The Cincinnati Reds have been playing poorly for nearly a month. Since completing a four game sweep of the Marlins on August 22, the Reds are 8-16. Despite the poor play, the Reds continued to have control or be just below the second wild card spot for weeks, but it caught up quickly with the Reds this past week. The Cardinals out of nowhere went 6-0 at the Mets and against the Padres to take a commanding 3.0 game lead on Cincinnati with two weeks left.

Cardinals 79-69
Reds 77-73 3.0
Padres 76-73 3.5
Phillies 76-73 3.5

The Cardinals playoff odds on September 7th were 2.8% according to Fangraphs. They are now 73.2%. The Cardinals overall have won 8 straight games. Prior to that streak, the Cardinals had won just 3 of their previous 9 games. The Cardinals were just 37-39 from June through August. The Cardinals are currently running out a rotation of Adam Wainwright, Jake Woodford, Jon Lester, Miles Mikolas and J.A. Happ. You can conceded that Wainwright is just having an incredible resurgent season out of nowhere. The other four guys have been below average starting pitchers with little upside. Somehow, the Cardinals have been able to find a way to win 8 straight games running them out.

So how can the Reds salvage their season and make a run? The first part of the equation starts with Cincinnati. They obviously have to win, and win a lot. The Reds have 12 games remaining, but do still have the second easiest schedule in baseball. The favorable schedule has been an easy target to make fun of since the Reds have yet to capitalize on what has been a favorable schedule for weeks, but it’s still there. The offense has been their biggest downfall of late. However, if you could handpick two teams to play the rest of the season in the National League to hopefully get that offense going, it would be the Pirates and Nationals. The honest truth is that neither of those teams have a single starting pitcher that would be starting in the Reds rotation. Since the trade deadline, the Pirates SP have a 5.01 ERA (14th in NL) and the Nationals have a 4.80 ERA (12th in NL). The Reds are going to start each night with a significant advantage in 10 of their final 12 games.

How many wins do the Reds need to rack up? If you start with the cold hard numbers, Fangraphs predicts the Cardinals to finish now with 85.6 wins. The Cardinals play two more games than the Reds, so they are saying the Cardinals will finish 7-7. The Reds need to finish 9-3 to end the season tied with the Cardinals and force a Game 163 at Great American Ball Park on Monday, October 4. If the Reds got some help and the Cardinals lose 0.9 games less than projected, the Reds would need to go 8-4, which feels like a more reasonable task. They do still have two other teams (the Phillies and Padres a half game behind them), but it seems unlikely that if the Reds went 8-4 the rest of the way that one of those teams does better or the Phillies don’t pass the Braves in the process.

Can the Cardinals actually lose games down the stretch? When you are down to such a small sample like 14 games left, really anything is on the table. The Cardinals could ride their hot streak all the way to a disgusting fairy-tail ending. It’s more likely however that a team that has been fairly mediocre all year plays like that. St. Louis’ only other long win streak of the season came just over a month ago when they won six straight games from August 10-15. The Cardinals then proceed to lose 6 of their next 9 games. They are currently 12-6 in September. They do not have a month all season where they finished more than 4 games over .500.

We will probably know pretty quickly if the Reds still have a shot in this race or not. The Reds start a series with the Pirates tonight, while the Cardinals play at the Brewers. The first two pitching matchups for the Cardinals are Jake Woodford vs Freddy Peralta (NL All-Star) and Jon Lester vs Brandon Woodruff (NL All-Star). If the Reds somehow lose another game in the next two days, it’s probably a safe bet they won’t recover. But maybe things go the Reds way and we wake up Wednesday morning with the Reds just a game out.

This season for the Reds has featured several stretches where they bounced back in a big way after bad stretch:

April 10-25: Reds went 3-11 > went 6-3 in their next 9 games
May 12-29: Reds went 5-11 > won next 6 of 7 and 13-3 in next 16 games
June 17-30: Reds went 4-9 > went 9-2 in next 11 games
July 16-21: Reds lose 4 of 5 > went 12-4 in next 16 games

The Reds and Cardinals have both been teams with a lot of ups and downs this season. The Reds remaining schedule is the Pirates (6), Nationals (4) and White Sox (2). The Cardinals remaining schedule is the Brewers (7) and Cubs (7).

