Re: Limping into the playoffs
Here's a bunch of loosely linked statements that could be better formed in to a coherent argument if I were more lucid:
- The Reds have won 60% of their games, 2nd best in baseball.
- Teams that lose 40% of their games will have stretches where they lose more games than they win.
- The Reds have done this scoring the 8th most R/G and allowing the 2nd least R/G in the NL
- When teams lose, it's because either their offense doesn't' score enough runs or their pitchers & defense give up too many -- or both
- Streaks are things that happen in retrospect but which are not predictive
- Joey Votto has been out of the lineup for nearly 1/3 of the season and is now back
- JJ Hoover and Jonathan Broxton were not in the bullpen for most of the year and are both pitching very well
No team is perfect. The Reds offense could be better. But the team is very good. And of all the research that has been done regarding playoff success, there have been few if any findings that suggest a certain kind of very good team does particularly well. The most recent study that did, Nate Silver's Secret Sauce suggests that there are 3 characteristics: a high strikeout staff (Reds 2nd among playoff teams), a good closer (Chapman) and a good defense (Reds are middle of the pack this year).
In other words: Don't Worry. Be Happy.
Games are won on run differential -- scoring more than your opponent. Runs are runs, scored or prevented they all count the same. Worry about scoring more and allowing fewer, not which positions contribute to which side of the equation or how "consistent" you are at your current level of performance.