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Stop floundering, Reds

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That’s how you end up on the bottom.

Flounder (Platichthys flesus), Pleuronectidae. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Reds just lost their most recent series. They lost the one before that, too, and the one before that one.

The series before those three series? They lost that, too.

Somehow, thanks to the miracle of the San Diego Padres playing like they want to be the Cincinnati Reds, the Reds still sit just 0.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot in the National League, though that certainly doesn’t appear to be much more than a sticker and a pat on the head if they don’t start playing any better.

The Reds fell to the Milwaukee Brewers in this stretch, a team they’re trying to prove they can compete with for postseason glory. They lost to the St. Louis Cardinals, a team they’re perpetually trying to both topple and, this year, fend off. They lost to the Chicago Cubs and Detroit Tigers, too, a pair of clubs who repeatedly made transactions this season with the sole purpose of making next year more important than the games they’re playing right now.

Limping, floundering, treading water, whatever you’d like to call it - the Cincinnati Reds are doing it these last two weeks.

Today they begin a 3-city, 9-game road trip that will give them yet another chance to punch down. It’s the Chicago Cubs in Wrigley up first, with that series set to begin in a pair of hours with Sonny Gray on the bump. It’s off to #Bush and the Cardinals next, with a series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh wrapping the trip. There are two off-days in their travels. Jesse Winker might well be healthy by the end of it. There is light at the end of the tunnel for this crew if they can just find a way to get right while on the road, since there’s a series against the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers awaiting them at GABP when they wrap this trip.

Naturally, they’re going to try to do it with Joey Votto out of the lineup and (/checks notes) Asdrubal Cabrera getting the start at 1B today, since the Cubs have a (/gulps) LHP on the mound to start. In fact, the Reds are rolling out 8 righties and Cabrera, a switch-hitter, in their desperate attempts to figure out how to hit LHP this year. It’s a lineup that includes Eugenio Suarez and his 63 OPS+ hitting cleanup.

The Cubs. The Tigers. The Cubs again. This season has been far, far too entertaining to fall apart against teams like this in September, but that’s what we risk witnessing if the Reds can’t duct tape themselves back together in a hurry.

First pitch today is at 2:20 PM ET. Go Reds.