There has been a lot of negative energy around the Reds over the last few weeks. It is understandable that many have lost their optimism and good vibes. For me personally, there have only been 6 seasons in the last 20 years where the Reds were anywhere even close to 3.0 back with 12 games to play. I hope that the next 20 years provide a lot more pennant chases, but history has taught me to cherish it while we have it. The Reds have fought back from so much this season. They gained 8.0 games on the Cardinals in 15 days from May 30-June 13. The Reds were 9.5 games behind the Padres on July 1st. Let’s see if the Reds have one more rollercoaster hill in their favor.

73 Responses

  1. Mark A Verticchio

    Like I have been saying it’s not likely, but stranger things have happened. I agree we will know soon, the Reds must start to win now. The biggest problem is at this time the Reds are very beat up and no one is swinging a red hot bat. I also agree with you that as painful as the last month has been it’s better than being out of the race in July which is where the team has been since 2013. Thanks for a good write up.

    • Rob

      Well said. The other potential problem is the starting pitching. While it has been solid lately, the Nats, Chisox, and Pirates are all capable of the 7-8-9 run game, especially with Miley and the home issues of Mahle. In fact, I would almost expect this to occur 2-3 times over the next 7. We have not won any of these type games lately and I can almost guarantee that we will need to win a few of the high scoring games down the stretch to go 9-3. Yeah, if we were hitting, I would feel more comfortable here. I agree with the author that we will not face overall good pitching down the stretch but I think you can also expect a couple games where we will be held down to a couple of runs as well as a couple games when the other guy gets 7-8 or more. Point being to win 9 out of 12, you will need to win a couple games where the other guy holds you down or racks up a bunch of runs. The math just doesn’t work any other way.

  2. Steven Ross

    Optimism is a wonderful trait but reality tells me, it’s over. Turn out the lights…

    • Luke J

      Wrong, pessimism tells you it’s over. Reality says anything can happen in 12 baseball games with 4 teams this close to each other. Reality has proven over and over again, season after season, that it is far from over.

      • Jack Bimber

        I like reality. So, let’s have a look at reality. The Reds are four games over .500, and over a 150-game stretch, that means average. Just average. Reality predicts 7-5 and a trip home. I have loved the Reds for half a century and I want them to win. However, I have seen this script before. We all have. Their big players are not coming up big in tough spots, and I’m guessing that won’t change. It’s just really hard for me to see how this average team is going to be great all of a sudden.

  3. LDS

    Good article Nick but you easily win the Reds Most Optimistic Fan Award this year. Hope you’re right but at this point, beating out the Padres may be the best we can hope for.

    • greenmtred

      I’m a pessimist by nature. The glass is 1/8th full, and so on. As others have noted, the hitting, which was a strength, has collapsed, partly due to Winker’s absence and, probably, partly due to fatigue and the fact that all hitters are streaky. That said, what goes down can go back up, and the Reds have been substantially better than I expected before the season, so I’m not giving up hope (hope is cheap) for this season or seasons to come.

  4. Bob Purkey

    Nick: Come on. . . Hopeful??? it is beyond over. Put Farmer @ 3rd, Barrero @ SS, Stevenson @ C and Friedel in CF and move on. See what you’ve got, if anything.

    • Rob

      Come on. We already know what we have in all of the above and 8-10 games ain’t going to change that. Yeah, one of these guys could go a hot streak and make you think they are better than they are. If you are right and this thing is over, then this is going to be a very difficult period for Bell, Votto, etc. We will have blown it and there will be disinterest among more veteran players and fans. “I have confidence in these guys” will be history.

      • Daytonnati

        What if “these guys” don’t have any confidence in him, per Jim Walker’s “lost clubhouse” theory regarding the acquisition of Cabrera and benching of Barrero?

