As I write this, the Reds trail the Mets 9-7 and are about to be swept at home, possibly falling 6.5 games out of first place. Whether they’re able to pull out today’s game or not, the defending NL Central champs are effectively finished for 2011.
Instead of making the needed change in leadership I proposed at the All-Star break, the Reds have continued in a malaise that has them in a position where we’re wondering not about the playoffs, but whether they can finish above .500. This from a team that many considered the most talented team in the National League not in Philadelphia.
The starting pitching has been consistently inconsistent, the team can’t buy a two-out hit, and now the bullpen, overworked from the beginning is starting to falter. Walt Jocketty has waited too long to shake this team up and now is facing a lost season. Moving Johnny Gomes to D.C. this week for a pair of minor leaguers was about a month late in happening.
The sad thing is that the Reds aren’t the Yankees and Red Sox. They can’t just go out and buy spare parts every year to contend. They have a limited window of time with their nucleus of young pitchers, Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips to win a title. They simply can’t afford to waste opportunities like this season.
The defending champs have seen St. Louis battle injuries, Milwaukee unable to win on the road, and divisional parity that has the Pirates in first place. There’s no excuse for the Reds being the odd man out in this division. Mr. Castellini, if he’s true to his promise to not be satisfied with losing, should be calling some people on the carpet very soon down at Great American Ballpark.