Reds well positioned to steal NL Central
CINCINNATI -- The Reds have been in third place in the National League Central since June 21, and so it's deceptively easy to assume that's where they'll wind up.
But to harp on the standings is to ignore that the Reds posted the best record of the three Central contenders in August. And a couple of noteworthy developments in recent days might encourage you to give the Reds, currently three back of the Pirates and 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals, a good, hard look as -- dare I say -- the favorite to win this division.
Leake has allowed 6, 5, 4, 4, 1, 7 runs last 6 starts, had allowed 4 runs or more just once in previous 14 starts and just four times previous 21 starts.
*Leake 1st 21 starts: 2.59 ERA, .250 BAA
*Leake last 6 starts: 7.22 ERA, .312 BAA
Wide-open race for NL MVP
So, Yadier Molina or Andrew McCutchen or Paul Goldschmidt or Clayton Kershaw or Joey Votto (but not Brandon Phillips and his .737 OPS) or Freddie Freeman could win the award, and nobody can really complain. The topic makes for an excellent debate.
Reds must keep Choo
Pete Muehlenkamp, Get Sports Info
In the meantime, let’s call Boras and get Billy Hamilton ready to be a utility player in Winter Ball. Specifically, give him time at shortstop, third base and outfield. Manager Dusty Baker hates playing his guys in different positions, but why? Other teams do it successfully. Hamilton has the athletic tools and background to do it (he played shortstop until this year). Hamilton also needs to hit as much as possible because his .262/ .315/ 3.85 inspires no confidence that he will be on base to use those incredible wheels of his. Hopefully, we will see Hamilton at third base next year because that means Choo is in the Reds outfield next year.
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 05: Todd Frazier #21 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting a home run in the 3rd inning during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 5, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Final: Reds 6 Cards 2
*Nice recovery from Thursday night
*Biggest game of the year, replacing Wednesday night's, which replaced Tuesday night's
*Reds win a series from Cards
*Welcome back Tony Cingrani
*Manufacturing a run: Tony bunted for hit, stole second, went to third on wild pitch, scored on Phillips ground out.
*Homer Happy: Frazier 2, Choo 1, Bruce 1
*Will BP play tonight? He suffered a contusion in his left quad
*Tonight: Mike Leake (11-6) faces LHP Chris Capuano (4-7)
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CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 05: Tony Cingrani #52 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on September 5, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)