Of the two teams in Ohio: The Reds aren't limping into the playoffs...they're being pushed in on a stretcher. Meanwhile up north, the Indians are the hottest team in baseball. They are a boulder going downhill that looks like it's going to destroy everything in it's path. I don't think ANYONE could have predicted that this season. That's part of the reason why baseball is such an amazing game.
Anyways, It's frustrating being destroyed by the friggin' Pirates and watching the Cardinals, who have clinched the division, playing like they're in game 7 every night just to clinch homefield advantage.
We traded a very good, young Shortstop (a position which is considered a weakness on the major league club) for Choo. I thought having a high OBP hitter at the very top of the lineup was the only missing piece this ballclub needed to get over the hump and start destroying other teams in the postseason, but it's obvious now that it's not the case. Frazier's not doing quite the damag, and e he did last year and while I knew we caught lightning in a bottle with Ludwick in 2012 and expected him to regress badly, I didn't expect him to get hurt, enrage the majority of the fanbase and hit like Stubbs to close out the season.
The frustrating part for me is that I know we are in much worse shape next season. Losing Choo is going to be an awful loss. Same with Arroyo, who is about as reliable of a pitcher as I've ever seen.
If we barely scrape our way into the playoffs this year, a year when I thought we'd win the division by 5 games, I hate to think of what this club is going to look like next season. This was supposed to be the year. Instead it looks like another embarrassing early playoff exit is more likely. And I'll spend the offseason looking at the roster and wondering how we're supposed to win when on paper we're much worse. If the Reds get shut out, or (lord Jesus help me) no-hit on Tuesday, this is going to be one long, long winter.
And despite being a sabre guy, I absolutely do think that putting some fire under some asses is worth a win or three in the regular season. I work in the medical field, I've read many studies that show that just having a positive and optimistic attitude can lead to faster recovery times and fewer complications, even with major surgery so I absolutely believe that can translate into some wins on the ball field. I don't expect the players to be Rey Lewis on meth for 162 games, but when September comes around and players are tired, sore and worn out some motivation can go a long way. I see other team's dugouts going insane during typical regular season games when they're trailing by a run late and rarely see that attitude from the Reds.
Just coming from behind to win a game and thinking "I knew it!" would be a lot better than "I can't believe it!"
Winning on Tuesday will change a bit of the pessimism, but it will come flooding right back if we lose the NLDS. Pennant or bust.