Reds Review/Preview: Week 3

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Results: 7-6 loss to Cubs; 3-2 win over Cubs; 5-0 loss to Cubs; 6-1 loss to Cardinals; 5-2 loss to Cardinals; 2-1 loss to Cardinals.

Record // Run differential // Place in NL Central: 5-7 // minus-13 // 4th, 3.5 games back of the first-place Cardinals.

Notable performances/trends: As their slash lines indicate, Joey Votto (.364/.481/.727) and Zack Cozart (.333/.378/.476) continue to rake. Votto owns seven multi-hit games through the team’s first 12. … Saturday, Homer Bailey made his first start since Aug. 7 and went 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits, five runs (all earned), three walks, and zero strikeouts. … Anthony DeSclafani, the right-handed starter acquired in the Mat Latos trade, has been dynamite (13 innings, seven hits, two earned runs, three walks, 11 strikeouts) through two starts.

Movie quote that sums up last week: “You crapped on my heart!” — Foster, to a seemingly disingenuous Ursula in Super Troopers, which has to accurately sum up the way Reds fans currently feel about their fading ball club after a 4-0 start.

Notable Reds quote: “There’s no way to put a finger on it. When you go certain places and you win, you anticipate winning there. There’s a good feeling that you have as a team when you go into ballparks where you’ve had success in the past. I think the complete counter is our situation here. We haven’t had success here for the last several years here and I don’t think we anticipate success here, as much as we work at it.”Reds manager Bryan Price to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Cardinals ensured the Reds would drop to 3-29-2 in their last 34 series against St. Louis.

As the (Reds Lineup) World Turns: With Devin Mesoraco on the shelf, Brandon Phillips has moved into the cleanup spot. DatDude has done well so far, slashing .414/.414/.828 in 29 plate appearances in the No. 4 hole, though it should be noted that Phillips has yet to record an extra-base hit this season.

As the (Reds Leadership) World Turns: Instead of turning to a player, coach, or front office person, I’ll offer up my own leadership spiel this week. To start, the Reds shouldn’t worry about measuring up to the Cardinals. Why? Because that thought process is a wasted exercise. The Cardinals have been the better franchise for decades, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. So, Cincinnati is going to lose more than it wins vs. St. Louis over a large sample size—that’s life right now for the Reds and most teams that play the Cardinals on a regular basis. (The Cardinals are the Reds’ daddies, basically). Should the Reds be pissed about losing four of six to the Cardinals so far? Yes, but they’ve got far bigger fish to fry. They need to get healthy. They need Price and Walt Jocketty to act like they deserve their jobs when it comes to roster management and personnel decisions. In fact, every important Reds decision-maker needs to ask themselves this question: How committed am I to making sure the Reds win in 2015? If there’s any indecisiveness among that small group, then the Reds are already doomed.

Reason for optimism/PESSIMISM: In order to have a chance at sniffing the postseason, the Reds need their core guys to stay on the field. That hasn’t happened so far this season. Mesoraco (hip) hasn’t played in a week. And after not appearing at all this weekend, it appears the Reds catcher is headed for the disabled list, which probably would’ve been the prudent move prior to the start of the series since Mesoraco’s continued presence on the roster led to the team playing short-handed in St. Louis. Also, Billy Hamilton (groin) is dealing with his second boo-boo of the season, but he should be fine for tonight’s game in Milwaukee.

Who’s next?: Tonight, the Reds begin the last leg of their 10-game road trip with four games in Milwaukee. The Cubs visit Cincinnati on Friday for a trio of contests to wrap up the week. The Reds are just over halfway through their season-opening gauntlet of playing 22 straight vs NL Central competition.

Movie quote to sum up the week ahead: I…drink…your…milkshake! I drink it up!— Reds brass, channeling Daniel Day-Lewis’ character in There Will Be Blood, to Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, (probably) using intimidation instead of logic as justification for why the two young right-handers are stuck in Triple-A.

Notes from around the National League Central: Despite ESPN setting up shop at Busch Stadium, the Reds-Cardinals tilt on Sunday Night Baseball lasted only two hours and two minutes. … Jason Linden delivered a reasoned argument about why the Reds should re-sign Johnny Cueto. (He failed to convince me, however.) … Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk landed on the disabled list after going a bit too hard while getting his swoll on. (Happens to me all the time). … During the offseason, St. Louis had its analytics department crunch the numbers on the pros and cons of bunting. … Members of the 1990 World Series champion Reds will be honored this weekend, and the Reds will give away a Nasty Boys triple bobblehead Saturday. … The Cubs promoted all-world prospect Kris Bryant on Friday. In 10 major-league at-bats, Bryant has three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. … Chicago has batted its pitcher eighth to begin all 11 of its games this season. … The Pirates swept the Brewers over the weekend, outscoring Milwaukee 17-7.

Notes from around Major League Baseball: A year away from the game hasn’t hurt Alex Rodriguez so far, as the 39-year-old is slashing .316/.447/.711 in 38 at-bats with four home runs. Friday, A-Rod hit the longest home run in baseball this season. … The Royals and Athletics spent the weekend clashing like Hatfields and McCoys. … The Mets have won eight in a row, having scored the most runs and allowed the fewest runs in the NL East. … Pete Rose has reportedly been hired by FOX as an MLB analyst.


Grant Freking is a Nuxhall Way contributor and also writes for The Ohioan and Redleg Nation. You can follow him on Twitter at @GrantFreking.

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