Reds chug along, stay in playoff hunt
Updated 8/11/2006 3:33 AM ET
By Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY
Long removed from the days of the Big Red Machine, the Cincinnati Reds are now more like the little engine that could. Or maybe could not.
In an effort to help the club reach the postseason for the first time since 1995, first-year general manager Wayne Krivsky has dealt for seven major-leaguers in less than a month, including outfielder Todd Hollandsworth on Wednesday.
Cincinnati remains atop the National League wild-card standings after splitting a four-game series with the Central Division-leading St. Louis Cardinals, and a pack of contenders is nipping at their heels.
Among the teams are the Philadelphia Phillies, who have vaulted into the wild-card race by going 6-3 in August.
The Reds, who begin a three-game series in Philadelphia on Friday, have a 4-6 mark this month after Thursday's 6-1 loss to St. Louis but not for lack of maneuvering. The club traded for closer Eddie Guardado (seven saves as a Red), right-hander Kyle Lohse and relievers Rheal Cormier, Gary Majewski and Bill Bray.
"Players who have been here for a while definitely see a change, and it starts at the top with ownership and their commitment to win," Krivsky said.
The four-game set with the Cardinals reflected the Reds' plight. For every catch by daredevil outfielder Ryan Freel or jubilant celebration of a David Ross game-ending home run, there was a deflating loss in which the NL's top homer-hitting club scored only one run.
The Reds pitching staff has a 4.77 ERA, 11th in the National League. Still, the team has gone 8-4 against the Cardinals, whom it trails by 3½ games and will meet again in St. Louis next week. Cincinnati has also fared well against other wild-card aspirants including the Colorado Rockies (5-1) and Houston Astros (7-2).