The dog days of summer are difficult for a number of reasons, particularly when it comes to the game of baseball. The grind goes on non-stop, day after day, with little to no respite despite the work needed to play all season having started some 7 months ago.
When you’re winning, it’s a bit easier to keep up hope with the grind. When you’re not, well...
Here we are, late on August 9th, and how the Cincinnati Reds will finish the 2019 season is effectively cinched. They’re 10 games under .500, and they aren’t making the playoffs for the 6th consecutive season. All that’s truly left to play for is to see whether they can finally, finally lose fewer than 90 games for the first time in forever, and that’s a hard goal to truly drum up any real passion among fans.
Pair that with the struggles of their biggest in-season acquisition in Trevor Bauer, and it’s a recipe for seeing confidence in the team’s overall direction begin to wane. True to form, the most recent FanPulse pollling reflects that, as you can see below.
That said, it’s still riding more positive than negative, which is also indicative of the steps forward the Reds have made this year. They’ve been aggressive, which is refreshing. They’ve found some diamonds in the rough in the likes of Aristides Aquino, Josh VanMeter, and Jose Iglesias. Eugenio Suarez is bonking dingers at a prolific rate, and Sonny Gray has pitched his way into some inevitable mid-ballot Cy Young Award votes.
Heck, even Joey Votto looks like he’s going to finish strong after his back issues, as he’s hit a Votto-ish .314/.410/.514 over his final 20 games.
While 2019 had an outside chance of being a breakthrough year, it most certainly has not been. That said, it’s served as a building-block year, a baby-step year, and there is ample reason to believe that 2020 is going to be much, much better. That’s what’s fueling the positive optimism, and you can’t really deny its validity.
Now, let’s see how the season wraps up.