      • Bob Purkey

        Could these guys do any worse than Geno, Moose and DeShilds? Those are the guys that put the Reds in this situation.

    • Don

      I think that is the lineup to put on the field if you want to have a chance win.

      The players currently playing at 3rd, C and CF have proven they are not the offensive solution for 2021 or the future.

      • greenmtred

        Barnhart is not doing so badly. Farmer at third and Barrero at short might help, but Barrero’s iconic status here has to do with dreams and minor league stats: he might be an improvement over Suarez and Moose, but what he’s had is one good game and nothing since: small sample size, to be sure, but he looked completely overwhelmed yesterday. Giving him playing time makes some sense on several levels, but it’s no certainty that he’ll be an improvement for the balance of this season. Moose, after all, is showing signs of life, and Suarez has 26 homers and has been drawing walks here and there.

    • Jim Walker

      Doing this would win them as many and probably more games than sticking to the same old same old which has failed them in the last month.

    • PTBNL

      So you are saying “wave the white flag”…yeah, that will go over good with fans and sponsors.

  5. Dennis Westrick

    I like the way you think Nick! In addition to the remaining games against the sub-500 Pirates and Nats, the Reds will play 2 games against the White Sox who will have already clinched their Division. Hopefully the Chisox will be resting some of their starters and getting set up for their playoff run! Bottom line is the Reds need to win as many of their remaining games as possible and force the other teams to win. Maybe we can get some help from the Brewers and the Stupid Cubbies?

  6. Bill J

    Nick, you can’t help thinking some things like the good runs after the bad runs you gave in your story but, when everyone keeps saying the end of the Reds schedule is easy, it sounds like baseball made up a schedule for the Reds to win.

  7. Ken

    All the numbers you throw out there have no meaning. Win, win, win and the rest will take care of itself. Don’t give me this “Reds have the easiest remaining schedule” rubbish. How easy did Pittsburgh look last week?

  8. Roger Garrett

    Reds can still do it but Bell has to put his best players on the field or at least his best athletes.We have been through this time after time and its just not going to happen.The front office or Bell or somebody still believes Suarez will come around or that Moose will suddenly get healthy and be able to move and throw.They obviously don’t believe Barrero can help at all after performing at AAA and showing flashes of his speed and defense and hitting.Friedl showed something yesterday and Ty Steve has hit all year long.I just don’t get it that nobody feels the young guys need more playing time.Maybe next year but in all honesty if the older guys are back next year we will see the same thing again.The Cards have Molina,Nolan and Goldy and a bunch of young kids that bring energy and excitement.We could have that as well.Play Farmer/Shrock,Casty and Joey and the youngsters and see what happens

    • Luke J

      To be fair, Suarez did get pretty hot in September. Which, of course, meant Bell had to stop putting him in the lineup for him to cool off. Now that he’s sufficiently chilled, he’ll probably start every game from here on out. lol

  9. Melvin

    I’m all for optimism Nick. I’m all for throwing out all of the negatives and going for it anyway. Let’s win.

  10. Mark Moore

    It’s a good and hopeful perspective. Reality may well play out something different. I ended up cancelling the trip I was going to make for multiple reasons. I’ll still watch (and comment) but I don’t have nearly as much hope as you do at this point. We are who we’ve shown ourselves to be in this latest stretch. And I think most of the guys are just plain out of gas.

  11. CFD3000

    I remain optimistic. Do I think a WC is likely? No. Possible? Definitely. The Cardinals have been good and a little lucky at just the right time. I don’t think that lasts. But more importantly no matter what we fans think, the Reds themselves both want to win and expect to win. And fortunately they have an easier schedule to do just that.

    I’d like to see Barrero, Stephenson, and Friedl (more for his energy than anything else) get relatively more playing time, Suarez and Moustakas and Deshields relatively less, and Cabrera none at all. I’d like to see more Santillan and less Gutierrez. The Reds won’t run the table, but 8-10 wins is doable IMO. And wouldn’t that be fun? India, Castellanos, Votto – how about one stretch run for 2021? Castillo, Gray, Mahle and Miley – how about answering the bell? Gain a game (or two!) tonight and tomorrow and I promise you there will be more optimists on this site. But there already 28 optimists in the Reds clubhouse. Go Reds!

