Game 10: Mike Leake vs. the Washington Nationals (1:35 EDT).

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Cincinnati Reds
@ Washington Nationals

Sunday, Apr 15, 2012, 1:35 PM EDT
Nationals Park

Mike Leake vs Ross Detwiler

Coverage

TV: FSO-HD, MSN2-HD; RADIO: WLW, WJFK; WEB: MLB.tv, Gameday Audio, Gameday

Weather

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing out to center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 80.

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It's customary to wait for a 5 game losing streak until Baby goes under the Basket. This isn't exactly a hard and fast rule, but we should remember it's early. And we shouldn't be rash. If you need to be reminded how early it is, just look at the standing in the AL East. Or the NL East for that matter. Or look at the Angels.

Still, this team needs the help of some kind of internet ritual, considering:

  • They've scored the least runs through the first nine games in franchise history dating back to 1901
  • They've lost five of their last six, since the start of the St. Louis series
  • They've averaged 1 and 2/3 runs per game during those six games
  • If you factor in the extra innings, it's around 1.5 runs per nine innings
  • Only three position players currently have an OPS over .570

It's times like these that I look to the cast of my favorite Aaron Sorkin drama for counsel.

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I met with Richard Schiff at a deli near the McPherson Square. He had just finished a walk-and-talk with some actors he had hired to role-play an episode from The West Wing and help him pretend that he is a real life White House staffer.

Red Reporter

Hi Richard. You look more exasperated than usual.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

How can so many... Isn't someone going to -- I'm starting to think that reality...

Red Reporter

Be cool, we're barely at the ten game mark.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

That's almost 1/16th of the season shot. Did you watch the game yesterday? 3.06 pitchers per plate appearance. Jackson walked Heisey because he felt bad for us. He felt BAD for us, man.

Red Reporter

I think you're being melodramatic.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

I am an actor, after all. Get it? Now we're having fun.

Red Reporter

But aren't you supposed to be reassuring us? And I don't get it, are you a Reds fan? I'm looking for more general wisdom, delivered in the form of a world-weary soliloquy.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

You tell me. I'm just the personification of your collective frustrations.

Red Reporter

I'm starting to think this was a bad idea. It's not your fault, I just... I thought this season would start off differently.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

Well, let me tell you something. Martin Sheen used to launch into rambling, pointless stories about Apocalypse Now! or some bullshit on the set of the West Wing. At first I thought he was letting his role as the President get to him by trying to hold forth all the time back in his trailer. But then I realized I could just tune it out. I also remember that Apocalype Now! is a pretty cool movie.

Red Reporter

That doesn't seem helpful at all.

Exasperated Richard Schiff

I didn't say it was. Now you see why I'm exasperated all the time. Um... I guess what I'm saying is, you have to learn how to tune out certain things. A lot of things you encounter in life are hopelessly pointless. Speeches on the West Wing. The Vietnam War. Early April baseball. Martin Sheen was just staying in character. Just like the Reds need to stay in character and pretend they're not in a slump.

Red Reporter

But what about all these bizarre decisions Dusty is making?

Exasperated Richard Schiff

You need to hush up now. That kind of talk is going to send you in a skiff down the Mill Creek muttering "the horror" to yourself. The team just needs to start hitting. When they do, I won't be exasperated. And you won't be worrying about whether Alfredo Simon should be pitching the 11th inning or the 12th inning.

He signaled for a cab. When none came, he placed his hands unceremoniously on his forehead and let out a barely-audible noise that sounded like the word "huuuuuup." I looked down and took a bite out of my $17 sandwich. When I looked up, he was gone.

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