Another rookie joins Reds' rotation

Another Reds starter goes down, and another rookie comes up:

    The Reds were forced to place right-hander Aaron Harang on the disabled list Tuesday with lower back spasms.

    Cincinnati called up left-hander Matt Maloney from Triple-A Louisville to start in his place. In 15 starts for the Bats, Maloney carried a 6-5 record, with a 3.50 ERA.

Maloney will become the eighth pitcher to start for the Reds this season, and the fourth rookie after Mike Leake, Sam LeCure and (most recently) Travis Wood. As well as the first-place Reds have played, it's fair to wonder where they'd be if Edinson Volquez hadn't missed the whole season (so far) and if Homer Bailey hadn't wound up on the DL after winning just one game.

The Reds have been impressive and in a variety of ways -- starting with Leake, Arthur Rhodes, and of course Joey Votto -- but I'm not yet convinced they're better than the Cardinals, mostly because their starting pitchers just don't have the underlying performances to support their ERAs.

Well, really it's just Leake and Bronson Arroyo. Leake's ERA is 3.38, but his xFIP is nearly a full run higher. Arroyo's ERA is 4.25, his xFIP is 5.08. The Reds can be good even if some of them regress. I'm just convinced they can beat the Cardinals. I think Harang probably needs to come back strong after the All-Star break, and at some point they'll need Bailey or Volquez -- who's currently rehabbing in Triple-A -- to make a bit of a splash as well.