  12. Hotto4Votto

    I’ll keep following along, even if it’s painful at times. The guys on the team have continued to fight all season and have made it interesting down the stretch. I’ll stick with them and root for the unlikely to happen.
    Unfortunately, the ownership and FO have hamstrung the team from the start. Decimating the bullpen without finding legitimate replacements, not finding an everyday SS, not addressing the gaping hole at 3B, playing a man down multiple times instead of quicker IL decisions, holding onto retread relievers who weren’t getting it done, and optioning promising talent in favor of retreads like Cabrera and DeShields. The ownership and FO have done the bare minimum to help this team out, and as a result we’re kralling to the finish line.

    • Daytonnati

      I see what you did there 🙂 Nice.

      • Hotto4Votto

        I can’t take credit for it, as I’ve seen it written on here previously. But it does fit, so I’ll use it.

    • Jim Walker

      @ Hotto> The scarier thing looking ahead is that the FO/ PoBO actually believe they have done the right things and they just didn’t work out. Multiply this by ongoing housecleaning reorganization in the minor league system.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yeah, there does seem to be some cognitive dissonance involved in the FO. I really don’t like the reorganization/change of direction that appears to be occurring within the development system. I fear we’ll end up with more insular hires like Larkin, which I would not look forward to.

      • Scott C

        That is that problem in a nutshell. The front office and ownership will be happy if every year we are just a few games out of the WC, fans will be in the stands and the will be making money.

      • VegasRed

        Yes, the FO and tinker must believe they are doing things correctly. It’s absolutely incredible they could think that way IMO, yet what else could explain it?

        They are so mindnumbingly clueless I should be rotflmbo but somehow just can’t.

    • Scott C

      Where did you learn to tell puns like that?

  13. Votto4life

    Right now, I’m I am more concerned about what happens after the season and moving forward.

  14. realist

    I have found that to be a baseball fan in Cincinnati is to watch them on local cable TV during the regular season and follow the minor league system but do not have unrealistic expectations. Then pick a post season team that can realistically win year in and year out. Don’t hate the teams that are good year in an year out, just enjoy rooting for another team after the Reds bottom out which they always do. The Reds under Big Bob will never win consistently because he doesn’t understand how to be a winning owner. He is incompetent and the guys he hires will not be successful because he doesn’t understand how to win.

  15. Gonzo Reds

    How many lefty SP are the Pirates and Nats going to throw at us over the next week? We’ve seen it doesn’t matter what their ERAs are.

    • Nick Kirby

      Honestly, without Winker and Naquin, I think the Reds might have just as much trouble with RHP than LHP. I know that sounds crazy after what we have saw this year, but Castellanos, India, Stephenson, Farmer, Suarez, Aquino, DeShields and Cabrera all have better career numbers vs LHP. The reality is the Reds are probably at best an average overall offense without Winker and Naquin. I’m just hoping average is enough to beat the Pirates & Nationals the next 10 games.

  16. Jim Walker

    Those of us on Twitter know Nick has been the #1 Reds optimist all season long. From early on when nobody else believed this team could get up off the mat thru the month long downturn the Reds are currently in, Nick has held fast. For him as much as for the team and more than for the rest of us, I’m hoping for a favorable Reds outcome 2 weeks from now.

  17. TR

    My opinion is the Reds would not now be on WC2 life-support if they had decided to go Young Core from late August/September, meaning Barrero at shortstop and Farmer at third base with Stephenson catching or at first base. But the veterans had to be played, so here we are.

  18. Old Big Ed

    The Reds stand very little chance of winning the Wild Card game against either the Giants or Dodgers, and then turning around and beating the other in a 5-game series. Even if they did, they would face the Brewers or the Braves, both of which are better than the Reds. The good news is that the Cardinals are in the same spot.

