“When we hit our lowest point, we are open to our greatest change” – Aang, “The Legend of Korra”
Wise words from a TV show that many would consider a kids show, but they have defined this Reds team over the past month. The Reds firing Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins feels like it happened a lifetime ago, but the move along with the return of Michael Lorenzen and Anthony Desclafani has proven to be the catalyst of this Reds team’s sudden turn around. Everyone knew this team was better than their record showed back in April, but no one was expecting this.
The Reds promoting Danny Darwin to be their pitching coach may go down as a stroke of absolute genius. He has worked with many if not all of these young starters as they have worked their way to the big leagues. It makes sense for him to be able to continue to work with them at the big league level. He also has breathed new life into Matt Harvey since the surprising trade to bring him in. Darwin has shown to be the pitching coach of the future for the Reds since being brought up. The team’s ERA when Price was fired was 5.42, now it’s 4.64. Over the last 20 games the team’s ERA has been 3.75.
The Reds’ offense early in the season was downright abhorrent. Many players started out cold and just couldn’t get going. This combined with the downright horrendous play of the likes of Pennington and Gosselin made for a painful first month of the season. The offense was the lone highlight of 2017, and it started to look more and more like a fluke earlier this season. Then Suarez returned from his injury, and the team has looked like world beaters since. The Reds’ Votto, Gennett, and Suarez are possibly the best 3-4-5 combo in the majors. The numbers they have put up are staggering:
The Reds currently have the 9th best offense in the league, and are ranked 2nd in the league in OBP. They also only have 89 HRs and are sitting at .402 SLG. This points to a ton of timely hitting with RiSP that aren’t necessarily extra base hits, or when they are getting extra base hits they are driving in several runs. When this offense is clicking it can put up a ton of runs in a very short amount of time. Many times over the past month the Reds have hung 4 or more runs in half an inning. This has come from the team’s knack of hitting grand slams. They have hit 9 over the past 6 weeks, and that is good enough to tie the franchise’s single season record. Yes you read the correctly.
With the recent tear the Reds are believe it or not they are 9.5 games back of the 2nd wild card spot. If the team can keep this hot streak going I believe they could sneak into the 2nd wild card spot. There is still a lot of baseball to be played, and the NL is very top heavy this year. We have seen what this team is capable of. I think they can make the push, but it’s important to not go into buy mode to accomplish this.
It’s too risky to go into buy mode and trade off all of our prospects we have been working on building up over the past few seasons. If we go into buy mode and miss? The next few seasons will make the last few look like we were the early 2000s Yankees.