I know the Cincinnati Reds have entered the All-Star break at 45 wins and 47 losses. I have been disappointed in their results so far this season. Coming off of last year's National League Central Division Championship I thought the Reds would be a team that ended up with 90 plus wins this year and a second straight playoff appearance.
In my mind there were two primary questions that the Reds needed to deal with that remained unanswered to my satisfaction following Spring training. Would Jonny Gomes prove to be effective as an every day left fielder? And was Paul Janish ready to be the every day shortstop?
The answer to both questions was no. I addition, many of what looked like strengths of the Reds coming out of Spring training have proven to be troublesome in the first 92 games of the season. Drew Stubbs has struggled at lead-off and currently leads the National League in strikeouts. Injuries and an ineffective Edinson Volquez have hurt the Reds' starting pitching. Paul Janish and his back-up Edgar Renteria have played so poorly at shortstop that the Reds were forced to promote Zack Cozart from their AAA Louisville affiliate. And if that wasn't bad enough, Francisco Cordero blew three straight save opportunities going into the All-Star break.
But I choose to look at the Reds and their prospects for the second half of the season through (Pete) Rose-colored glasses!
Scott Rolen is getting back to full strength. Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips are having All-Star seasons. Catching has been a positive for the team. And the depth of starting pitching may finally pay off.
The best news? The Reds are only 4 games back of Milwaukee and St. Louis in the National League Central. And they open the second half of the season tomorrow at Great American Ball Park against the hated Cardinals. It's not going to take major improvements in their weak areas to make a big difference for the Reds!
So, as a fan and the ultimate optimist, I can still visualize a National League Central Division Championship and a second straight playoff appearance for the 2011 Cincinnati Reds!
All the 2011 Reds need to do is to adopt Pete Rose's philosophy. As he famously said, "Somebody's gotta win and somebody's gotta lose and I believe in letting the other guy lose."
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