For the first time this year I am genuinely concerned that this team won't be in contention late this summer.
I predicted 87-92 wins and a return to the post season. I didn't think we'd win more games than we did last year, but I was fairly confident we could repeat our success.
My fears were....
1. The really young guys that played well last year would get exposed (Wood, Leake, Chapman).
2. The really old guys (Rolen, Renteria, etc) would run out of gas.
3. The magic/chemistry from last year would fade.
I thought we were looking at a 78-82 win season if those things happened-- and through 60 games my fears are being realized.
My personal arbitrary barometer for whether or not you are in contention is this-- would one reasonable hot streak get you in the thick of things. At this point with 100 games left and 5.5 game lead to overcome, the answer is still yes.
If we rattled off 8 of 10 or 12 of 16 or something like that we'd be in fine shape. But we are right at the edge. Another lousy two week stretch or a terrible road trip and this season might be toast.
My confidence is almost totally gone, but I'm not hopeless yet because I still think that maybe this rotation is due to come around, but we truly are running out of time. It is entirely possible that we will be totally out of the race by this time next month. If the 2011 Reds are going to be a factor in 2011, it must start now.