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Series Preview #12: Talking Reds with Red Reporter

These two division rivals meet for the first time this season tonight.

15-17 (4th place, NL Central)
19-16 (2nd place, NL Central)

GAME 1: May 10, 2013 @ 6:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

: May 11, 2013 @ 3:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin and MLB Network; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

GAME 3: May 12, 2013 @ 12:10 p.m. CDT
(TV: FS-Wisconsin; Radio: 620 WTMJ)

Great American Ball Park | Cincinnati, Ohio

A View from the Other Dugout: Red Reporter

Game 1 Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 4.50) vs. Tony Cingrani (2-0, 2.63)
vs. Reds (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)
Game 2 Hiram Burgos (1-0, 3.00) vs. Mat Latos (3-0, 2.23)
vs. Reds (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)
Game 2 Wily Peralta (3-2, 5.54) vs. Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 4.30)
vs. Reds (0-0, ---) vs. Brewers (0-0, ---)

While the Brewers get ready for the first stop on a ten-game road trip, we talked to BK of Red Reporter about the Reds and this series.

BCB: Friday night the Brewers will see Tony Cingrani, the youngest 2013 Red, for the first time. What can you tell us about him?

RR: We like young Mr. Cingrani quite a bit. He got knocked around a bit in his last start, but overall has been stellar in a role where he wasn't really expected to contribute. He's been great at every minor league level, but pitched out of the bullpen in September last year and only is in the rotation because of Johnny Cueto's injury. There's been questions since he was drafted that he basically only throws two pitches (and his fastball that he almost always uses comes in at about 92 at the fastest), but he relies on a deceptive motion and strikes out a lot of guys.

BCB: Shin-Soo Choo enters play Friday leading the Reds in OPS (1.023) and home runs (7) and has a higher OBP than Joey Votto. Is it safe to call the trade that brought him over to Cincinnati an unqualified success?

RR: Yes, but there are still many in Cincinnati that will disagree with me on that. Drew Stubbs has been better than expected in Cleveland, Didi Gregorius is probably better than the guy the Reds currently have as their shortstop (and #2 hitter), and Choo is most likely gone after this year. That being said, Choo's been a revelation at the top of the Reds lineup. His defense leaves a little to be desired, but the guy gets on base more than any Reds leadoff hitter I can remember.

BCB: Speaking of Votto, he's well on his way to a fifth consecutive season with an OBP at or above .414. He's also under contract through the 2023 season, with a club option for 2024. Does he have a chance to retire as the greatest Reds position player of all time?

RR: Yep. That's assuming the knee thing eventually gets settled, though. He still isn't hitting with the kind of power we're used to seeing from him, and since trying to heal from his knee injury, basically turned himself into a singles hitter with occasional flashes of power. If he gets that power stroke back, he's such a cerebral hitter that he's the kind of guy you can count on to adapt to the league long term, but we can't help but worry until we see some consistent power numbers.

BCB: Aside from Choo the Reds outfield has been pretty weak offensively, with left fielders combining to post a .212/.293/.303 line and right fielders batting slightly better at .248/.301/.366. Is production from these positions going to be an issue all year?

RR: Man, I hope not. Jay Bruce has gotten his fair share of criticism for the RF spot (and rightfully so), but I still don't think it's time to worry about him yet. LF is more of an issue, mostly caused by Ryan Ludwick's injury from Opening Day. The Reds have gone with a LF-by-committee, with Xavier Paul as the only halfway decent option so far (and he really can't hit lefties). Since the struggling Chris Heisey was DL'd, RR's favorite German Donald Lutz was called up from AA and has hit in his last 4 games. There really isn't an answer there yet.

BCB: Looking back to spring training, are you more or less optimistic about this team now than you were then?

RR: I'd say slightly less, but there's been a lot of unlucky breaks so far that didn't happen last year. Having the ace SP and 2 of the 8 starters from Opening Day hurt has been rough, but it's reassuring that the team is still over .500 and in the thick of the division. Cueto should be back soon, Bruce will (hopefully) get back on track, and we're hoping the team can overcome the black hole in LF.

Thanks again to BK for taking the time, and check out Red Reporter for more on the Reds!