Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Good Reds, Bad Reds

Since the Reds are hovering right around the break-even mark, I'm having trouble deciding if I am optimistic or pessimistic about the rest of the season. So I have to lay it all out and come to some sort of conclusion. Good George is the optimist in me, and there are a few things that have Good George feeling that the Reds will stick around. Bad George is the pessimist in me, and there are quite a few things that have Bad George thinking the Reds won't make it back to the postseason.

Good George likes the way the Reds starting pitching has shown up lately. Johnny Cueto is throwing well, Edinson Volquez made a sweet comeback Tuesday night, Mike Leake has shown well of late, and Bronson Arroyo seems to have battled his way through back problems. So the starting pitching has made it back just in time.

Bad George thinks a few good starts is a long way from giving the Reds what they thought they had when they started the season. Because the starting pitching was so bad the bullpen was burned. You have to wonder if the bullpen will recover to become the "lights out" unit it was earlier in the season.

Good George likes the fact Jay Bruce is maturing into a fine major league player. Will he stay hot at the plate? Not as hot as he's been lately, but taking the end of last season and the first two months-plus of this season and you've got another left-handed star hitter in the lineup. Plus the Reds are near the top of the league in a lot of categories, so timely clutch hits should be around the corner.

Bad George says there are still too many holes in this lineup, and that's why the timely hits aren't there. Scott Rolen can be Mr. Clutch, but he's hurting again. He had strep throat to go on top of that ailing shoulder that landed him on the disabled list earlier this season. Bad George is worried Rolen will not get past the shoulder issue, and may not be the same at the plate from here on out. Then there's left field, and shortstop! Bad George thinks the Reds should quit fooling around and bring up Yonder Alonso to at least platoon in left.

Good George thinks the Reds still have time to get it done. It's early June so it is time to get moving. But it's not like this division is so strong that the Reds can't hang around while they find their groove. They still get good defensive play from most positions and if the pitching can be what Good George believes it is, then the Reds are around for the long haul.

Bad George thinks the Reds better get it moving, and it better happen on this road trip. Let's face it, playing good teams on the road is not what this team needs right now. They are coming off a homestand that saw 5 wins in 9 games. The Reds needed better results. The last road trip was a disaster. The Reds went 2-8 on a ten game trip to Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. The first four games of this trip take the Reds to the home of the defending World Series champions, the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are 16-10 at home this season. Then the Reds play the final three games of the trip at Los Angeles. If the Reds just lost two out of three to the Dodgers at Great American Ball Park, then how in the name of Tommy Lasorda are the Reds going to fare well at Chavez Ravine? Then they come back home to take on the American League East. Bad George ain't liking it at all.

After considering all of the above, Average George has to conclude this team is in some trouble. This road trip and the games against the American League present a stretch that can bury this team. Some things need to change. I'm generally an optimistic person and would love to side with Good George, but on this day, Bad George just makes too much sense.

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