Expectations are everything I suppose. But color me pretty apathetic about the first half of the Reds season. I'd safely call it a mild disappointment. Even with the injuries, which I consider to be fairly normal, I'm a little disappointed with how things played out.
Going into the year I thought the Reds were legitimate WS contenders. I don't mean a team that could possibly make the playoffs and get hot in October--- I was thinking they'd be one of the best teams in baseball, period. I haven't thought that very often in my lifetime--- prior to the 1995 was probably the last time I felt going into a year that the Reds were one a WS favorite.
Now, having watched them for over half of a season, my expectations have been lowered. I thought they'd be one of the 4 best teams in MLB this year-- they currently have the 8th best record and I'd rank them somewhere around the 9th or 10th best team. That certainly beats where we were 5-10 years ago at this same point. It is certainly more fun to follow the team now than it was then and that isn't lost on me. But the team has been solid, yet underwhelming, and I find that to be a bit of a bummer. It has been especially eye-opening to see how poorly we've played against quality opposition.
I suppose the good news is that recent history in MLB doesn't really favor the dominant regular season teams. It seems just getting in and then getting hot leaves you just as likely to win it all as it does if you have the best overall record and homefield throughout.
So now, I'm just hoping we can tread water and hold onto a wild card spot. And from there, I guess we can just roll it out there and hope to catch lightning in a bottle for three weeks.
The flip side of course is to say that we are 11 games over .500 even with so many guys playing so poorly-- but my counter to that is that at this point I think guys like Cozart and Frazier are probably closer to who they are now than to who they were last year. Even Chapman appears to be much more human in 2013 than he was in 2012.
I will be pretty disappointed if STL wins the division for obvious reasons, but mainly because for the first time in a decade or so I felt we entered the season with a superior roster. To have to risk it all in a one-game playoff would be a letdown to me.
My prediction is that we catch Pittsburgh, but can't catch the Cards. I'll say we hammer down the #1 WC and play the Pirates in said playoff game at GAB. And that would mean the first back to back playoff appearances in my lifetime. So I guess I shouldn't complain. But right or wrong, unfair or not, I expected more from this team so far. Hoping they meet my original expectations by turning it up in the second half.