2012 MLB Season Preview: Cincinnati Reds

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2011 Cincinnati Reds Season Recap

The Reds reached the National League playoffs in 2010 and thought that was the beginning of something special. The organization had shed its losing ways and felt ripe for bigger things, such as capturing the league pennant, and making it to the World Series in 2011. But the train ran off the tracks. Several pitchers coped with injuries. Not even the best hitters matched their production of 2010. Instead of helping to lay the foundation of a new era, the season represented two gigantic steps backward.

Instead of building fresh confidence, the Reds suffered from the same old doubts. Instead of challenging for the NL Central Division title, the Reds ended up third, stalled out behind the Milwaukee Brewers and eventual Series champs the St. Louis Cardinals. The final record was 79-83, not at all what general manager Walt Jocketty and manager Dusty Baker were anticipating.

March 15, 2012; Tempe, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman

The Reds were still a hitting team, finishing tied for second in the league in runs scored with 735 and second in home runs with 183. But third baseman Scott Rolen was sidelined for long stretches with injuries. Center fielder Drew Stubbs struck out 205 times, the most in the majors. Zack Cozart made an impressive breakthrough at shortstop–and then got injured. Still, first baseman Joey Votto continued to show evidence that he is one of the best players in the game. Second baseman Brandon Phillips was an All-Star. and outfielder Jay Bruce emerged as a clutch-swinging power hitter with 32 homers.

It was the pitching staff that really drove Baker nuts. Bronson Arroyo, previously as consistent as the weather in Seattle, had an off year. Homer Bailey had injury problems. So did Aroldis Chapman. As did Edinson Volquez. Instead of contending, the Reds were erratic.

It was a disappointing season for a franchise that thought it had turned the corner when the players were spraying champagne in the locker room at the end of the 2010 season.

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