If You’re Not Afraid of the Reds, You Probably Should Be


In just over a month, pitchers and catchers will report to Arizona for spring training.  This ST is going to be one of particular intrigue for the boys from Brew City.  Can Mat Gamel be the everyday 1st baseman?  Will Ryan Braun be out of the picture for the first two months of ths season?  Is that starting rotation going to perform at the same level they did last season?  Will we be able to defend our NL Central crown without Prince Fielder

That is the biggest question of all.  Can the Brewers win back to back division titles?  With the departure of Pujols, the Cardinals become less threatening to me.  The Astros, Cubs, and Pirates will show signs of life but in the end their youth will be their undoing.  That leaves the Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds.  Even without Fielder, I think the Brewers will be able to produce enough runs to be competitive.  If the pitching staff can duplicate the 2011 season, the Brewers will be tough to beat.  

Then you look at the moves that the Reds have made this off-season…  The Brewers are going to have a hard time matching up with the new and improved Cincy Rojo’s.

New Faces in a Familiar Place:

Mat Latos - The Reds went out and made a Greinke-like deal, by acquiring the Padres young superstar.  Latos was so important to the Reds that they gave up: Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger (all very good young players).  While in San Diego, Latos pitched in 72 games.  This young right-hander just turned 24 years old and is under Reds control for the next four season.  Latos is no joke, the guy already has 413 career strikeouts in only 3 major league seasons. 

By Pairing Latos with Johnny Cueto, the Reds have a 1-2 rotation punch that rivals the Brewers Gallardo and Greinke.  The Reds needed to get that top of the rotation pitcher.  Cueto is a very good pitcher, but he is not a staff ace.  Mat Latos has only made two career starts against the Brewers, he is 0-2.  In his defense, the Padres provided 1 run of offense in those games. 


Sean Marshall - We all know Sean from his days on the Chicago Cubs.  The Reds went out and acquired this master of the bullpenic arts, to sure up their very questionable bullpen.  Marshall is a very durable pitcher.  It seemed like whenever the Brewers and Cubs had a series, Marshall pitched in every last game.  He is a very nice arm to have at your disposal. 

Over the last 2 seasons, he ranks second amongst Major League pitchers with 158 appearances. Among all big league relievers during that same stretch, he ranks second with a 2.45 ERA and fifth with 150.1 innings pitched and 169 strikeouts. Sean Marshall has a career 2.67 ERA in 233 career relief appearances.  No doubt that Marshall will be used in a set-up role.  That’s where our 3rd guest comes in…


Ryan Madson - One of the top closers on the free-agent market, Madson is the most recent addition to the Reds championship puzzle.  After some botched contract negotiations between Madson’s agent, resident RtB Satan Scott Boras, and the Phillies, the Reds swooped in and scooped up the hard throwing right-hander for a very reasonable one year deal.  The Reds needed to replace the aging, and very hittable, Francisco Coredero.  Madson is a huge upgrade.

Last season, in his first full year as the Phillies closer, Madson was 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves in 34 chances.  The Phillies used Madson in every possible role that a pitcher can be.  Madson started 17 games in 2006 and went 11-9.  That is not totally relevant, since Madson will be the closer…just thought it was kind of intersting. 

This off-season was very busy for the Reds.  It is clear to me that they have a “Win Now” mentality, based on the impending free-agency of Joey Votto which looms large after the 2013 season.  The Reds are using a similar formula to the one the Brewers employed to win the NL Central title away from the.  Get better starting pitching and make sure you have the bullpen to back them up. 

Add those three guys to; Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, and Jay Bruce.  All of a sudden you have a Reds team that is much stronger than the team that won the Central in 2010.  In my opinion the Cardinals will be out of the picture in 2012, but the Reds will strike back in a big way. 

I am officially putting Brew Crew Nation on notice.  We can not take the Reds lightly.  They have gone out and repaired their armor. 

So, while the rivalry with the Cardinals was renewed in a big way last season, let’s pound the Reds.  If we destroy them, then there can be no rivalry.  It’s physics.


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Tags: Brad Boxberger Brewers Brewers Bullpen Brewers Hitting Brewers Pitching Edinson Volquez John Axford Mat Latos Ryan Madson Sean Marshall Yasmani Grandal Yonder Alonso Yovani Gallardo Zack Greinke

  • ksm2002

    @LouciferOlsen @fansided @DallasLatos As long as Dusty Baker is the manager Cardinals Nation has nothing to fear. 12 in ’12

  • beeker

    Lou, I’m a Reds fan, but I read your blog regularly. Partly to keep up on the Brewers, but more because you’ve got a good style that I enjoy. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks for the objective analysis. You are spot on with expectations in the Queen City. With the additions made, the Reds’ season now rests with 3 guys: getting 100+ games from Scott Rolen, getting 50 fewer K’s from Drew Stubbs, and getting decent production out of the left-fielder-du-jour. (Chris Heisey is assumed to be the regular guy in LF, but rumor has it that Walt Jocketty is in serious talks with a cardboard cutout of Ryan Braun who put some nice stuff on tape last year.)

    I would love to see the Reds and Brewers slug it out in 2012. A good race always makes the season more fun. As long as we are all agreed that both teams will thrash the Cardinals at every opportunity. (And I mean a full-out, make-Chris-Carpenter-cry thrash.) That will make for a fantastic summer.

  • lou.c.olsen

    @beeker Thank you for the kind words. I think that every Brewers and Reds series this season will be noteworthy. The Cardinals must be destroyed. No argument on this end. I think Cincy is going to have an awesome summer. Can’t wait to see how it shakes out.

  • FrankieBrown

    Lou, as a Reds fan, I would love to agree w/ you that this will be a 2 team race, but I think that the Cards must still be reckoned with. Losing Pujols is major, but their pick up of Beltran was a major move. Also, Wainwright is of course coming back, and even if he is not 100% coming off TJ surgery, he still will be a big upgrade to last years rotation. And, not being a LaRussa fan, I don’t think his absense will hurt the team much. Duncan is more of a loss, if he doesn’t return. Even if the Cards aren’t overall quite as good as last year, they will not be pushovers.