By: Nick McGill ~Sports Editor~
The Cincinnati Reds entered this season with high hopes of returning to the playoffs with an experienced pitching staff and young, exciting position players. The Reds kept pace through the first half of the year and entered the All-Star break in mid-July only 1.5 games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers. The ailing Reds were expected to be rejuvenated and ready for a run after a four day hiatus from play. The Reds returned to play being swept in three game series by both the New York Yankees and the Brewers during a tengame stretch where the Reds lost nine of 10.
One consistency the Reds have been able to rely on all year long is their starting rotation. Considered one of the best in the National League, the Reds’ rotation continues to give their team quality innings and pitch late into games.
The Reds, however, have failed to prove that they are able to close out games. Many times the Reds have given up a lead in the seventh inning or later. Many of these games have come on the last plays of the game as the relievers give up the lead.
In one-run games this season, the Reds are 19-31. They are in danger of eclipsing the mark of 44 one-run losses in a season set by the 1968 Chicago White Sox. In order to have any hope of a playoff push the Reds need to find a way to produce more offense to give their pitchers more run support.
Injuries have plagued the Reds throughout the season and only a handful of times the season manager Bryan Price has been able to send out the starting lineup he implemented on opening day. Injuries to second baseman Brandon Phillips and first baseman Joey Votto was a huge hit to offensive production. There is speculation on whether Votto will actually return by the end of the season or wait until spring training. Even with exciting play from center fielder Billy Hamilton and All-Stars Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier, the Reds have been unable to give what it takes to win the tough games.
Many Reds fans are becoming exceedingly frustrated with their team. Popular Reds blog “Redlegnation.com” has commented on how infrequently the Reds win.
After winning two games in a row after a long losing streak they released an article titled, “Reds winning streak reaches 2 games!”
There are now even rumors that Reds General Manager Walt Jockety could leave the team after this year to be ruinited with one of his former Managers, Tony Larussa in Arizona.
The season ends with Cincinnati facing off almost exclusively against division foes. If there is ever a time to make a final run, it is now.