Today at Baseball Prospectus, Christina Kahrl writes about five "regulars" that could make the difference for their clubs making the playoffs. Here is her number 5:
5. The Reds' Bullpen
I know, I'm fudging here, but a bullpen is an everyday regular of a sort, and if the Reds are going to parlay a deep rotation and equally deep lineup into a division title, it's the bullpen that has sort of snuck into the picture as a key element. I touched on this yesterday in Transaction Action, but the Reds' bullpen might qualify as the team's secret weapon. Although it ranks a decidedly mediocre 16th in the majors in WXRL, and 12th in ARP, but since July 1 it is tops in ARP and seventh in WXRL. Far from merely relying on even greater feats from the flammable Francisco Cordero or tireless Arthur Rhodes, they're getting good work from Nick Masset since an initially ugly month, and the mid-season additions of Logan Ondrusek, Bill Bray, and Jordan Smith have finally supplied Dusty Baker with a multiplicity of options to protect leads with. If the Reds keep up with the Cardinals all the way down to the wire, Walt Jocketty's in-season assembly of a better bullpen will rank as one of the most underreported front office feats of the season.
By the way, BP (as of this morning) gives the Reds just over a 55% chance to make the playoffs, about a 34% chance to win the division and a 21+% chance of winning the wild card.