My Little Problem
I’ve been pretty quiet on on the blog/Facebook/Twitter the past week because, well… because the Reds have been pretty quiet. The buzz of Homer Bailey’s second n0-hitter in the last 10 months has already worn off. So has taking three games of a rain-shortened series against the defending World Champions.
There’s virtually no offense to speak of, and solid pitching outings are being squandered because of it. Jay Bruce’s torrid streak has resulted in his current (and inevitable) average streak. Injuries continue to plague the team, with the returns of Marshall, Broxton, Cueto and Ludwick all up in the air.
The Pirates’ short-lived reign at the top of the division is already over as it appears they’re beginning their second half slide a little early this year. The problem is, that means that the Cardinals are starting to play better and have regained their perch atop the NL Central. All of this means that the Reds are stuck flailing away in 3rd place.
For those of you who think that after the All-Star Break the Reds are just going to flip a switch and start playing consistently good baseball again, you’re kidding yourselves. The All-Star Break serves as a nice opportunity for fans (and players) to take a deep breath and prepare for the grind of the second half, but it doesn’t always mean that things are going to improve.
I’m not exactly sure what the Reds could do to improve the team before the trade deadline. Bullpen help is desperately needed now, but what happens if/when Marshall and Broxton come back in a few weeks? The obvious hole is left field. Preferably someone who can hit in the 2-spot, since the Reds shortstop can’t seem to handle the job.
But is a new leftfielder or reliever really going to push this team over the edge? After 90 games, the Reds are 5 games out of first place. Hardly a big enough deficit to pack it in and think about next year, but when you have two teams ahead of you playing better baseball (just never at the same time as each other), it’s going to be very difficult for the Reds to gain any ground unless one of those teams falls off the map quickly.