The Cincinnati Reds have now lost 10 games in a row, and despite the season only being about one quarter of the way finished, they've already lost more than twice as many games as they've won. The bullpen is a mess. The starting rotation is only starting because the presumptive starting rotation is on the DL - all of it. The offensive battleship they've leaned on in the middle of the order for nearly a decade is having the worst season of his career, their former All Star catcher is again out for the season, nobody can get on base, and the last three games haven't even ended until nearly 1 o'clock in the morning local time.
It's been tough to watch, but in most every way it's been inevitable. Fans largely get that, whether they agree with the decision to purposefully be in these doldrums or not. But imagine if you're Bryan Price, constantly tasked with steering this Reds ship night after night despite holes in the hull and the course pointing straight for an iceberg. That's precisely what friend of the blog Mo Egger looked at this morning, how Price has been left out to dry in the middle of a driving rainstorm that has no clear end. It's an incredibly unenviable position to be in, especially for a guy in his first shot as a big league manager and also in his final year under contract.
Frankly, it's enough to make you feel sorry for the guy.
Redleg Nation explored the present state of the Reds manager, weighing in on the ever-growing chatter on whether Price is the right man for the job. Personally, I don't know if Price is the right manager for the 2017 and 2018 Reds, but I do know that the performance of the 2016 Reds gives us no insight into that ability. This team was doomed long before injuries re-doomed it, and it's impossible to judge a manager given that the scenario presented to him never gave him a shot. Yes, Lou Piniella and Sparky Anderson would lose 100 games with this bullpen, a sub-.700 OPS from Joey Votto, and five starting pitchers on the DL.
Speaking of the bullpen - possibly the single largest culprit keeping the Reds as "awful" instead of "merely not that good" - Zach Buchanan of The Enquirer caught up with Caleb Cotham, he of the solid April and disastrous May. In his notes, Buchanan mentioned that one of Cotham's struggles has been with how to attack left-handed hitters, and that in and of itself is enough to make Price chuckle. See, with Tony Cingrani now the "closer" on a team that never has a lead in the 9th inning, Price has exactly zero lefties in the bullpen he can use against opposing left-handed batters. So, he gets to send out righty after league-minimum righty to face those lefties, most of whom just keep getting pummeled - hence why lefties own a .350 wOBA against the Cincinnati bullpen, the single worst mark allowed by any bullpen in baseball.
Hopefully, that'll at least get muted a bit in the coming weeks, and the Reds schedule will finally ease a bit after having been a gauntlet for the first 8 weeks of the season. C. Trent Rosecrans shed light on that fact in Thursday's B.A.R.
MLB.com's Jack Baer spoke with Zack Cozart about playing well roughly a year removed from his brutal knee injury, and Cozart was awfully revealing. In their talk, Cozy mentioned both that attacking pitches early in the count came via a Skip Schumaker tip, and also that his knee doesn't exactly feel great a lot of the time. That knee revelation isn't too surprising given how seriously he injured it, but it also probably doesn't sit great with the scouts and front offices of teams that may have interest in trading for the SS.
Finally, Grant Brisbee looked at the Minnesota Twins through the same pair of gas-station sunglasses that Reds fans should, and he did so with the usual funnies and A+ URL game to boot. Basically, his premise is this: the Reds are bad, but at least we all knew that was supposed to happen; the Twins, though, are a complete disaster despite sincere intentions. So believe it or not, things could be worse.