Cincinnati Reds general manager Walt Jocketty felt good about his team's season-opening roster.
The Reds were going into the season with a pretty solid pitching staff and a faster and younger team. It was expected that they shouldn't have problems manufacturing runs. You had to trust his opinion since he had a successful track record with St. Louis.
There is dissent after the first week. The Reds are doomed to a ninth consecutive losing season. Many critics blame Jocketty's "wait and see" approach for the team's shortcomings. He could have added the likes of Jermaine Dye, Bobby Abreu, or Gary Sheffield for a reasonable price, but replied with "no thank you."
The Reds stand at 2-3 after the first week. They have seemed inconsistent at best. Their struggles are apparent, with a 6.50 earned run average and a .218 batting average. There are some highs and lows that have attributed to the malaise.
There are some definite positives.
Starter Aaron Harang has a stellar 1.80 earned run average with a 1-1 record. You can attribute his 2-1 loss on Opening Day to lack of run production.
First baseman Joey Votto is solid with a .438 batting average, two home runs, and seven runs batted in.
Second baseman Brandon Phillips has produced well with a .364 average. Phillips has teamed up with a healthy Alex Gonzalez at shortstop to provide solid defense.
Some key players have been struggling mightily.
Expectations have been high for outfielder Jay Bruce, but he has started off slowly with a .188 average after 3-for-16 batting.
Johnny Cueto and Edinson Volquez, two-thirds of the starting rotation, have been hammered. Cueto has an ERA of 6.0 while Volquez has an 8.31 ERA.
Their relief corps have not been immune to first week misery. Relievers Mike Lincoln and Daniel Ray Herrera have been hardest hit. Lincoln has given up nine runs in two-and-one-third innings for a 34.71 ERA, while Herrera has allowed two runs in one-and-two-thirds innings for a 10.80 ERA.
This is only the end of the first week, but the Reds have been slow starters over the past few seasons. This week they travel to Milwaukee and Houston. Cincinnati needs to find a way to start scoring runs.
If they are to contend, they need to either play smart "small ball" and manufacture runs, or get a solid veteran run producer at the cleanup spot.
It is too much to ask for a young team to plug in the offensive hole after Adam Dunn was traded last season.
Not fixing that hole may prove to be too much to overcome throughout the season.
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