What is the real deal?

I had an appearance on Sunday night with Ken Broo on WCPO’s “Sports of all Sorts” and he asked me a simple question after back-to-back Reds wins over the Phillies.

Are these Reds the real deal? I answered that I didn’t know because the team has been a mystery all season. What I should have said was we’re likely about to find out what the real deal is.

Starting Monday, 14 of the Reds’ next 20 games, and 17 of the next 26, are against teams with winning records. There is a trip coming at division leading Milwaukee on Friday and another West Coast trip coming at the end of the month at San Francisco and San Diego.

Here’s what we do know: The Reds rotation has kept the club from having long losing streak. It has the fourth best ERA in the National League. While the front end of the bullpen has had issues, the back end trio of Sam LeCure, Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman have been pretty air tight. They are the real deal.

On the other hand: The offense has kept the club from having a long winning streak. It’s ranked 13th in runs scored, 12th in batting, 13th in hits and 11th in home runs. It’s encouraging that Jay Bruce has shown some signs of emerging from a season-long lull. But he is still batting .211 with only four homers. Brandon Phillips has a .305 OBP and .393 slugging percentage — numbers too low for a No. 3 hitter. Ryan Ludwick has’t produced like he did in 2012 and isn’t a regular left fielder at this point. Devin Mesoraco and Todd Frazier have been big producers and need others to join them. Billy Hamilton is becoming more impressive (especially defensively) but still needs to get on base more to create more opportunity.

When the Reds have won their last six games, they’ve scored at least four runs. Three times, they scored six or more. In each of their last eight losses, they’ve been held to three runs or less including three shutouts. The largest deficit in a game they’ve come back from all season is two runs and that happened over a month ago on May 4 vs. the Brewers.

Pitching has kept them in games, but it’s the offense that can be the difference in close games. And it’s the offense that has not done a good job of coming back when the other team gets an early lead.

Joey Votto should be back, I’d surmise, by the end of this four-game series vs. the Dodgers. Mat Latos’ imminent return could put a pitcher in the bullpen to help with long relief and could bolster the relievers. The team will be at full strength for the first time all year.

It will be the best test yet if these Reds are the real deal.

14 Comments

It’s gotten to the point that the Reds aren’t much fun to watch anymore. Bruce, Cozart, Ludwick, and Heisey continue to strike out too much. With a runner on first Cozart and Phillips tend to ground into double plays. Hamilton seems to be coming along. Mesorocco runs hot and cold, as does Pena. Frazier seems to be the only one doing what he’s suppose to be doing. I’m waiting for Schumaker to start hitting. There are only (3) reliable relievers in the bullpen. You never know what you’re going to get from the other (4). In short…..the Reds are not fun to watch anymore. It might change when Votto gets back and when Lattos starts pitching.

The Reds will continue to struggle as long as Price insists on the platoon system.
I can see it now. Votto comes off the DL, plays a game and then has to rest for one. Mesoraco will play 3 out 5 games so they can keep Pena sharp and only God knows what will happen in left field. The Reds aren’t fun to watch because they can’t hit on a consistent basis.

No one is in a platoon situation except LF, Jim. Mesoraco catches four out of every five games. That has little to do with the lack of hitting.

I hope you are right concerning Mesoraco. Time will tell. I would love nothing more that for the Reds to turn this thing around. It’s just so frustrating right now. Maybe when they get healthy.

The only guy I see showing excitement is the only guy who is creating excitement outside of the starting pitching and (3) relievers and that one guy is Frazier. The rest of the position players act like they are in a 9-5 job;

Everytime we get behind this year, we put our heads down and go through the motions. Tonight we gave up in the 5th. We can’t blame it on injuries much longer. I agree with shoey. The Reds are not fun to watch, but they are my team and I will keep hoping each day that today is the day we turn it around!

Agree, this offense just plain gives up when it gets behind by a couple of runs. Continue to hit into DP after DP just to get the game over with faster, I guess. Not fun to watch in the least. I expect the crowds to shrink as the team starts dropping further in the standings while playing some of the better teams in baseball over the next month.

Cingrani throws way too many pitches; he threw 97 pitches/64 strikes, in 4.2 innings, allowing a career high 6 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks and 2 HR…..23 pitches in 4th, 29 pitches in 5th. Cingrani 0-5 in 5 starts, 6.26 ERA, 9 HR since coming off DL. Needs to pack his bags and get some much needed work. The BP in Cincy won’t afford him the work that AAA would.

Brayan Pena cut down Dee Gordon stealing….5th time in 41 attempts on season.
Hamilton had to have a momentary grin/smirk on his mug.

Extended schedule shows Latos starting this Saturday against Milwaukee.

All-Star voting leaders announced last night…only two Reds’ named…Brandon Phillips was fourth among second basemen and Devin Mesoraco is fifth among catchers.

Reds are on pace to score 581 runs. That would be the fewest they’ve scored since 1982. The ’82 team lost a franchise-record 101 games.

Reds have now played 62 games, with 100 games remaining. If they continue to play ball at their current win percentage (.468), they would end the season at 76-86. In order to win 90 games, they would need to finish the season with a record of 61-39; a win percentage of .610.

Well. the reds are 0-2 in the real deal era.

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