After a lackluster off-season the 2014 Reds are off to a slow start, losing 9 of their first 15 games. Losing two series against the hated Cardinals only exacerbates the frustration of Reds fans. With some already deeming this season a failure, we're here to tell you to stay strong and hang in there... It gets better.
The Bullpen: It gets better
After 15 games the Reds bullpen ranks 14th in the NL with an ERA over 5.00. The pen has blown 3 saves on the young season. Nick Christiani and Curtis Partch have accounted for nearly one-third of the Reds relief innings. All of this will change, and soon. Jonathan Broxton has already returned. Sean Marshall is currently rehabbing in the minors and should be back with the club in the very near future. Aroldis Chapman is progressing rapidly and is expected to join the club within a month. At some point, Mat Latos will join the starting rotation allowing Alfredo Simon to move back to the bullpen. The bullpen will get better.
Close games: It gets better
The Reds are losing more than they're winning, but in reality they're just a few fortunate bounces away from having a winning record. Of the Reds 9 losses; six were by 1-run, two were by 2-runs, one was by 3-runs. And that 3-run loss was the walk-off grand-slam in New York, the Reds were leading in the 9th. In other words, the Reds have had a legitimate chance to win in every game this season. The Reds have scored more runs than they've allowed. They are 2-6 in games decided by 1-run. With a some good-fortune correction, the Reds will win more of those close games.
Center-field: It gets better
As exciting as Billy Hamilton is, he's managed a .170/.220/.234 slash line thus far in 2014. One of two things will happen before the season ends: Billy will get better or someone else will get more playing time in center. The Reds would certainly prefer to see Hamilton be more productive at the plate, allowing him to better utilize is otherworldly speed. I for one, still have hope that he can hit enough to be a factor. But suppose he doesn't hit. If Hamilton doesn't show more signs of life at the plate, Bryan Price will be force to give Chris Heisey and/or Roger Bernadina the bulk of the starts in center-field. Admittedly, neither Heisey nor Bernadina are ideal options. Still, either one would be an improvement over the current production they're getting from Hamilton. Any way you slice it, the Reds center-field situation will get better.
Jay Bruce: It gets better
Young Hova has done many things well in the early part of this season. He's already drawn a major league best 13 walks. Unfortunately, his power hasn't really shown up yet. With just 2 HR, 1 double and 1 triple; Jay's SLG is hovering around .350. That won't last long. Historically, Bruce typically starts slow in the power department with a career .447 SLG in April, well under his .480 career SLG. But we all know what Bruce is capable of, and he typically starts to heat up in May. He has hit more HR in May than any other month and .917 OPS in May is his best of any month. Jay Bruce will have weeks/months at a time where he carries this offense. It gets better.