From John Fay, in the Enquirer:

ST. LOUIS – The season is lost. The Reds are eight games out with 25 to play. You do the math.

But Pete Mackanin doesn’t want his players to give up. Instead, he’d like to see them step up.

That’s why he held a brief team meeting after Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. The loss completed the Cards’ three-game sweep of the Reds.

“What I challenged them to was to find ways to win,” Mackanin said. “I feel we’re every bit as good as this St. Louis Cardinals team. The one difference – it’s noticeable to me – they look for ways to win games. We’re waiting for something to happen to win games.

“I challenged the players to do the same thing (as the Cards). Look for ways to win games in the month of September.”

Sunday’s game was a case in point. Brendan Ryan stole third base while Bill Bray was looking into the catcher for a sign in the seventh inning.

“By the time, I looked up he was standing at third base,” Bray said.

Yeah, that was a bad play, but I will give Bray a certain amount of slack. He’s been fairly effective out of the pen, and we can’t say that about too many players this season.

Mackanin also pointed to the bush league play by Albert Pujols the other night:

“That’s what I’m challenging our guys to do,” Mackanin said. “Take an extra base, instead of being happy with a single. It’s Baseball 101. That’s what I want us to do.”

Mackanin remained upbeat despite the 2-5 road trip, which effectively eliminated the Reds from the NL Central race once and for all.

“We had such a good month of August offensively that we were bound to hit a little lull,” Mackanin said. “It came at this time. But we’re going home and I feel good about that.”

Well, at least he’s feeling good about something. There’s not much to enjoy with this team.