As big a Cincinnati Reds fan as I am (I’ve been referred to as a Homer by many) and as much as I want (need) them to win and win big, I must admit that I am very, very troubled by some developments along the last few months. My troubles come from the Reds inability to score runs against even marginally good pitching. I believe that they will be a one series and done proposition if they cannot rectify this problem.
As was the case in 2010, the last time the Cincinnati Reds won the division, the 2012 version is falling prey to the same fate. They cannot seem to score against teams with winning records. Oh sure, the Reds can beat, and beat badly, teams like the Houston Astros, Chicago Cubs, etc., but you put them up against the Philadelphia Phillies (I know they don’t have a winning record, but they are still the Phillies), the Washington Nationals, or even the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Reds cannot score more than 2 runs.
Take yesterday, for instance. The Cincinnati Reds were able to collect 10 hits (8 against Roy Halladay) but were only able to push across 2 runs. One of those two came on a solo shot by Jay Bruce, his 4th homer in the last 4 days. Small ball is not their forte, but they will not win in the playoffs without playing small ball successfully.
Pitching is another issue that the Reds will have a problem with during a playoff series. Once you get past Johnny Cueto, does Mat Latos or Bronson Arroyo scare you? What about Mike Leake or Homer Bailey? The Reds will have to have a win from Cueto in the first game in order to have a shot at winning a series. Latos, while he is having his best year, is unproven that late in the year. Arroyo will give you all he has, but you can go ahead and chalk up 3 runs allowed from him. When the Reds only push across 2 against good teams, well, that’s a loss.
The Cincinnati Reds have roughly four more weeks to straighten out the situation and they can start against teams like the Astros, but they must prove it against the winning teams or they will be a one series team, probably being swept.