I know it's hard to imagine your state of mind back at this point in the season in 2008, but I'm seeing some sentiment of Reds showing winning flashes, and winning games they "would not have won last year" as if this team is doing something new and different. And then I see stuff like this:
After 11 games last season, the Reds had exactly the same record as this year's team and had scored 6 more runs. More importantly, they had also surrendered 15 fewer runs on the year.
Last season, at this point the Reds were batting .248/.347/.397 as a team compared to .210/.317/.337 from the current squad. The 2008 team had more of every offensive category except for triples and hit batsmen (HAVOC!).
On the pitching side, the 2008 starters had an ERA of 3.22 after 11 games, while the bullpen was at 2.65. This year they are at 4.55 and 5.35 respectively. The big difference on pitching from last year to this year is walks as the 2009 squad has already allowed 53 of them compared to just 27 at this point last year. About the only thing this year's staff has done better is allow fewer home runs (17 last year to 12 so far this year).
So, the way I see it, you can look at this comparison in a couple of ways. The pessimist could look at it and say, "crap, they are worse than last year's team." The optimist though might be inclined to say, "last year's team was playing above its head, while this team is clearly below its expected level of performance. Things have to improve."
I think I'm going to go with optimism. I still don't think they are a playoff team, but I don't believe they are as bad as they've performed so far. I believe that overall the peformance of the team will improve. That may not necessarily mean more wins, but it should.