1. When should the Reds call up Aroldis Chapman?
Unfortunately for the Reds, working Chapman into the rotation may be difficult. Bailey and Harang are on the DL, but I look for that to end shortly. Arroyo, Wood, Leake, Cueto, Maloney, Volquez, Bailey and Harang. Where do you find room for this kid? The bullpen is your only choice, if that is even a choice. Chapman has been wild to say the least in his bullpen appearances at Louisville. The call up may come if the attendance keeps lagging.
2. Will the fans show up at Great American Ball Park?
The Reds rank 23rd overall with 22,850 per game. All I hear for years and years if the Reds win the fans will come, well that has not happened. Fans want to make trades and add payroll. I do not see this happening with these low attendance numbers. The St. Louis Cardinals, who the Reds are in a dogfight for first place are drawing 39,950. If Cincinnati is the baseball town we all talk about where are the fans?
3. What to do with Bronson Arroyo? Trade him or keep him?
Trading Bronson Arroyo will be a sure fire sign to educated fans that the Reds are just cutting payroll and not trying to win now. Arroyo has been the Reds best pitcher the last two years. The innings Arroyo gives you are invaluable, the gamer that Arroyo is comes without question. Every fifth day Arroyo goes to mound with Carpal Tunnel and throws until his arm is about to fall off. The moans and groans from some in the Reds fan base are almost laughable. The old saying “you will miss me when I am gone” will be Reds fans if Arroyo is not around come seasons end.
4. How many innings should Mike Leake throw?
The the number that keeps being thrown around is between 170 to 180. 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. Leake should get 13 to 14 more starts in the last 71 games of the season. If Leake averages 7 innings a game for his final 14 starts that will keep him just under the 200 inning mark. If I was a betting (which I am) I would say the Reds skip two to three more starts the rest of the season.
5. Will the Reds make the playoffs?
The Reds lead the Cardinals by 1/2 game heading into the Rockies game tonight. This team is no fluke. The pitching has been solid to say the least. Arroyo and Cueto have lead the way. The young guns lead by Mike Leake have been strong as well. Wood and Maloney called up to replace the injured Bailey and Harang have give the Reds more than a fighting chance to win games. The bullpen with Francisco Cordero leads the league with 24 saves and 40-year-old Arthur Rhodes had 15 holds 1.54 ERA in 35 innings. The Reds lead the NL in team batting at .272, home runs with 108, and 437 runs scored. The offense is lead by Votto with an MVP first half batting .314 with 22 home runs and 60 RBIs. Phillips is among the league leaders with a .294 average, 108 hits, and leads with 66 runs scored. Scott Rolen has hit 17 homer runs and is hitting .290 with 57 RBIs. Defensively the Reds have a .990 fielding percentage and they have committed just 35 errors. If the Reds continue putting up numbers like these, the Reds will be making a push towards the playoffs.