I was feeling a little burnt out, so I took the weekend off as I'm sure you noticed seeing only game threads the past few days. It turned out to be good timing, what with the Reds playing such impressive baseball.
I find it amazing that anyone can even be bothered to expend the energy complaining about the offense or the defense (as I've been known to do) anymore. The bullpen is so clearly the problem with this team that at this point I'm blind to any other deficiencies.
I don't even know what to hope for anymore. Relief pitchers picked up at the trade deadline are often nothing more than rolls of the dice. There are promising arms at Chattanooga, but there's no point in even discussing them yet because Wayne Krivksy has repeatedly said (usually in reference to a Homer Bailey question) that players aren't going to be skipping levels under his leadership very often.
The relief pitchers in Louisville have been pretty solid as a group, but they seem to implode upon arrival in Cincinnati. How can Mike Burns be so good in AAA, and so terrible at the major league level? He's apparently the Brandon Larson of pitchers.
It's a major tragedy that the Reds are wasting such good starting pitching, after so many years of watching guys like Danny Graves and Jimmy Haynes trot out to the mound every fifth day. Harang, Arroyo, Ramirez, and Milton have all deserved far better.
I was far too up after the eight game winning streak, and I'm trying hard not to get too down after this recent nine game stretch, but it's hard. I think we've all thought since April that this was a fatally flawed team, and it is. However, I've been telling myself for two months that Krivsky will fix things, and that bullpen help isn't too tough to find. I don't know if I still believe that, not after another Mike Burns appearance, and another Juan Castro acquisition.
Long term I still have plenty of faith in Wayne. But I hope that he realizes that the Reds have a pretty bright short term, as long as he's willing to give 2006 a shot. It's time to start promoting some of those AA pitchers to Louisville so that they'll be available in August, and it's time to start dealing. Plenty of teams are in the race right now, but there are still plenty who are already playing out the string. Make a splash. Deal a catcher. Deal a prospect, hell deal two or three. That's what they're for. Deal a big name like Austin Kearns. Get a good return, I'm not advocating craziness, but Krivsky has shown that he's able to make a good deal, so I have trust. But he needs to do something before we're in fourth place again, looking up at the Brewers and Astros and hoping we don't fall all the way to Chicago Cubs level by September.
A wild card would be absolutely huge for the city of Cincinnati. We haven't had playoff baseball in ten years. It's past time.