    The Reds, at best, the 5th best team in the National League, which is better than being the 13th best team in the NL like they have been all too recently.

    The reason to be optimistic is that it has become blatantly obvious even to the dubious cast running this franchise what this team’s weaknesses are:

    1. The Reds are too old and slow. They can use Winker and Votto going forward, but Suarez and Moustakas are finished, but still very expensive. The goal should be to get them in some semblance of physical fitness over the off-season, hope that they look better in spring training, and palm them off to whoever is willing to take on the biggest part of their contracts. Replace Suarez and Moustakas with younger guys like Lopez and Friedl, who is better at all phases of baseball than Akiyama.

    2. The Reds are terrible defensively. Jose Garcia is the best defensive shortstop in the system, and probably the best centerfielder outside of the offensively-challenged Michael Siani. Start him 150 games. Senzel, if his mind and body are right, can play third or center, although I expect him to be traded. Winker and/or Votto (an excruciatingly bad defensive player) can man 1B and DH, and can sit trade off sitting against LH pitching.

    3. The Reds run the bases like a Pony League team.

    4. The entire lineup, outside of Stephenson and sometimes Votto, stinks at situational hitting. They don’t scratch out enough runs, and are too homer-reliant.

    The pitching actually seemed to work itself out by the end of the year. The bullpen still needs some attention, because I don’t expect Lorenzen back, but the present cast at least has a chance to be plausible next year. Miley is only good for about 24 starts, but the rotation is decent.

    I would explore a trade with the Angels, who seem to be a good trade partner with the Reds. The Angels have big contracts with Trout and Rendon, and will have to start planning for an extension for Ohtani. They need to win now, and need starting pitching. The Reds could offer Senzel and Mahle for Jo Adell, with some other parts thrown in.

    • Rob

      You hit the nail on the head on 2 of the Reds deficiencies. Speed and defense. We should identify 3B and 1-2 OFs who can bring such without decimating the roster too much. We can probably lose 1 starter, Nick, and Wink. Nick’s salary will cover 1-2 very nice free agent acquisions. Wink and Sonny should easily draw equal talent in return. I would keep Naquin, Senzel, and Farmer …all have reasonable speed and defense. So I think that leaves us short 1 starting pitcher, backup catcher, and 2-3 replacement bullpen pieces. Enough to catch the Brewers? Don’t know but sure believe this speedier, more defensive team would give us a better chance than the slower Moose, Barny,Geno, Wink, Nick give us today.

      • LDS

        Remember a fish rots from the head. Today’s line up being a good example. DeShields hits about 50 pts lower than AA which is a sad statement. And again, neither Votto or Suarez can hit lefties with any frequency while Stephenson sits with a .280 vs. LHers and .279 vs right. As I’ve said for months, the Reds will not win if Bell is calling the shots.

    • Jim Walker

      Senzel, what a mess of a situation this is. First off I wish him a career that at least hints at what he was projected to have when drafted and that a substantial portion of it is in a Reds uniform. This said I am not optimistic about his career being with the Reds.

      If arbitration survives into the next CBA in anything resembling its current form, Senzel is going to be a Super2 eligible guy this offseason (1.150 years/days of MLB service time at the start of this season plus a full year for 2021 puts him there without a doubt. He is basically a Kris Bryant situation less an insignificant 21 days).

      And thus the trouble starts. There was some undercurrent that the Reds move to activate and option Senzel when he indicated he was ready to play was with the intent of denying him enough service time in 2021 to reach the Super2 status by having him finish out the season either in at the AAA level or subsequently on the minor league injured list where he would NOT earn MLB service time.

      Whatever the Reds intent, Senzel’s agent Scott Boras moved in and put the kibosh to the situation by winning an agreement from the Reds that Senzel would be returned to the MLB level IL because obviously, he was not healthy enough to play.

