Complaining is an inherent right of being a fan. And sports blogs are exactly the place for that. As long as you stay within our commenting guidelines and offer some insight and reasoning, you can be as negative as you want. Go for it.

But I’d urge a little pause before coming to severely negative conclusions about the Cincinnati Reds.

The season isn’t even two weeks old yet. Just stop and consider that before you call for trades, firings or come to definitive conclusions about players and coaches. It’s the ultimate small sample size.

The Reds have faced a brutally difficult part of their schedule. They’ve lost two series to St. Louis 2-1. If they can win tomorrow, it will be a 2-1 series loss against another team that’s widely picked to make the post-season. They have faced several great starting pitchers. Yes, losing the Mets series was not according to form, but that’s just one game.

They are coping with several roster regulars being on the DL, particularly the bullpen and Mat Latos. While bullpen failures certainly haven’t been the major reason for the Reds current losing record – clearly, that’s been the offense – the bullpen has been responsible for a couple of the losses.

If you were of the mind before the season that the Reds were an 85-91 win team (count me in that group) there’s nothing that has happened so far that should dissuade you from thinking that still isn’t plausible. The hitting will come around. It almost always does. The one newcomer is Billy Hamilton, but otherwise, the rest of the lineup is relatively established and they’ll eventually get to the backs of their baseball cards. There’s early evidence that Devin Mesoraco may surpass his 2013.

The starting pitching so far has been mixed, but mostly excllent. For every disappointing start (Bailey two, Cingrani one) there have been unexpected positive ones (Simon two, Leake a shutout).

Regarding Bryan Price, his tactical moves have been mixed, to be sure. But it’s wrong to make long-term judgments on that. On the other hand, he’s certainly demonstrated an open-minded willingness to look at data and challenge conventional wisdom when necessary, both positive qualities.

I’m not selling blind optimism. If you’re a regular here, you know that I was deeply critical of the off-season inaction by the front office and the plan to install Billy Hamilton as the lead-off hitter. But even with all that, I still thought (and think) the Reds would compete for the post-season. Those views haven’t changed, in either direction.

And I know this isn’t likely to convince the people who show up here only when things are going wrong, just to be over-the-top gloomy. There’s no way to reason with them because they’re not looking for reason.

But for the vast majority of you, the bulk of Redleg Nation, I know it isn’t easy, but I recommend a deep breath and perspective. And let’s pull together for a win tomorrow.