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How Bad Is It?

Yawning? Or saying "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA" until he runs out of breath?
Yawning? Or saying "AAAAAAAAAAAAAA" until he runs out of breath?

Welcome home.

It was a 2-8 road trip that landed one starting pitcher and two spot starters on the disabled list, with at least a handful of others walking wounded or otherwise depleted. But could it easily have been an unremarkable, if mediocre road trip? There's that joke about the chemist, physicist and economist stranded on a desert island and a tuna can washes ashore. Without an obvious way to open it, the economist's solution is to "assume a can opener." I'm not an economist, but this road trip was kind of a desert island. And I'm starting to starve for good things to say about the team. It's tempting to simply assume better play over the road trip so that this team might still be in second place, within a game or two of the Cardinals.

But a more realistic look at the last 10 games would admit to the facts on the ground and try to account for whatever bad luck got mixed in. The early exits by Bronson (2x) and Volquez, injuries to Homer, LeCure, Dontrelle and Maloney, Chapman's detour and the 19-inning game may all have been scientifically determined. But their coincidence - along with an off-day free stretch - is nothing short of rotten luck. The bad mojo has to abate at some point, but if you believe Casey Stengel's koan about making "your own luck," the main way this happens is if the  starting pitching improves dramatically. I'm not sure it's much more complicated than that. Wait out the storm. And find a way to pitch deeper into games.

Here's a quick inventory before blotting this out from memory forever.

  • 2-8 record over ten road games against Cleveland (31-19), Philadelphia (33-20) and Atlanta (30-24)
  • RS: 38, RA: 57
  • Pythagorean win percentage = .308
  • Record in five one-run games: 0-5
  • Record in extra innings: 0-2
  • Average start: 5.0 IP
  • Average bullpen load: 4.2 IP per game
  • Staff ERA on May 20: 4.20
  • Staff ERA on May 29: 4.39 (3rd last in NL)
  • LOB per game: 8.9
  • Strand rate for Reds' runners: 70%
  • HRs: 7
  • HRs by Jay Bruce: 5
Bullpen rest-o-meter:

Francisco Cordero
5 IP, 64 pitches
Appearances: May 22, 24, 25 and 27
Most recent: May 27 vs. ATL (1 IP, 14 pitches, 8 strikes)

Logan Ondrusek
8 IP, 93 pitches
Appearances: May 20, 23-25, 27 and 28
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (2 IP, 25 pitches, 17 strikes)

Nick Masset
3.0 IP, 48 pitches
Appearances: May 20, 25, 27 and 28
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (1 IP, 9 pitches, 6 strikes)

Bill Bray
4.2 IP, 78 pitches
Appearances: May 20, 24, 25, 27 and 28
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (1 IP, 9 pitches, 7 strikes)

Jose Arredondo
4.1 IP, 60 pitches
Appearances: May 21, 23, 25, 26 and 28
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (2 pitches, 2 strikes)

Jeremy Horst
7.1 IP
Appearances: May 23 (AAA), May 28 (MLB)
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (2.2 IP, 48 pitches, 32 strikes)

Carlos Fisher
8.0 IP, 115 pitches between May 25 and May 28)
Appearances: May 20, 22 (AAA), May 25, 28 (MLB)
Most recent: May 28 vs. ATL (1.0 IP, 20 pitches, 9 strikes)

Tom Cochran
5.0 IP
Appearances: May 21 (AAA)