      What is the Reds next move here? Is there a workable level of trust remaining between the player and the team? How much does a team offer an arbitration eligible guy who has literally spent more MLB service time on the IL than on the active roster in the process of becoming arbitration eligible? If Senzel won’t sign on the cheap, is he worth an arbitration level offer or might they just cut bait and non-tender him? Might not it be more palatable to take on someone else’s high profile problem child in a trade ahead of the tender date?

      • old-school

        @ Jim

        Im not a CBA/arbitration/service time analyst by any stretch but how much is Senzel worth before an arbitrator? If Lorenzen and Givens were $ 4 mil in their A3 year and Winker 3 mil in his A1 year and Mahle $2 mil in his A1 year and Garrett $1.1 mil in his A2 year, Senzel cant be much more than major league minimum? So he makes $800k? That doesnt break the budget, even the lowly Reds budget.

      • Jim Walker

        OS> The issue from the Reds side is they have to set their final offer without knowing what the player is going to ask for. Then the arbitrator will choose which amount and not a middle ground between them.

        So if the Reds have offered maybe $800K ahead of the formal tender date and that’s been rejected what do they do? They either offer arbitration being blind to what Boras will formally ask for or they non-tender the player.

        If they offer arbitration they do not have to reveal their final amount immediately and can continue to negotiate but knowing that once the “final” official figures are exchanged in January, either the player’s amount or the team’s amount will be the salary since the Reds policy is to not negotiate once the “final” figures are exchanged.

        This brings a final issue. Senzel has played in a total of ~190 games at all levels over the last 3 years (2019-21). Even if healthy he may require substantial minor league time to play himself back game conditions.

        Contracts awarded via arbitration are NOT split / two way contracts; and, Boras certainly isn’t going to let his client sign a split contract ahead of possible arbitration unless he believes there is a very real chance the player will be non-tendered instead of being offered arbitration and that he cannot do better for his player elsewhere on the open market. Thus while the Reds could option him to play his way into condition, they would be paying him MLB money to do so. At some point, the team may look at the guy’s body of work and injury history and simply decide to move on.

  19. old-school

    The biggest reason to be optimistic is 7 games in a row at GABP against the Pirates and Nats.
    Reds have struggled to score but they can hit home runs and score 5 runs a game against mediocre pitching in GABP while their starting pitching is still fairly solid.

    If the Reds go 6-1 on the home stand and this time next week are 83-74, I like their chances. But its going to require a hot week of baseball to get it done.

  20. wizeman

    My concern is not that Bell has lost the locker room… but that lack of activity by the front office has deflated much of the core. Build a team that operates on the tip of the pin due to lack of depth and injuries decimate you. Votto, Castellanos, Winker, Moustakos, Senzel , Gray, Lorenzen and Antone miss significant amounts of time. Too much for a team like the Reds.
    The organizational changes made have advertised that Bell will not be renewed. You know that Boddy knew it was coming… he was talking to other organizations. Had to have permission.
    You should cringe when you see Jocketty and Castellini in the owners box. Two guys who the game has passed by. Barry Larkin is going to be the next manager of the Reds because Castellini thinks that is what the fans want. It is going to be a disaster. I firmly believe that they have handcuffed Bell.
    I do think that a GM with some chops can start a retooling. Castellanos not coming back. Going to have to market a pitcher… Castillo or Gray most likely…perhaps Mahle to fill a void. Maybe to the DBacks for Marte. But you will have to add aprospect and they would have to eat part of Moustakos salary. With the DH… don’t need three lefties suited for that role. Winker and Votto will be fine.
    Senzel is your third baseman. Farmer back to a utility guy playing 90 games anywhere…including left at times. Barrero the shorstop…. every day.
    Castellanos money off the books…A significant portion of Moose off. Do not pick up option on Miley…. DFA Garrett…. cant do anything about Akiyama. Suarez gets a shot at DH against lefties.
    Try and resign Lorenzen. You have 2 of the three big time starters…. Gutierrez, Santillian… Greene and Lodolo. Try and resign Givens. Pick up Barnharts option.
    40 million off the books. Then go to work. A dream… perhaps.
    Mama Cass already singing guys.

