Hunter Greene had to have imagined that it would go better than this. If his triumphant return to the mound wasn’t a win, then surely he’d at least hold his own. On this team and in this season, older men returned  gloriously (Votto, banging) and younger men began their careers in a blaze of stats (De La Cruz, breaking records people didn’t even know existed. Oh wait, there’s another one– as I was typing this, he became “the fastest player in MLB history to get 10 home runs and 20 steals within 64 games. Check my math on that. You were keeping track, right?!)

So why not Hunter Greene? Why not a quality start, a healthy collection of strikeouts, even a blanked Angels order for a few go-rounds?

I don’t know why, and I doubt he does, either. If any of us could fully explain baseball, none of us would be here; we’d have bored ourselves out of the sport decades ago.

Entire Time Zones

But instead of establishing himself as the second wind of a badly doubled-over pitching team, Greene did not distinguish himself as he’d hoped and we’d expected. It was a disaster and entire time zones were Cleting out.

The Blue Jays left with a score in the double digits and the Reds were left in third place– in other words, behind the Stupid Cubs. They are 65-61 on the season, however, and we must continually remind ourselves that we’d have been ecstatic with that kind of winning percentage in April.

I wish I were here to type a lot of lovely words about how Hunter Greene’s return is just what this ballclub needed, that he threw beautifully and his return was exquisitely timed. But I think we know that reality has to creep in at some point. The man lasted three innings and the already-strained bullpen was on the hook again.

Who’s Coming to Rescue Us?

No one is coming to rescue this pitching staff; they are just going to have to continue rescuing everybody else until their arms fall off or the season ends. Both outcomes look to be approaching at an equal pace.

I could say that no one’s coming to rescue the fandom, either, but we can goshdarn well rescue ourselves, can’t we– any of us can go right back to not caring or pushing down a rising sense of being outright offended. I know where I’d rather be, and it’s with my hands in the shrug-emoji position over why Joey Votto’s return to the field was so spectacular while Hunter Green’s was so spectacularly bad.

The Way Forward

Maybe his hip isn’t as healed as everyone thought it was; maybe he underestimated the Cleteing power of Canada. Maybe his hip is fine but his mindset isn’t. Perhaps he spent six innings watching his teammates try to dig themselves out of a 9-run hole and started to figure it all out.

But even if he hasn’t, this is what’s important: I saw the RiverFest tee shirts in Kroger’s this week and the Reds are relevant. We are on the leading edge of September and a lot of people are actually checking in on the Reds. This city spent several years actively trying to forget we even had a team by the time the Opening Day Parade went back in the garage.

It was a collapse, yes. But a collapse with consequences is better than a collapse we aren’t around to even care about.

30 Responses

  1. LDS

    The Reds have largely collapsed since the Bell extension. Predictable as sunrise. Greene coming back now is about ticket sales not being ready. And we fans continue to reward mediocrity with our attention. Sad for us but good for Bob.

    • mac624

      Which is also right before India and Fraley went down. Fraley was the best offensive player on the team, but hey, let’s just pile on the manager. We would have won more games with those 2 in the lineup especially Fraley. There’s no question. So, it’s hard to put 100% of the blame on Bell. I truly believe it’s injuries to key players, and not the manager, that has made the season go as it has, both good and bad. When all things are equal, and people are healthy, that is the best time to judge a manager, but it’s not when leaders and very good players are hurt and not available.

      • VottoMatic99

        This team has been collapsing since the pre-All Start break Brewers series.

      • LDS

        I would agree with you had we not seen this play out year after year.

  2. Brayan

    What the devil does cleating around mean? And what is the Cleteing power of Canada?
    Use English!

  3. GJF

    Read the boldface link.
    Now if I only knew the derivation of TOOTBLAN…

    • TR

      The only derivation of the word toot I can find is tooter.

      • oklared

        thrown out on basepaths like a nincompoop.

  4. Mark Moore

    Key phrase here … “until their arms fall off or the season ends” … 😮

    We endure because that’s who we are and what we do. I keep trying to put memories of 2021 behind me, but that’s a tough proposition. Still, we endure.

    Maybe we catch some lightening in a bottle on this trip and return home in better shape. Maybe we don’t. I think Greene will be fine next season and we’ll (perhaps) see some forward progress in his upcoming starts.

    So much “it could have been” … and I keep reminding myself we weren’t expecting to be here at this point.

    • David

      Wayne Granger pitched in 90 games for the Reds in 1969.

      Teams are using relievers more (hence, the 13 man pitching staff) and most starters rarely go more than 5 or 6 innings.

      It’s not just the Reds. And I think it’s weird. I can remember when the ace starters of the league would pitch 300 innings a year.

      • Mark Moore

        Yep. I’m approaching 60 and remember those days as well. Seaver, Ryan, Carlton … an era long gone.

