By: Nick McGill ~Sports Editor~
The start of the 2014 season for the Cincinnati Reds has been uncharacteristic of recent years. They have quickly fallen behind with fewer wins than expected. The season started with high expectations for first year manager Bryan Price and his injured ball club. Opening day rolled around with many players on the disabled list, including starting catcher Devin Mesoraco and star pitchers Matt Latos and Aroldis Chapman. On top of that, starting centerfielder and electric base runner Billy Hamilton was sent to the bench with an injured finger early in the season.
Reds fans had extremely high expectations for Price, who served as the Reds pitching coach from 2010-13. He received high praise coming out of spring training for how he was running the team. But now after the first few weeks of the season, critics are shouting their disappointment in the way Price has managed the team. However, Price has a depleted ball club and must get creative with who plays, especially in his bullpen where he is without his closer and plagued with injuries among set up pitchers. Many players have been forced into new or unfamiliar roles as the season began with a depleted roster.
Opening Day in Cincinnati might as well be a registered holiday as many students and employees come down with deadly illnesses and are unable to show up in classrooms and offices throughout the tri-state area.
Fans packed the stands at Great American Ballpark down at The Banks to watch two of baseball’s best pitchers: the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright and the Reds’ Johnny Cueto.
The game was a classic pitchers duel that ultimately resulted in a Cardinals victory due to a solo homerun by St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina. A chorus of boos echoed throughout the stadium as Molina went through his home run trot.
The Reds did bounce back to win game two on a walk off base hit by pinch-hitter Chris Heisey. In the coming games, the inexperienced young replacements and pitchers in unfamiliar roles seemed to plague the Reds’ success as they struggled to ward off the Cardinals and the New York Mets in the opening series of the season.
It has been a frustrating and unfamiliar start to the season, as the Reds have already experienced the painful blow of the new replay rules in the MLB.
It has taken the Reds to the fifth series of the year to gather a series win.
The start of the season has put the Reds in a hole, falling to 4th place in the division standing as the surprising Milwaukee Brewers team has jumped to a hot start and sits atop the division.
The beginning of this season is as crucial a part of the year as any. Three of the first five series were against the Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates with whom the Reds battled all season long last year for the National League Central title.
Although Reds fans are eager to see immediate success and quick to criticize a depleted and struggling team, Redleg Nation is incredibly loyal and will continue to believe in the organization that has brought them to the playoffs with regularity in recent history