  21. CI3J

    If anyone cares to go back and check my post history, they will find that, even before the season began, I was advocating for the Reds to do a soft reboot. My mantra was, and still is: “This team, as currently constructed, is not good enough to win the World Series, and maybe not even good enough to make the playoffs.” I was shouted down on this site, with people saying “The Reds are close, why not go for it?” or “I’m sick of always putting our hopes on prospects, we have MLB players now, this is our chance!”

    People seemed to always misunderstand what I was getting at.

    What I was advocating for, was to trade away Castellanos, Suarez, Castillo, and Gray, with whatever prospects needed (except for Barrero, Santillan, Lodolo, or Green) to bring in the missing pieces the Reds needed. The Reds have an outfield problem. Besides Winker, they don’t really have any reliable, dependable outfielders. Naquin might be a good solution going forward, but he should be 4th choice, not a starter, on a contending team.

    What I wanted the Reds to do was create their infield and rotation of the future. My dream infield of the future:

    1B Winker
    2B India
    SS Barrero
    3B Sanzel
    C Stephenson

    Then trade the above mentioned names for young outfield help.

    The rotation of the future should be:

    SP Greene
    SP Lodolo
    SP Santillan
    SP Mahle
    SP Guiterrez

    You can keep Miley and another jouneyman pitcher while you wait for them to arrive, but 3/5 of them are already MLB pitchers.

    The Reds had a chance to remake their team for the future. They could have gotten something for Castellanos if they had traded him to a contender. Instead they will lose him for nothing. If they trade Gray and Castillo now, they will be selling low compared to what they could have gotten if they had moved sooner. Suarez might have been a decent “change of scenery” player last offseaon, but I don’t think anyone would give anything for him now.

    The Reds had their chance. They could have really done something amazing and built a sustainable model for a small market team, like the Cards always seem to do: Get young, amazing players on cheap contracts, sign a few to big deals, trade the rest away for more young, amazing players on cheap contracts. That’s how you reload, and not rebuild.

    Instead, we got this mess of a half-measure season. Yeah, the Reds can possibly win the second WC. Whoop dee doo, so what? They will just get embarrassed in the playoffs yet again by the superior teams they would be playing against. Have we as Cincinnati Reds fans set our expectations so low that just MAKING the playoffs is considered good enough now? Dusty Baker did that, and he got fired for it.

    The Reds need a true visionary, proactive GM, not a GM who is always reacting. You want a GM that will build the ship right, not one who keeps patching holes in the hull as the whole thing sinks. The Reds had their chance last offseason and at this trade deadline. After seeing what they decided to do, I reluctantly tried to support them, but I will always believe this season was a massive, massive missed opportunity to fundamentally change the Cincinnati Reds as an organization.

    • wkuchad

      Castellanos was hurt at the trade deadline and untradeable.

      • CI3J

        Yes, I remember that. If you go back to the trade deadline threads, you’ll see me lamenting that fact. When it comes to Castellanos and Suarez, it would have been much better to trade them last winter.

      • CI3J

        Would that I could, but I’m not part of the Cincinnati Reds “family”, so they wouldn’t even consider me.

    • TR

      Cl3J: Selling high is not easy, especially in MLB. Although Cincinnati and the surrounding area has changed considerably in the last 20 to 30 years, the old saying ‘Solid Conservative Cincinnati’ still has relevance. Although the Reds trained in Tampa for 45 years, Reds baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays, for example, operate from different points of view. The Reds are more traditional and the Rays are more oriented to change and youth. Changing baseball culture is difficult.

    • Bill J

      I said something similar but, I would have liked the to trade, if possible, Suarez after 2019 season to the Braves who were looking for a 3rd baseman for Pacheco or Waters both outfielders & pitcher Muller. CI3J, just my opinion but right now the Reds have 3 players I don’t think we could get much for Moose, Senzel & Suarez & not sure about Winker, it seems he has been on the IL list every year this year when he was really needed.

