UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, with no game, but a nice night of reading my Kindle and watching Everybody Loves Raymond re-runs. He’s a sports writer who never works. How’d I miss that part of this job?
In these times of instant gratification, it is normal for baseball fans to contemplate hemlock when their local nine rumbles to a rocky start.
And such is the case with fans of the Cincinnati Reds, a team that recently invested the gross national product of Chile into two players.
And in the off-season, the team made deals and signings that pumped up fandom into thinking this team might easily win 105 games without really trying.
AS ANY TRUE fan realizes, baseball doesn’t work that way. And a 3-6 start isn’t evidence enough to click off the TV and say, “No more. I’m not watching any more of this.”
It was, of course, disconcerting to watch the Reds flop and flail in Washington, D.C. over the weekend, losing the first three games, twice in extra innings.
They avoided a four-game sweep and a 2-7 start by beating the Nationals on Sunday in 11 innings.
NOW WHAT? IT’S off to St. Louis to play the defending World Series champions and the only team of six in the National League Central with a winning record (7-3).
The three-game series, beginning Tuesday night, is the second series between the two contenders in a week’s time. The Cardinals visited Cincinnati last week and took two of three.
If there is anybody who doesn’t carry a panic button in the back pocket of his baseball pants, it is Reds manager Dusty Baker.
“Baseball is a marathon, a 27-mile run,” he said. “We’re only a bout a mile-and-a-half into the season. No, it is not fun to watch right now, but that’s when you have to scratch and claw. It is when you have to get down the bunts, hit sacrifice flies, take the extra base and do all the little things that help you win.”
IF IT IS TIME to develop worry lines, then fans should look all over the country.
The Los Angeles Angels invested $300 million in first baseman Albert Pujols and another large chuck of change in pitcher C.J. Wilson. The Angeles are 3-6 and in last place in the American League Central.
The Miami Marlins plunked down heavy duty cash on shortstop Jose Reyes and pitcher Mark Buehrle. The Marlins are 4-6 and in last place in the National League East.
The three teams deemed the class of the American League Central, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, all are .500 or under and are in third, fourth and fifth in the American League East, behind Balitmore and Toronto.
THE SAN FRANCISCO Giants, picked to win the National League West by most observers, are 4-4 and next to last in the National League West.
The Philadelphia Phillies, armed better than Machinen Gun Kelly ever was with a pitching staff to kill, are 4-5 and next-to-last in the National League East.
It is the time of year when the standings can turn upside down in less than a week, no time to make any rash conclusions on the ultimate outcome.
THE CARDINALS, Yankees, Red Sox and Rays all staggered out of the gate last year and spent the first half of the season last year inhabiting the lower reaches of their respective divisions, but how did that work out?
The Reds started off 5-0 last year and the Milwaukee Brewers started off 0-5. How did that turn out?
With the Reds this year, Johnny Cueto, who faces the Cardinals Tuesday night, is the only starting pitcher after two trips through the rotation with a victory and he did that on Opening Day. Will that continue? Absolutely not.
Absolutely, the Reds right now are Team Slump, a .205 team batting average, 27th worst of the 30 teams in the majors.
It’s a clichÃ© to say a player isn’t hitting his weight, but the Reds have a plethora of them: Willie Harris (.059), Scott Rolen (.121), Drew Stubbs (.167), Devin Mesoraco (.167), Ryan Hanigan (.182), Chris Heisey (.200), Jay Bruce (.205), Wilson Valdez (.211).
Will those averages stay that low? Not even close. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. It’s a long trip and the Reds aren’t even out of the city limits yet.
NEED SOME good Ask Hal questions for Sunda’s DDN. Send ‘em by noon Thursday and there is a good chance you’ll find you question included. Send them, now, to halmccoy1Tweet