I know yours is a rhetorical question, but to answer your main question of the series, woy, "Have the Reds Ever Had Pitching," the answer would have to be "yes."
If you look back at those glory days of the early and mid-70's, the pitching was always in the top 3 of the league for ERA. Interestingly enough, in 1990, the Reds staff also finished 2nd in team ERA. Hey, just maybe Krivsky is on to something, trying to build a pitching staff, eh?
Yes, there was good Reds pitching (sounds like an oxymoron, but it's not) during that era, except for two years, which are the years when the Reds slipped back to the pack, 1971 and 1977. Both years the pitching staff ERA was average to slightly below average.
1970 was widely considered the beginning of the BRM, an offensive juggernaut. But the Reds fine staff finished 2nd in the league in overall ERA, and the WS was lost, as you state, mainly due to the inability of Merrit and Simpson to pitch at all or like they did in the regular season.
How good could Wayne Simpson have been, had he not blown that rotator cuff, or even if he were pitching during a time of repair like pitchers today are?
Thanks for a great job, woy, I am very much enjoying this series on Reds pitching.