Cincinnati Reds: Party Over

Illya Harrell@illya_1971Analyst IIJune 15, 2009

KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 12:  Willy Tavares #3 of the Cincinnati Reds prays prior to the start of the game against  the Kansas City Royals on June 12, 2009 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It was only a matter of time.

After winning more than they lost for the first two-and-a-half months of the season, Reds' manager, Dusty Baker's stopgap line-up cards (beau geste major injuries) are making Dairy Queen bathrooms look sterile.

The Reds have lost seven of their last 10.  They are not scoring.  They are not fielding.  They are not even getting on base to score.

The pitching is still there, but a team can have a staff of five Johan Santanas and not win if they can't plate more than 2.4 runs a game.  And that's exactly what the Reds have been averaging over the last 10.   

In their last two series, the Reds have played the Washington Nationals (widely considered the joke of MLB), and a struggling Kansas City team which had won only four of it's last 21—before sweeping the Reds in a three-game series over the weekend.

The hitting is more than morbid.  As a team, they are batting .176 over the last 10 games.  Last year's Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum, is hitting .172 this year. 

The Reds have essentially been playing with a lineup of pitchers, posing as position players.

Who is responsible?

Start at the top.  One has to wonder what was going through the head of Walt Jocketty, the Reds' General Manager, when he signed Willy Taveras. 

Last year for Colorado, the supposed lead-off man hit .251 and had an OBP of .308 — horrible for any player, much less the guy you want on base to set the table for the punch of the order.

Taveras is currently in a 0-for-32 skid—with zero walks.

Jerry Hairston Jr. has a few hits in the last 10 games.  Five. 

Unfortunately, that number also equals his errors committed.  In Sunday afternoon's match-up vs. the Royals, he had two errors that led to all five of Johnny Cueto's unearned runs.

It's ridiculous and depressing for the folks in Reds country to go through the entire line-up.  No one is producing.  The only guys not embarrassing themselves are Ryan Hanigan, Alex Gonzalez, and Jonny Gomes.

The days of small ball are getting fewer.  If a team fails to get runners on base, it's impossible to get 'em over and get 'em in.

And it's no secret that the only healthy and legitimate power threats on the everyday line-up card are Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce (if he gets a straight fastball from a right-hander).

Coming from a doomsayer, unless Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion get back soon, the days of playing over .500 baseball are history—and it would not be at all surprising to see the Reds finish the season 10 to 12 games under that mark of mediocrity.


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