The stage was set and the Cincinnati Reds were in prime position to zero in on first place in the national league central, as they took on the struggling New York Yankees. But they unfortunately forgot one big detail, they actually had to win the games.
The Reds left New York following an embarrassing three-game sweep at the hands of a Yankees team that entered the break with a 47-47 record. For the Reds, it was a series that saw the team come down to earth – no timely hits, poor execution. For the first time since their injuries, one could truly see the impact the losses of Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto have on the team, especially on defense.
However, there could be some silver lining to the ugly weekend for Queen City fans. First of all, the rest of the division didn’t fare as well either (except for the Pirates). Despite being swept (and currently being fourth in the division), the Reds find themselves only two and a half games behind the Cardinals and Brewers for first place in the division.
Secondly, this weekend should serve as a fresh reminder to General Manager Walt Jocketty of the needs of this team. While last week featured Reds’ backups shining and rising to the occasion, we also knew the impending crash would happen sooner or later. And while many fans rejoiced the Reds’ winning ways, many of us were cautious of thinking those handful of games would foreshadow the remainder of the season.
For Jocketty, the window of opportunity is quickly closing on the 2014 season. Sure, that may sound like an overreaction, but it is true. The Reds can only expect so much from players such as Skip Schumaker and Ramon Santiago, not to mention players who are playing away from their normal position. For the team to stay in contention, Jocketty must provide them with reinforcement. Perhaps that comes in the form of Ben Zobrist or Michael Brantley (fingers crossed), but either way it cannot be denied that the Reds are in need of help.
So, instead of freaking out over a crappy weekend, Reds fans should look at the positives. The division is still within reach, and a light should now be lit under the backside of Jocketty to make a move (or two). Likewise, it could have become the wake up call the Reds were desperately in need of receiving.