Making Their Pitch

Published 12:13 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

CINCINNATI — The numbers don’t lie.

The Cincinnati Reds lead the National League Central Division by one game over the St. Louis Cardinals who were considered the favorites to win the division.

Looking at the numbers proves that the Reds’ first half performance is no fluke, and the biggest numbers that have helped put the Reds in a position to end a 9-year streak of losing records belong to the pitching staff.

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The starting pitching has been solid from numbers one to five regardless of who is in the rotation.

Bronson Arroyo is 9-4 with a 4.04 earned run average. He has just 41 walks in a team-high 120.1 innings or less than three a game.

Johnny Cueto is 8-2 with team-best 3.42 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 110.2 innings.

But the veterans aren’t the only ones performing well. The team’s three rookie pitchers have looked like veterans.

Mike Leake is 6-1 in 17 starts and should have more wins if not for breakdowns by the bullpen. Leake had a 3.53 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 39 walks in 109.2 innings.

Lefthander Travis Wood was called up to replace the injured Homer Bailey and has put together three strong games despite no decisions. He had a perfect game in his last outing before giving up a leadoff single to start the bottom of the ninth inning against the Phillies.

However, the Reds didn’t score a run and Wood left with a scoreless tie. The Reds lost in extra innings.

Matt Maloney was called up when Aaron Harang went on the disabled list. Maloney is 0-2 but he has a 3.09 ERA in 11.2 innings.

In the bullpen, Francisco Cordero leads the league with 24 saves and 40-year-old Arthur Rhodes had 15 holds. His first half 1.54 ERA in 35 innings earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

While pitching has been the Reds’ stronghold, the offense and defense have held up their end of the bargain.

Joey Votto is have an MVP type season. He is batting .314 with 22 home runs and 60 runs batted in. He’s also scored 59 runs to put him among the top five league leaders in all four categories.

But Votto is not alone. The Reds lead the NL in team batting at .272, home runs with 108, and 437 runs scored.

Six different Reds’ players have double digit home runs. Besides Votto, third baseman Scott Rolen has hit 17 homer runs, second baseman Brandon Phillips 12, outfielders Jonny Gomes and Drew Stubbs 11 each, and outfielder Jay Bruce 10.

Gomes is tied with Votto with a team-high 60 RBIs. Stubbs is among the league leaders with 17 stolen bases, Rolen is hitting .290 with 57 RBIs, and Phillips is among the league leaders with a .294 average, 108 hits, and leads with 66 runs scored.

Defensively, the Reds have a .990 fielding percentage and they have committed just 35 errors.