So far this year, the Cincinnati Reds have played like a .500 team. As Rob Lowe in Parks & Recreation would say, “They’ve literally been average.”
And they have. The Reds’ record stands now at 15 wins and 15 losses.
They won today, thanks to some 9th inning competence from Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and uncharacteristically, Jay Bruce. Thanks to a solid pitching performance by Travis Wood and the bullpen, the team was only down by 2 in the 9th. Granted, the offense had mustered something like one measly hit against the Houston Astros to that point, but the pitching had managed to keep it close.
I keep hoping that this team will find rediscover the spark they had at the season’s very beginning. The fact that Bruce actually produced today is a good sign, but there needs to be more from him. Like last year, he’s started slow in 2010. He comes up too often in situations where he could help the team and is a key figure for success this year.
Of course, the pitching has been wretched lately, too. The two injured starters are returning this week, and I’d say that Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey are better than Sam LeCure and Mike Leake, who they’ll be replacing in the rotation. Maybe that will be enough to get this team going, although it feels like more is needed than just a couple guys coming off the disabled list. Heck if I know what, though.
It’s been a frustrating year watching the Reds play so far. The season is by no means over, and the Reds aren’t really in a hole in the standings–they’re in 2nd place. But they’ve been playing teams they should beat, and have instead been losing badly.
Today was a good first step after the team meeting with manager Dusty Baker and owner Bob Castellini. I’m hoping for another good step tomorrow afternoon when Bailey starts for the first time this year.