In all the arguments over whether it's pitching or hitting that the Reds most need, a lot of people point to the simple fact that the club continues to lead the NL in runs scored, while ranking in the bottom third in runs given up. There's no disputing that. And yet, something about it just doesn't ring quite true; or telling. Not if you watch the games. I know that, especially lately, I've certainly been frustrated more often by the offense than the defense. In spite of the total runs scored, something about the offense just smacks of inefficiency.
To me, there's a fundamental indicator of a team's effectiveness in either department. I know that this is a gross oversimplification, but the fact is that NL teams this year average 4.1 runs per game. So if your offense scores 5 a game or more, you should win most of the time with average pitching. If your defense holds the opposition to 4 runs or fewer, same thing. So I checked the Reds' scores to see how the hitting and pitching fare in that regard. (Admittedly, this is skewed a bit toward the pitching, because 4 runs is closer to the norm of 4.1 than is 5. On the other hand, I haven't taken into consideration extra innings, and that would skew, though less, toward the hitting.)
In their 96 games so far, Reds pitchers have held the opponent to 4 runs or fewer on 59 occasions. In that crude context, the pitchers are 59-37.
The offense, meanwhile, has scored 5 or more in 44 of those games. By the same measure, then, the hitters are 44-52.
I suspect that a similar analysis of other teams would also tilt the result toward the pitchers, to some extent. I acknowledge, accordingly, that the stark difference here is probably overstated. Nevertheless, I think it's an indication that, as a contributor to winning, the Reds' hitting leaves as much to be desired as the pitching, if not more.