Funny thing about baseball is that no matter how good you look on paper, you never know what the season will entail. Take for instance the 2012 Cincinnati Reds. Making big splashes in trades, Free Agency and Signings yet at 7-9 still find themselves 4 games behind those pesky dead birds who sit at 11-5.
Remember that Madson deal that no one could believe happened? An actual World Series Closer with overpowering stuff to replace Oh-No Cordero, had Reds Fans including this guy extremely optimistic heading into the upcoming season. An ace of a setup man (Sean Marshall) acquired from the Cubs who are in rebuild mode, again had us ready to shout World Series Contender without ever even having seen the team play one inning.. The Reds solidified their starting rotation trading away Volquez and a bunch of our prized prospects for Matt Latos (another top of the rotation type arm). If Matt can calm down and focus on pitching instead of performing for the fans I think he will be fine.
Then the BIG news came in the form of a 200+ million dollar contract to Joey Votto. Say What? Our small market team just spent what to keep our in house All-Star talent here? But that should’ve been the writing on the wall to our beloved second baseman BP (Brandon Phillips) right? But no Castellini opened his wallet and said I want to keep this core group of guys around for many a playoff runs and signed Phillips to a 6yr deal. That was the end of the optimism… for now anyways.
Spring training came and cost us Ryan Madson before he ever even got going. His Tommy John surgery will hopefully help him regain his magic and hopefully that will come in a Reds uniform in 2013, but odds are he could sign elsewhere just as easy. Then Nick Masset got hurt and it was announced that the pitcher would miss the start of the season. Oh no he we go again, such potential falling apart in front of our faces. Our bullpen which seemed so “sure thing” suddenly became a sore subject. To alleviate the concerns Dusty did what most of us feared and moved Chapman “Our Cuban Missile” to the bullpen again. Yes, That’s the same Cuban missile who we paid an arm and a leg for to be our top of the rotation type starter with a 106mph fastball. Don’t get me wrong he’s been great, but in order for the Reds to get what they paid for he needs to be a starter. Can you imagine his stuff over 6-7innings of work? Sick!!
So, Opening Day came and Fans rejoiced. Streets were crowed with Reds fans for the parade and the ballpark was sold out.. If only every game could be this packed, those contracts of Votto and Phillips wouldn’t impact the bottom line at all. But as true every season, Reds fans show up for the big games but not the rest.. It doesn’t help that the Reds are not playing above .500 ball and their bats aren’t producing. The Reds should be AND are better than what they are playing but by the time they turn it around will it be too late?
Enter back in this fans optimism. The Reds have shown lately that they can overcome losses and don’t let it get to them. They took the final game against the dead birds in St. Louis and then 2 of 3 from the Cubs in Chicago. Now the San Francisco Giants (7-7) come to Cincinnati for a 3 game series and hopefully the Reds can send them on their way without a win. Overall this 9 game home stand by the Reds (vs Giants, Astros and Cubs) could be the launching pad they need to get them back into the contender role.