The Reds find numerous ways to disappoint us these past two years. Each year, they’ve been so bad (mostly pitching) that they are , for all appearances, out of the race. Until, that is, the mediocre play from the Central Division allows them to be within striking distance with a record of 10 games under 500. Then, when the opportunity comes for the Reds to actually be within 5 games, the Reds begin reverting to their season long pathetic hitting with runners on base, and lose a double header to the Pirates, and continue their lack of clutch hitting over the weekend in St.Louis and get swept, and then today Aaron Harang has a horrible outing when they most need one of his frequent gems. But it’s the Red’s pathetic performance with men in scoring position that has kept them from overcoming an absolutely HORRENDOUS bullpen and actually being in this thing.
To add insult to injury, the interim manager Pete McKannin, has proven to me he is not the manager the Reds need. He has WAY too much confidence in the bullpen, and in Gary Majewski in particular. Majewski is horrible (and damaged goods which the Reds were absolutely swindled into taking in trade….an absolute snow job perpetrated by Jim Bowden, the National’s GM. How they were allowed to get away with non-disclosure of the fact that Majewski had been given cortisone shots, I’ll never know). McKannin keeps running him out there, and he continues to allow inherited runners to score. His horrible ERA does not even reflect how ineffective he has been. I was appalled at McKannin’s decision to lift Bronson Arroyo for a pinch hitter in the 7th inning with no one on base and the Reds up 2-1, and Arroyo pitching great, at only 80 pitches! The Reds need a legitimate major league manager, not farm system coaches. Every seasoned manager the Reds have had since Sparky Anderson has had success (McNamara, a division title in 79, Piniella in 1990, Dave Johnson in 1995, and Jack McKeon, a playoff play-in game in 1999.) It’s like the bullpen. If the Reds aren’t willing to give something for some bullpen strength, they will suffer big time.
It’s also not as if starting pitching isn’t needs either. But their performance hasn’t been as pathetic as the bullpen’s.
Even the “fringe benefits” of watching the Reds, like Griffey hitting homers, has been greatly reduced since the all star break (Griffey had 23 at that point, and has only 6 in the 7 or 8 weeks since then. It would also have been nice to see Aaron Harang put up some good numbers again in September and make a run at the Cy Young (even though Jake Peavy would be hard to match…but he gave up a bunch of runs today).
Update: Adam Dunn grounds out with 2 on and 2 out for the second time today. Even tough Dunn has raised his runners-in-scoring-position average from sub 200 to .230 in the second half, of his 36 homeruns, 17 are solo jobs, and another 16 with 1 on. That’s only 3 of his 36 with as many as 2 on. No grand slams this year. 3 homers in 70 at bats with 2 or more on base. Pretty bad at the clutch hitting. (I was, even so, glad they didn’t deal him. They couldn’t gotten enough for him to plug the hole that would likely create. I still love seeing those 440-460 foot blasts he hits.)