Barney and Josh Vitters.

And the Reds will at some point revert to their small-market norm.

The Reds haven’t fully capitalized on their small-market window to win, which will start to shut in earnest after the 2015 season when the bulk of their current starting rotation — Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon — are most likely all on their way to free agency and the greener pastures of bigger payrolls.

But until then, the Reds remain a superior team to the Cubs, who might as well stitch baby harp seal logos over their cub emblems whenever they have to face the Reds because more likely than not, a beating is about to ensue.

The Reds have produced winning seasons in 2010, 2012, 2013 and so far in 2014, including two NL Central titles, but have collapsed in the postseason. They may not be able to put enough together over the next two years to fare any better in October than they have since 2010, but the team at least still has a chance to produce an unforgettable season before it’s too late.

Unlike the Cubs.

The Cubs and their fans will have to wait their turn until the tables finally turn and the norm for the Reds is more like Holmberg, who put the Reds in a 5-0 hole Tuesday night and less like Cy Young Award candidate Cueto, who won the opener of the doubleheader against the Cubs.

Robb Hoff is a Cincinnati Reds writer for Follow him on Twitter @NFLNostradamus, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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