Here we are again. Locked in a time-trap that began immediately following the final out of the one-game playoff against the Mets 9 years ago.
That was just a joke, sort of.
I'm honestly not panicking quite yet, but I'd be lying if I didn't have a gut feeling that this trend will continue.
My big fear right now is that the Reds have simply become synonomous with losing. My fear is that a losing culture has been widely developed, and that even the best of intentions from the FO may not do the trick.
I believe in the "losing culture" stuff. I always have, in every sport. Do I think it the cycle can be broken? Of course. But once a team hits that level, it becomes significantly more difficult to buck the trend.
Here's two (small) examples of how I define losing culutre:
1. For the past two years, Bronson Arroyo has been pretty good for us, pitching for lousy teams. He has been asked to be the #1-2 starter, and he has peformed pretty well-- not top of rotation stuff by any means, but decent enough.
Now, with our rotation looking much better with Cueto, Volquez, and the young guys on the farm, we really don't even need Arroyo to be what we were asking him to be the past two seasons. Now, if he was simply a serviceable #3-4 starter, that would be just fine.
But now, all of sudden, he's pitching like total garbage. If this continues, in many ways, he will offset the good that Cueto brings to the table. Yes, you add a highly intruiging and talented starter, but one of your formerly decent starters is now horrid. Wheels spinning.
2. Paul Bako has been one of our better hitters thus far. We all KNOW that it won't last, but still, for now, he was swinging a good bat. So, tonight, he gets two VERY big at bats late in the game, and he simply can't find a way to extend his hot streak in either case. 2 K's. Rally over.
Neither of these things individually amount to a whole lot in the grand scheme, but when these types of things happen over and over and over again, it becomes very hard to break the cycle of losing.
If everytime a young player starts to excel, another player declines, it becomes a wash of sorts.
Now, no matter what, I do like the direction of the team right now. I like the fact that for the first time in years we have a really nice core of young players that are worth watching. If Votto, Bruce, Cueto, Bailey, Volquez, Roeinicke, etc. all develop into their ceiling, then the Reds will eventually be good and there will be too much talent for the even the losing culture to bring down.
However, that's still a pretty big "if."
And along the way, it sure would be nice to see the Reds win. And by win, I mean making a run at the post-season. Heck, it's been 9 years since we had a legit shot, I'd say we're due.
I'm far from quitting on the year, but as a fan who connects and identifies with his team, I am already frustrated. I'm not thrilled with the 7-10, and while I could see us pulling out of this and getting on a hot streak, I could just as easily see us at 14-20, and then 21-30, and then 28-40, and then the season will be over.
Let me put it this way....I don't think there's a whole bunch the FO can do in terms of improving the roster for this season. Getting Fogg out of there will be nice, and there are always some tweaks that might help, but ultimately, IMO, the pieces are there this season for the Reds to at least stay in contention.
Michael Wilbon once said, "first you win, and then you get good."
I think the Reds are at that point. It's time to start finding ways to win. It's time to break the cycle.
On a more positive note......Go Cavs tomorrow and beyond! Make Stevenson, Arenas, and the Wiz eat their words!!!