I haven’t written anything about the Reds since the season began, but if you’re interested enough in baseball to read this you know that the Reds haven’t given me anything to write about. That’s beginning to change.
When it comes to the long MLB season, it’s said that you can’t win it (a place in the postseason, essentially) early, but you can lose it. I’ve always found that to be pretty accurate, and despite my prediction that the Reds would contend for a Wild Card, it seemed they were doing just that. In fact, the odds are quite good that that’s what they did with their 3-18 start, played themselves right out of any hope of postseason play this year. If the rebuild was going to ultimately be successful, all indications were that that wouldn’t happen until at least next year.
Like I said, that’s pretty much how things will probably turn out, but the Reds’ recent upswing, coupled with the manager change, make that less of a foregone conclusion than it was 21 games into the season.
First off, I’m behind this rebuild. I didn’t like seeing guys like Frazier, Cozart, and especially Cueto go elsewhere, but the team was in a rut three and five years ago, and it seemed the only hope they had of being a top tier team–which should be every organization’s goal every year–was to break it down and build it back up. And I understand these things take time, but I also know Joey Votto isn’t getting any younger.
I think the best chances the rebuild has have to center on Joey. One of the five best pure hitters I’ve seen in a Reds uniform since I began following them regularly 43 years ago, and one of the three best hitters playing the game today, the rebuild has such better odds when you’ve got that anchor player as a foundation. So, while I’ve tried to be patient, I haven’t been greatly successful.
And then they start the season 3-18, and nobody is pitching well and nobody is hitting well, and I’m wondering just how in the world I thought this team could even think about being in the playoff picture. Then the organization decided to fire Bryan Price and replace him with Jim Riggleman. Since then, things have begun to turn around some.
Another significant event was the trade for Matt Harvey. I hate to Devin Mesoraco go, but whether the Harvey move pans out or not, it’s great to see that your team is willing to make bold moves in the hopes to be better. Besides, I think the move will turn out; I think Harvey is going to be a valuable member of the rotation going forward.
Since the 3-18 start, the Reds are 11-9, a winning clip that isn’t too far off the pace that the second NL wild card team will probably have. Mahle, Romano, and Castillo have all started to pitch well; the bullpen won bullpen of the week in the NL last week; Schebler and Suarez are back and hitting; Scooter’s having a career year; Votto’s is slowly getting to form.
The Reds have now won their last two series and are on a six-game winning streak, and this team that was 3-18 out the gate now has a better record than three teams in the majors. Yes, there’s a long way to go if they’re going to meet by prediction and contend for a wild card, but at least they’re offering something to write about.
Be well, my friends. I’ll see you here soon.