      • Jim

        Carlton went 27-10 on really bad ’72 Phillies team, they won 59. And then there was Wilbur Wood.

  5. Rednat

    i am not as concerned about “the pitching” as i am “the hitting”.

    the reds have done a pretty good job of drafting and developing pitchers. also resurrecting careers of older pitchers they pick up with the “dumpster diving” they do. for the most part our starters are doing the job of keeping us in the game.

    the offense worries me. i have a feeling we have a bunch of Billy Hamilton’s and Aquino’s on our roster. hopefully these youngsters develop and become all stars but lets just say I am not holding my breath.

    • mac624

      I think that’s why so many of the younger guys are now playing. They need to see if they have developmental stars, or as you say, a bunch of Billy Hamilton’s. The next 6 weeks are key to what they try to do in the offseason in my opinion. Another bull pen arm and a starter arm are probably needed, but will they dive into a veteran power bat to supplement everyone or just go with what they have is the bigger question in my mind.

      • Mark Moore

        Irony of ironies … BHam is available as of today 😀

    • Justin T

      Which pitchers were drafted and developed here?

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      A good point. It’s more an issue of “the hitting” being not at all consistent. But when it’s there… it’s there.

  6. Scott C

    This team may tank the rest of the year but I agree this year has been probably the best year the Reds have had since 2012. This team IS exciting to watch and I believe is only going to get better. I agree with mac24, the loss of India and Fraley were big blows to this team, probably more so when Fraley went down because we lost a left handed power bat in the middle of the lineup. Credit to Nick Krall for building this team. I think Greene will figure it out.

    • Justin T

      +1000 Harry Stoner has nailed it. I agree w everything you said especially the part about it being 2024 before he moved him out of that spot.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Agreed, Scott. Tonight’s loss was annoying and frustrating, but they were in it. The Reds for most of my life would have petered out completely.

  7. Rick

    Now, even Martini bats ahead of Benson. Benson must be a guy that doesn’t complain, and Bell keeps him rubber stamped into that 8th spot.

    • Mark Moore

      Frankly, I think Benson is happy to be playing in The Show. He’s definitely made the most of his second chance with the Reds this season. All despite HDTBell’s line-up maleficence

      • Rick

        Content to be up at this point, & happy as he should be for sure. Makes it easy for Bell to stick him there and keep Joey at #5.
        I would to see him hit higher to see if he’s capable of driving in more runs or atleast get on for others to drive him in.
        Of course we have no middle of the order rbi guys.

      • Harry Stoner

        FWIW Bell is clearly positioning Benson in the lineup for strategic purposes, and not out of neglect or punishment.

        This clearly goes against existing baseball “logic” but there is some rationale behind putting a high OB hitter ahead of your 1-2-3 hitters.

        And by not aligning your 3 worst hitters at 7-8-9, which is commonly done, into a black hole.

        In 2022, the Reds black hole sometimes was 5-6-7-8-9.

        Yes, prevailing wisdom is always to get more ABs for your better hitters.

        I’m not defending Bell’s move (I’m one of his biggest, if not most vocal critics here) but I think I understand it.

        Has it led to Benson scoring more runs or prolonging innings?
        Or more rbi opportunities for Maile, Friedl and McLain?

        I don’t have the bandwidth to crunch those numbers.

        For Bell detractors (and I count myself as one) where Benson hits is a constant lightening rod.

        For me, where Votto hits and sticking EDLC or Newman at leadoff is much more egregious.

        Bell’s previous ‘clever’ strategy of using his best reliever against the better hitters rather than a classic 9th inning “closer” approach rocked a lot of RLN boats, too.

        Bell seems to have backed off that and Diaz is being used in the more familiar closer role.

        Where Benson hits doesn’t really bother me. He’s a great addition to the team and his OB skills are seeming uncanny.

        With the current offensive woes would moving him up to 5 or 6 possibly help? It wouldn’t hurt to try.

        But if Bell moved him there it would be 2024 before he switched Benson again even if he was hitting terribly.

        Bell said he doesn’t like shifting batting order around because it upsets players.

        He didn’t provide any evidence of that.

        But he’s demonstrated his love of switching players positions around as a demonstration of his ‘managing’ prowess.

        That’s all I got, and it’s not going to convince anyone.

        Benson at #8 will continue to heap scorn on Bell, but trying to make sense of Bell’s decisions, or non-decisions, is a fool’s errand.

  8. Rick

    Harry, if we could make sense of Bell’s strategy(excluding Benson hitting 8th topic), then we would be in a place that we would not want to be in. Lol
    In my 57 years of following baseball, & my decade of amateur coaching make it nearly impossible to try and understand his rationale. Pulling starters to quick and taxing the BP from the get go are baffling as well. Also, using the dh as a rest day before all of the young guys called up nixed that, imo has shown up as a fatigue factor that we are seeing.