Last week we saw the Reds take on some of the better teams in baseball and they faired rather well. They started with the Atlanta Braves who are battling the Washington Nationals for 1st place in the NL East for two games before going to New York to play the Mets for 2 and the Yankees for 3. They ended the 7 game road trip with a 4-3 mark but more importantly only a ½ game back of the Cardinals for 1st place in the NL Central. Some other big news from this past week was the promotion of Aroldis Chapman to closer. For me I have mixed emotions, it’s better than wasting his talent in a set-up role but it’s still not where I ultimately see him going and that’s a starter. The Reds will now hand the ball to arguably the most the most feared pitcher in the game today and tell the other team here comes the heat try and hit it. I do have to say I won’t be sweating the end of games as much as I was with Sean Marshall but still let’s not forget what we paid Chapman all that money for, to dominate every 5th day. Looking forward to this week the Reds have the Braves in town for 4 games followed by 3 with the Rockies.
Player to Watch this Week: Aroldis Chapman
Fresh off being named the closer and recording his 1st save of the season I will be curious how he handles the pressure. The Braves are a very good team this year and will give him a good test early on in this new role. My opinion though is that he will shine and continue to have people clamoring for him to start very soon (Now looks like next year at the earliest).
Player on the Hot Seat: Jay Bruce
Mr. Streaky Jay Bruce is unfortunately on one of those streaks you want to avoid. He has just 1 hit in his last 15 at bats with 10 strikeouts in that time. While other guys have started hitting his power and production has been missed. With him going right Reds are very dangerous and will need that production against some solid competition coming up. Prediction: 4-3 The Reds haven’t been wowing anyone this season but have been solid by either splitting or winning the majority of their series this year. This week I think that trend will continue with a 4 game split with Atlanta and then 2 out of 3 from the Rockies. This would leave the Reds at 25-22 at the end of the week and hopefully in 1st place!