After taking two-of-three from the mighty Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds came tumbling back to earth. The Reds were swept by the Miami Marlins. Sunday’s 7-3 scorching was the final game for the Redlegs until the conclusion of the All-Star break. A few days off could certainly help Cincinnati brass plan the next moves. The situation on the shores of the Ohio River is dismal, to say the least. What’s the Reds’ next move?
The Reds started the week by dismissing pitching coach Mark Riggins. The Reds’ rotation and bullpen had become one of the worst in the majors. Team President Walt Jocketty’s firing of Riggins sent a brief jolt through the Reds. The response was a bounce back against one of the hottest teams in baseball. The Reds actually showed promise and took two games from the Cubs. Yet, the sloppy fielding and horrendous pitching returned when they cruised into Marlins Park for a three-game set.
The Reds witnessed some positive steps from lefty Cody Reed. But that’s as good as the final game got. The Reds played the Marlins as if they had forgotten the fundamentals of the game. There was only one error charged to Cincinnati. Yet, there were tons of mental miscues that signaled they weren’t in the same ballpark.
“It hasn’t been what we’re used to.”
The Reds are usually one of the better teams when it comes to fielding. Recently, the mental errors have been giving teams greater chances to score. Putting that alongside the pitching woes makes for a long summer.
The All-Star break will give Brandon Phillips a chance to heal. He’s been playing with a hairline fracture in his hand. He was hit by a Jose Fernandez pitch in the seventh inning of Friday’s 3-1 loss. He stayed in the game to run the bases but was replaced by Jose Peraza in the bottom of the frame.
Billy Hamilton is also banged up. Hamilton tweaked his knee making a leaping catch at the wall on Friday. Trying to complete the out, he lifted his leg to brace himself against the chain-link portion of the Marlins Park fence. He jarred the knee as his spikes got caught.
Going into the break, the Reds lost game number 57. Only the Atlanta Braves have more losses. The loss puts the Reds on pace to lose a franchise-worse 104 games.
Price was astonished by the lack of focus. The Reds’ miscues were numerous and avoidable.
“We stay on top of the defensive routines. These guys practice the same way,” Price explained via Cincinnati Reds.
“The veteran players practice the same way now as they did before. I wish I could tell you I could put a finger on it. But we just haven’t been very good.”
“Right now, we’ve just got to go into the second half and keep improving as best we can and developing these young players,” Jocketty explained, after dismissing Riggins. “We have seen improvement throughout the season. We’ve just got to continue to do that and take a positive approach and keep guys from losing confidence.”
Jocketty hinted that the move was to lend a “new voice” to the Reds’ pitching debacle. But, the All-Star break may prove to be the timing for another big announcement.
Under the direction of Price, the Reds have gone from contenders to a struggling franchise looking for an identity. The current lack of focus may be Price’s undoing. There’s only so much the fans can take. With that being said, Reds brass will only tolerate so much. What’s next? The breaking point may be sooner than some may think.
[Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images]