Obviously a lot of folks are hoping for the Reds pitching to kick into a higher gear in the second half of the season, but which pitchers are really in line to do that?
Well, our repeated visits to BABIP have proven a good predictor of such things in the past, so let's see who's getting lucky and who's due for better fortune.
First off, the Reds' DER (that's the ratio for how often the team turns a ball in play into an out) is .689, which is awful. The '99 Reds had a .731 DER. The '95 Reds were .705. The '90 Reds were .717. The BRM was .714 in '76 and .724 in '75.
So the defense really needs to start giving the pitchers some better support. A .311 BABIP spells trouble for anyone.
Now here's the Reds' individual pitchers:
Bronson Arroyo - .282, on another team that would be a fairly reasonable number and you could expect Arroyo to continue in his current vein. With the Reds' defense, he's probably in for a drop, which is too bad.
Aaron Harang - .341, he's got by far the highest BABIP of any pitcher ranking in the top 50 in VORP (Roy Oswalt is second at .322). Most guys on the list, not surprisingly, are sub-.300. Anyway, Harang's balls in play should stop finding so many holes and he should pitch better in the second half.
Todd Coffey - .317, last year he was crazy unlucky, this year he's been pretty much average. Unfortunately he's now allowing too many balls in play.
Elizardo Ramirez - .293, he's in pretty much the same boat as Arroyo. With better defensive support, .293 should be fairly standard stuff. Unfortunately it isn't. Though Elizardo, like Coffey, allows too many in play.
Eric Milton - .269, be afraid, very afraid.
David Weathers - .296, he's getting crushed and it's not a fluke.
Esteban Yan - .220, for anyone thinking that maybe Yan will be part of the solution, don't.
Matt Belisle - .300, he's an honest-to-goodness pedestrian pitcher, no gimmicks.
Kent Mercker - .266, good Lord, what's he going to do when he stops getting lucky?
Jason Standridge - .385, weird numbers happen when you've only got 6.1 IP. I wouldn't advise reading too much into that figure.
Eddie Guardado (SEA) - .328, even with the Reds' criminal defense Eddie should get a turn of good luck in the second half of the season..
Brian Shackelford - .278, insert "getting lucky" joke here.
Joe Mays - .386, while he surely won't pitch well, he should get better.
Brandon Claussen - .332, he's probably the team's best sleeper for the second half.
Chris Hammond - .341, same boat as Mays.
Mike Burns - .528, that number is nothing short of hysterical.