Realistically, with Jay Bruce and Joey Votto not healthy and not playing, the Reds offense isn’t going to be consistent. Any team’s run scoring would be hurt if you subtract their two best hitters. Sure, we each have our ideas for how the roster could be better and more resilient. But even with impeccable general managing and perfect field managing, the injuries the Reds have suffered in 2014 would have taken a toll in the wins column.

The Reds’ bullpen disaster has been a surprise. But better times are ahead. The vast majority of relief pitchers not named Mariano are inherently inconsistent – if they weren’t, they’d probably be starting pitchers. The Reds’ bullpen is full of solid arms plus Aroldis Chapman, who is spectacular more often than not. Soon enough, the pen will reel off a string of great innings, that’s just the nature of it.

Redleg Nation, it’s time to grit our teeth and practice patience, not panic. That doesn’t mean the front office, coaching staff and players are beyond fair criticism. But our fists of accountability have to be raised in solidarity, not hurled in frustration and anger.

Right now, it’s not reasonable to expect the Reds to put together a winning streak. They flat out don’t have the team for it on the field. Their goals (our goals) must necessarily be more limited and that’s to avoid being swept in series, until the team get whole, which hopefully will be no later than a couple weeks from now. Occasional series wins are achievable, but fall into the bonus category.

Amidst the injuries, slumps, bullpen collapses, mental mista … (since this is supposed to be an optimistic post, maybe I should just stop there) … despite every stinkin’ thing that has gone wrong for the Cincinnati Reds this year, they are only 3.5 games – one good week – behind the second Wild Card team in the National League.

And that team just happens to be the Washington Nationals, the Reds next opponent.