How important is the upcoming homestand for the Reds? After only thirteen
games, many are labeling it the turn of the tide. The Reds are a team
desperate for a victory. Fans have already started to kick the bucket, the
early ambitions of a competing team have vanished, and general Redleg
interest is beginning to decease.
We're about to find out where the 2010 Reds are at and where the future is
headed. This team has to find a way to gut out a 4-2 homestand at the bare
minimum to bring the record to .500 before heading to the road again to take
on divisional foes Houston and St. Louis.
If the Reds come out flat at home in these six games, they'll spiral further
into the abyss and the talk will continue that Dusty Baker needs replaced
before seasons end and that hitting coach Brook Jacoby needs fired.
The Reds are not pitching; they haven't had a win from a starting pitcher
yet. They are the only team in the Major Leagues with that dubious
distinction. They aren't hitting with runners in scoring position. They
aren't getting on base. They're walking too many of the opposition's
If the Reds cannot accomplish a winning homestand, this team is done for the
season. Some people might think it's premature. However, no Reds team that
has started 5-8 has ever won the World Series. If you think that's a lofty
goal, the only teams that started 5-8 or worse in Reds history to make the
playoffs was the 1995 team. The 1999 team also started 5-8, but of course
missed the playoffs by one game. One game that the Reds have already blown
could cost them a chance for October meaningful baseball.
But if the Reds don't show up this homestand, it won't even be a close shave
by late in the year.
The Reds won't extend Dusty Baker's contract. Attendance will suffer.
Veterans will be shopped, down to guys like Brandon Phillips, Bronson
Arroyo, Jonny Gomes and Francisco Cordero.
The Reds are the only team in the Majors without a win from
its rotation. Their five starters have a 5.45 ERA that is ranked 13th in the
National League. It was 3.11 before the just-completed 2-5 road trip began.
Their starters' 37 are the third-most in the league. The entire pitching
staff also leads the Majors in total pitches thrown.
On Friday, manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price held a
closed-door meeting with the starters. The topic wasn't revealed, but it'd
be easy to guess that throwing strikes was near the top of the agenda.
"Our starting pitchers are throwing way too many pitches," Price said on
Sunday. "They're averaging just under 20 pitches per inning as a group.
We're walking too many guys. Between walks and hit batters and a low
first-pitch-strike percentage, we're just not doing everything we can to
increase our chances of pitching more effectively. We've addressed that.
However, we have to put it to work."
winning the first two games of the road trip in Florida, the Reds were
winning games and had fans beginning to believe their may just be something
“1990-ish” about this team. However, back-to-back losses against the Marlins
and getting swept by the Pirates over the weekend caused a road trip that
started so well to end in complete disaster. It also caused fans to believe
that this team would make the same mistakes as years past and Cincinnati
would have to endure another losing season. In the words of a cowboy trying to get his
horse to stop, “Whhhhhoooooaaaaa…” The Reds are 5-8. They have played 13 games,
which is equal to 8% of their 162-game schedule.
The importance of the Reds' next six games is indescribable. They are
already four games behind the first place Cardinals in the NL central, three
games behind the Marlins in the wild card race, and quickly disintegrating
It's not time to panic and it's not time for concern. It's time to win.
Whack Reds is begging you....
Homer Bailey (0-1, 6.97 ERA) will face Chad Billingsley (1-0, 5.73 ERA) and
the Dodgers at 7:10pm on Tuesday.