In baseball, it's very easy to have knee jerk reactions. It's easy to get frustrated. It's even easy to remind yourself that it's a long season and that there is plenty of time left. Then you look at the standings, and you see that the Reds have 3 teams in front of them, inculding a surprising Pirates team. You may also see that the Brewers look like they are going to beat the Cubs today, which would put the Reds back 6.5 games. Personally, I think this late in the season, that's insurmountable. I felt pretty uneasy being back 4 and 5 games, but 6.5?
Simply put, the 2011 Reds are done. It's an unfortunate reality. You can't get swept at home in a 4 game series when you're already in 4th place in the division. The Reds for the entire series played attrocious. Errors galore, impatient ABs with free swinging, poor pitching. You name the area, the Reds were terrible. And even in today's game, where most things clicked outside of the pitching, Hernandez made no effort to block the ball that Ondrusek threw in the dirt, leading to a run that was a difference maker. Even the Mets commentators were astounded that he botched the play so badly. But really, Ramon's mistake was just a microcosm of this season. The Reds simply are underachieving and can't put it together and time has realistically run out.
This is not 2003 or 2004. The Reds have a pitching staff that I think most people outside of Reds Country could name many names for, even some of their relievers. You could maybe even make the case that some of the backup players now are better than some of the regulars back then.
Who is to blame? It probably falls a little bit on everyone from the top down. I really don't know how you assign the blame and I don't think it's fair to single out any 1 person when a team like the Reds have so many problems. The fact is, the Reds just aren't a very good team, despite having a lot of talent.
So, my advide to the Reds is start planning for next year. See if you can get a decent return for Hernandez and bring Mesoraco up immediately. DFA Fred Lewis and bring up Sappelt. Make sure that he and Alonso as well as Heisey get looks out there in LF. Trade off Cairo and let Frazier play everyday at 3B or somewhere in the field. Trade Cordero and bring up Boxberger. Figure out what you're going to do about the pitching. Package up at least 1 pitcher and some of the prospects and get a pitcher of real value back that is locked up for 2 to 3 more seasons. Maybe you even consider packaging up more prospects to get a LF RH thumper and another shutdown reliever.
Let's just hope that the right moves are made and that 2012 will be more exciting than 2011. There's no reason the Reds should be anything less than a contender.