The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

March 30, 2013

Reds expected to repeat in NL Central

PITTSBURGH — Capsules of National League Central teams, listed in order of finish last year:

Cincinnati Reds

2012: 97-65, first place (lost to Giants in division series).

Manager: Dusty Baker (sixth season).

He’s here: OF Shin-Soo Choo, INF Jack Hannahan, LHP Manny Parra.

He’s outta here: OF Drew Stubbs, 3B Scott Rolen, INF Wilson Valdez, LHP Bill Bray, RHP Ryan Madson, C Dioner Navarro, INF Miguel Cairo.

Projected lineup: CF Shin-Soo Choo (.283, 16 HRs, 67 RBI, 21 SBs with Cleveland), 2B Brandon Phillips (.281, 18, 77), 1B Joey Votto (.337, 14, 56 in 111 games), LF Ryan Ludwick (.275, 26, 80), RF Jay Bruce (.252, 34, 99), 3B Todd Frazier (.273, 19, 67 in 128 games), SS Zack Cozart (.246, 15, 35), C Ryan Hanigan (.274, 2, 24).

Rotation: RH Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.78 ERA, 33 starts, 2 CG), RH Bronson Arroyo (12-10, 3.74, 32 starts), RH Mat Latos (14-4, 3.46, 33 starts, 2 CG), RH Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.68, 33 starts, 2 CG, 1 no-hitter), RH Mike Leake (8-9, 4.58, 30 starts).

Hot spots: The Reds settled their biggest issue of spring training when they decided to keep Chapman as the closer instead of moving him into the rotation. With Broxton on board, they’ll have one of the top late-inning combinations in the club’s history. Baker will have to decide how many days in a row to use Chapman – the hard-throwing Cuban developed a tired shoulder last September. But the manager now has two proven choices to finish off games, which is two more than he had to start last season after the back end of the bullpen was wiped out by injuries.

Outlook: The Reds return their roster virtually intact from a 97-win season that was good enough to win a second NL Central title in three years. The goal is to get past the first round of the playoffs, something Cincinnati has failed to do. The rotation is one of the NL’s best, and none of the starters missed a turn because of injury during the regular season. That ended when Cueto pulled muscles in his side during the first inning of his playoff start against the Giants. If the rotation can stay healthy again and Votto regains his power stroke, the Reds should be favored to reach the playoffs and advance this time. The lineup is solid with Choo – acquired from Cleveland in a deal that included Stubbs – giving them a sound leadoff hitter for the first time in years. Frazier, who got Rookie of the Year votes, takes over at third base for Rolen, who chose not to come to spring training. The most encouraging sign this spring was Votto’s return. The 2010 NL MVP missed 48 games because of torn knee cartilage last season and wasn’t fully recovered when he returned. Cincinnati’s best hitter was back in form during spring training, hitting his first home runs since June 24.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Pirates Brawl 0420 Brewers top Pirates in game highlighted by dustup

    Ryan Braun homered in the ninth inning to tie it, then Khris Davis hit a home run in the 14th that put Milwaukee ahead for good.
    Yet those were hardly the big blows that attracted all the attention Sunday in the Brewers’ 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Football team ends boycott of embattled coach

    Minnesota State University-Mankato’s football team has ended its boycott of reinstated head coach Todd Hoffner, who successfully fought child pornography charges and other misconduct accusations that removed him from the job for 20 months.
    Hoffner said he assured the players, who refused to take the practice field Wednesday, that interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team in Hoffner’s absence, will continue in a major role with the team.

    April 20, 2014

  • Penguins 0420a Game 3 pivotal for both teams

    Not so long ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets were the worst team in the NHL.
    Now they’re heading home for tonight’s Game 3 of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with the star-studded Pittsburgh Penguins, hoping to make even more history.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo