Losers of 4/5, the Reds are suddenly entrenched in some sort of familiar June “swoon” where the side of the scoreboard they keep landing on is doing anything but smiling. Naturally, fans are going to approach the current state of this team differently. Some will see this as another rudimentary bump in a 162 game season. Others will consider this trend as an early sign of reality. I’m not here to say who is right and who isn’t. Just here to present both sides of the dichotomy and see where you fall on the spectrum.
You guys are a rather patient bunch. You approach the game with caution and try to stand back far enough from individual games so you don’t miss out on the rest of the enormous picture. You’re aware that the Reds still have the 4th best cumulative ERA in the game. You know the Reds’ starting rotation has the 2nd best ERA in baseball. You’ also know the Reds have the third best offense in the National League.
You acknowledge the Reds, like many other teams, have had to deal with the absence of vital personnel – Cueto, Ludwick, BP at times. Though the team’s record against +.500 teams is abysmal right now, you know that this hasn’t been an indicative factor for four of the previous five World Series winners (just one WS winner in the past five years had a good record against winning teams during the season).
When you turned off your television late last evening after another pounding of your beloved Reds, you remembered the fact that they’re still tied for the 3rd best record in the National League and the 5th best record in all of baseball. You’re doing OK this morning as you sip your coffee.
You guys aren’t as patient. You’re constantly reminded of the decade the Reds wasted on the island of misfit baseball teams. You know the window is open only for so long and that the Reds are routinely failing to get through it. While you acknowledge the Reds pitching staff and its ability, you also know that the bullpen is 19th in ERA. You know the Reds ‘pen is just one loss shy of owning the most bullpen losses in all of baseball. That sickens you.
What also sickens you is a manager who has routinely failed to capture the only thing that will truly satisfy this city: a World Series ring. You’ve witnessed great teams falter under him and you’ve put the blame on his shoulders. You watch games with somewhat of an agenda – you want to watch a Reds victory, but you’re literally waiting for Baker to do something else you consider utterly stupid, because you know he will. You look at the 16 L’s amassed by the bullpen and recall anecdotes of how Baker refused to use Chapman in any circumstance that wasn’t a 9th inning save opportunity, especially when the Reds surrendered the lead and the game with just four outs remaining in the contest.
The team’s record against winning teams mortifies you. 15-25 says to you that this team won’t be able to beat the teams still playing baseball in October. You care less about the fact that the Reds have played seven more games against winning teams than the Cardinals and eleven more games against winning teams than the Pirates, and more about the fact that neither opponent looks to be fading anytime soon – especially the Pirates, winners of five straight.
You’d spit your coffee all over the monitor this morning if you were drinking any. Perhaps you still would if you weren’t.
I know where I fall on this spectrum. But what about you? How is Cincinnati feeling about this Reds club enduring its first true swoon?