April 12, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Reds manager Dusty Baker (12) in the dugout before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds' Five-Game Skid Fully Digested

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After allowing the proper period of mourning I feel composed enough to put into words what a sucky week the Reds had. They have been shutout, thumped, nipped, and have seen a five-run lead evaporate.

What does it all mean? Please don’t be the guy who says, “Calm down, it is just the middle of April.” If you are that complacent about a five-game losing streak, please turn in your fan credentials immediately, someone in Miami needs them.

Last season the Reds were 4-8 at this point. Good on ya’ Reds, you are one game better than last year. I don’t recall feeling nearly this crappy then. We waited until the 112th game, August 9, to lose five in a row last year. Looky here, we did it in 12 games, before the Ides of April and we may not be finished yet, with Cliff Lee and the Phitin’ Phillies coming to town. We sit most comfortably, in the middle of the division, looking up to both the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, as we are two games below the equator and two games out of first. I hate it!

They are losing so frequently that I already abandoned my “Assigning the Blame” series. I do, however feel compelled to assign the loss yesterday to Big Brox. That is correct, Jonathan Broxton looked like he was throwing batting practice to the Pirates the entire time he was in there. He made me pine for the days of Coco Cordero. He tossed 31 pitches and only 13 were on the mark. Did you read that? The man threw 18 balls and 13 strikes. That boils down to 58 percent.

Brox came into the game having worked four innings and boasted a 0.00 ERA. After Aroldis Chapman let an inherent runner score, he stood at 4.2 IP and an 11.57 ERA. I am not here to beat up on Broxton, I am here to praise him. Not really, but he shall not shoulder the entire blame. He does for this game, but read on.

Dusty Baker saw fit to use J. J. Hoover in five of the first seven games of the season. Then in the opener of the Pirates’ series he came in and surrendered a home run to break a tie and ultimately lose the game. Dusty hadn’t seen enough of him yet so he rolled him out again on Saturday. You know…get right back up on the ol’ horse thing…he did pitch better than he had, reducing his ERA by about a run and a half.

I fully expected Dusty to send Hoover down and bring Mark Pryor up so he could finish him off for good. What? Too soon? Sorry, strike that from the record.

Back to the crux of the whole thing. Just because you are not in a save situation, or even losing, does not mandate ignoring the back end of the bullpen. They need work just like everybody else. You cannot expect them to go for a week without any game experience. I believe we all can attest to that by the thuggery we witnessed yesterday.

I imagine Broxton feels terrible today. So do I and I don’t make $57,000 per game to assuage my pain.

Now we come to the loss of Johnny Cueto. I know the team hasn’t said anything yet, but watch the wire for Tony Cingrani to be recalled any day now. He only pitched two innings for Louisville on Sunday. He struck out five of the six Mud Hens he faced. Wonder if Klinger watched?

Cueto will no doubt be set on the shelf for at least the obligatory 15 days. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any bleaker right?

In tonight’s series opener Bronson Arroyo (1-1) will toe the rubber against former CYA winner Lee (2-0). Batters are hitting a paltry .167 against Lee so that should be interesting.

Please comment unless you are going to try to tell me to settle down or retort with some “pollyann-ish” trite like it is only 12 games in.

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