Playoff bound?

7:00 am. I’m awake, not after a good night’s sleep, but still awake from the day before. The Reds have been on my mind a lot lately, not to the point that this is what is keeping me up at night – blame my bizarre work schedule on that one – but I do find myself thinking about the Reds in the wee hours of the morning when I still happen to be awake. I was prompted to writing this morning thanks to Paul Daugherty of the Cincinnati Enquirer. He’s not someone whose opinion I normally look forward to hearing (well, you know, reading), but I did like his column in this morning’s edition. He talks about Junior and how he was told by ownership and management that he’d have a winning team built around him when he came to join the Reds. Daugherty, putting it succinctly, says that "{t}hey lied. Until now."

I like Griffey. I like Junior even when he is in the throes of a terrible .180-post-All-Star slump. I want to see him win, not only because he is a Cincinnati Red, but because he seems to be such a wonderful human, and such a wonderful athlete. Daugherty notes that "Ken Griffey Jr. finally is in a playoff race as a Red." And here I wonder, the morning after a 10-4 loss at the hands of the Dodgers, is this really a playoff-caliber team? Buster Olney and Steve Phillips ::shudder:: say so. Paul Daugherty, who, it seems to me, is always and forever down on the Reds, seems to think so. I don’t know what to think anymore.

At the beginning of the season I said I’d be happy to see this team finish at .500 this season – that was before Wily Mo for Bronson, before a team-record number of wins in April… before The Trade. At the beginning of the season, Sports Illustrated projected the Reds to finish last in the National League Central, the 28th ranked team in all of baseball. Booyah. So what does all of that mean here on August 2nd? Absolutely nothing. In a weakened NL, the Reds are the current Wild Card, 1 game ahead of the Arizona Dimaondbacks. As for the NL Central, we’re 3 1/2 back of a Cardinals team that made no significant deadline deals, unless you count the acquisition of Ronnie Belliard.

Back to the question I posed earlier: Is this really a playoff-caliber team?
I think it can be, but some things need to change if we’re going to have a legitimate shot.

  • Edwin Encarnacion needs to play every day.
  • Royce McClayton needs to not play every day. And if he is playing, he needs to bat 8th. No exceptions.
  • Someone needs to do some tinkering to the 25-man roster. This whole 3-catcher, 4-outfielder setup is going to bite us in the butt one of these days.
  • Maj needs rest, apparently. Let him have it.
  • Stop it with the Joe Mays, Esteban Yan, Lohse-type reclamation projects.
  • Jerry needs to stop managing with his heart. Good lord, man, use your brain.
  • Limit the defensive damage. Extra outs, errors… These kill.
  • Either Eric Milton or Brandon Claussen (or both!!) need to step it up and pitch some good baseball.
  • Junior needs to de-slump. Now. (I know he will.)

That isn’t in any particular order, but freeing Edwin and getting Junior back on track are #1 and #2 in my book.

Looking at that list kinda frightens me. If that’s what my sleep-deprived mind could list without too much careful planning, imagine what I’ve forgotten…

So, anyway, that is how I’m looking at things. My favorite sports team would make the playoffs if the season ended today. That is awesome considering it’s August. Then again, it’s August. There are two months of play left, and I can honestly say that with this streaky team, I have no idea what is going to happen.

"Until now."  –  I certainly hope so, Paul.

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One comment

  1. jamisongilveli@yahoo.com

    Well put together thoughts with some fun personal details – thanks for the read.

    You inspired an idea for me…I am not sure if the Reds Players or Coaches are given the chance to make comments about their thoughts on the current baseball season as it progresses. However, if there is a place, it is on a web page that is not well advertised, and in fact, I recommend it be at the very least lined and/or highlighted on the front of the Red’s HomePage.

    The reason for my suggestion. I want to hear how the players are approaching each baseball game – just like all of us fans of sports enjoy hearing the pre and post game shows before every football teams’ weekend game…and while there is some of that happening on ESPN – ESPN doesn’t give me the scoop on the Reds – Players and Coaches thoughts and opinions. I live in Texas, so I don’t get the local news, which in every city I have been in – the local news gives you much of that commentary – but what do us real fans do when we don’t live in the city we are loyal to?

    The bottom line is that I really want and hope that I would hear the Players and Coaches of THE REDS say stuff like…”we still have our focus on this year, we are sick of always resorting to next year’s promise kind of talk”…I really hope they say to the media, “don’t come to our games and ask us questions about next year like our current year is over…we are just past mid-season and finding a groove – we have seen comebacks bigger than this”…”we want the Reds Organization and our devoted and loyal fans to know that we are working extra hard to make each day a winning day”

    I really want to hear how the coaches are working to keep inspiration in the dugout and how they manage through changes and a tough spell or two…I wanna hear some fire and determination, yes and some frustration and aggressive competitiveness.

    I want to hear this from them because they help me carry on with my start up business when I feel like I am down 3 runs with 3 on base, 2 out and a 3-2 count…what do I do? I look to my heros to be the model of “never give up”…”make it happen”…”dont wait, dont put it off, make it real, NOW”

    Is that what I would hear from the team TODAY?

    I am dying to know – as a loyal and devoted fan of one of the most historic teams in MLB…yes, in my mind they are…but I often wonder what the “Big Red Machine” Players & Coaches said to each other as they carried a magical winning way….aren’t you curious?

    Thanks,

    Jamison Gilveli

    Austin, Texas

    http://www.sbsetup.com

    (512) 983-2808

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