    • citizen54

      Yup we called it. This isn’t a playoff team; it never was. The Reds went into the year as an average team and sometimes average teams outperform their metrics but eventually they regress to their level of talent. Despite scoring a lot of runs, the Reds offense is average weighing in at 99 wRC+. The starting pitching is a little better than average but the bottom 10 bullpen drags the pitching into mediocrity. If you want to be optimistic, then you can say the Reds are still performing better than their level of talent.

      It’s not Bells’ fault that the roster is thin in talent. If you want to blame someone blame Williams or Krall although I think Williams should get 90% of the blame. The Reds went all in with splashy trades and free agent signings and lost the house. Really, no one should be shocked at where the Reds are now. Last year’s team, as sad as that sounds, was the party. This year and the next couple of years is the hangover.

  22. SultanofSwaff

    I’m too loyal (and old) to find another team to root for. Like Nick, I’m grateful for meaningful September baseball. Like they say, the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference. It’s cool that I still care enough with 2 weeks to go to be both mad and glad about this team.

    Has the team been this interesting since 2012? I think not. Enjoy!

  23. Kevin H

    Reds picked a bad time to start losing games and series. It happens in baseball. Will the cards keep winning? Unlikely, but if they do kudos to them. Can The Reds win 6 in a row? Absolutely, I still believe this team can get hot and real off 6 or 7 in a row. Two weeks left and still talking playoff baseball. Good times

  24. old-school

    Raining and forecast into the evening. Could be a late start and a late finish.

  25. Ahimsa

    “So you’re telling me THERE’S a chance”?

    -Lloyd Christmas

  26. Jim

    Don’t know why the obsession with Senzel. You have him for a couple of weeks every year. You have to have a really good plan for a backup wherever you play him.

  27. Mark A Verticchio

    Still starting DeShields in left field, I would rather stick Stephenson out there. DeShields is not a major league player. Yet another example why Bell must go. Does he not want to upset his first base coach? Either Bell doesn’t care if he gets fired or he thinks his dad will save him, either case sets poorly for the Reds organization and I for one am sick and tired of it. Hopefully only 12 more games with this joke.

    • Dennis Westrick

      Agree with you 100% Mark! There have been a minimum of 20 games this season that the Reds lost due to Bell’s “tinkering” and/or mis-management! Bell’s management “style” is akin to looking for the light switch in a dark dynamite storage room with a lighted road flare! Yes, the BP was a disaster the first half of the season and that is on the FO. My major concern with Bell is his apparent lack of focus when a SP is struggling. Bell always seems to wait one (1) batter too late to make a pitching change. And his double-switching” is beyond obsessive! Ready for a managerial change regardless of how this season ends up!

      • Doug Gray

        This is absolutely crazy talk, Dennis. There is no way on this planet that a manager is worth 20 wins in one direction or the other unless they are literally trying to lose. If the Padres manager purposefully benched Tatis and Machado for every game and never played them – that probably isn’t costing the Padres 20 games.

  28. JB

    Like I’ve said before, as long Barnhart is on this team, he will get the majority of the starts over Stephenson. Rediculous. Starting Barnhart against a lefty and Stephenson sits. When Be was hired people were happy because he was an analytics guy. When does that start?

  29. Grand Salami

    TOS and there is no excuse for seeing Stephenson ride the pine. I would rather see Stephenson out there and the best defender/worst bat in CF than Friedl/DeShields combo

    • burtgummer01

      No reason ? Really him being injured isn’t a reason ??
      The ignorance is truly numbing

      • greenmtred

        burtgummer01, you’re trying to deprive them of their favorite narrative!!

      • Grand Salami

        The lineup preceded the announcement.

  30. Old Big Ed

    Stephenson is on the Covid list. Kolozsvary called up.

  31. Mark A Verticchio

    I agree guys Stephenson not starting, and DeShields is, what a joke. It never ends with Bell, hopefully his days are numbered as a manager.

  32. Mark A Verticchio

    And the hits just keep on coming.