Week 5 Trends: A Cubbie A Day Keeps The Critics Away


May 5, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Cincinnati Reds first baseman

Joey Votto

(19) reacts after scoring against the Chicago Cubs during the fourth inning at Wrigley field. (David Banks-USA TODAY Sports)

The only thing that can make a 162-game season feel even longer is losing more baseball games than you win. In about the span of a week, the Reds dropped three of four to the Washington Nationals before flying into St. Louis and leaving two of three at Busch Stadium. English major math tells me that’s two wins in seven tries. My Texas Instrument displays a .286 winning percentage. If you weren’t actively following the Reds, Twitter might have had you believing the team was a few days short of a white-flag hoisting fire sale, where cornerstone guys like Jay Bruce are traded at the market for bus riders “prospects” and answers to questions not even being asked. Pitching all the sudden becomes expendable. Reds could trade Tony Cingrani for Giancarlo Stanton, or Mike Leake as part of a package. Or both.

But it’s normal for people to overreact when they’re feeling sick, no?  You can’t just not assume the worst initially. That’s stupid and naive. You want to build your hopes up for a clean bill of health before the doctor slaps you with a malignant malady, you be the rational naive one.

Too much WebMD-ing can actually be a bad thing. Type your symptoms in, press enter. Thanks. Turns out that fever you’re having is an early symptom of Guillain-Barré syndrome.  Now that you’ve determined what you have, you can stress relentlessly until your appointment. Shoot Jay Bruce a friendly message on Twitter in the meantime.

“We can’t win on the road,” I say as the doctor quickly checks my reflexes. “Mmm hmm,” he says dismissively as he continues to look the situation over. “It’s not just a trend, the offense sucked on the road all last year,” I nervously say. He continues to ponder and rub his chin before finally offering, “It’s just a losing streak,” in a hurried tone. He scribbles frivolously on a pad before tearing it from his booklet and handing it over, “Take three games with the Cubs, call me in the morning,” he says before disappearing.

We expect the Reds to beat the Cubs. And barring one game so far, they have. The Reds are 5-1 against the Cubbies this season after the  weekend sweep at Wrigley Field. Here are some factors that led to the Reds finishing the road trip at 5-5.

  • Joey Votto is playing like a Most Valuable Player once more. I contest he’s never stopped, even if the fellas at ESPN think he needs to swing more. Votto hit .478 in the past seven days and only struck out three times. If Votto is entering Call of Duty Orbital V-SAT mode, baseball is going to feel it – that is, assuming he’s pitched to. His 29 walks still lead baseball, but his old pal Prince Fielder is rapidly catching up (24).
  • This past week, Choo hit .280 and Phillips hit .333, each contributed three RBI. But outside of the three aforementioned Reds sluggers, the Reds are still struggling offensively on the road. Bruce and Frazier did combine for eight RBI together, but the last seven days witnessed Bruce hit .222, Frazier hit .200 and Cozart bat .136 (he chipped in three RBI too).
  • Mat Latos picked up two wins last week. If it wasn’t for balmy fielding, he probably wouldn’t have allowed a run at all. He’s doing an exceptional job carrying the ace banner while Johnny Cueto continues to ride the DL pine. Speaking of the ace, Cincinnati.com reports that Cueto could be making a start at Double A for the Blue Wahoos. The Reds are not the same team without their Cy Young candidate, but rookie Tony Cingrani is comfort food for many. The rookie had another impressive outing in Chicago where he only surrendered two four runs off two hits by Soriano that happened to leave the yard.
  • After an extremely turbulent start, J.J. Hoover has looked good of late. He picked up two saves last week, including one in which he had to bail Aroldis Chapman out of another Cuban Missile Crisis headline.

After a week that includes Atlanta and the Brewers, let’s hope next week’s round-up doesn’t include a WebMD tutorial.