The good news is that the Reds have actually played much better than their 14-18 record (going into Tuesday’s game). According to Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the Reds Pythagorean record (based on runs score vs. runs allowed) should be 17-15. Their second order Pythagorean projection (based on “equivalent runs” scored and allowed — based on the raw hitting/pitching lines) is 18-14. Their third order Pythagorean projection (the second order figure, adjusted for strength of schedule) is 17-15.
The bad news is that the only record that matters in the standings is 14-18. According to Joe Sheehan’s article today (subscription, I believe), “the one known way in which teams can outperform their projected record is by having a very good bullpen.” Or vicey-versey, as they say.