Game 18, 2011: DiamondBacks 3, Reds 1

[Box Score]

I’m deflated about the Reds right now. This is probably as low and apathetic as I’ve been about the baseball season in years; maybe ever.

I guess I’ve realized a few things. One, the Cincinnati Reds are exactly who I thought they were. Before the season started I wanted to pick them in my season predictions to miss the playoffs. I wasn’t feeling it this year at all. I feel the Brewers are the better team and I felt that the Reds year to make a run was 2012–after a year of no playoff appearance. I fell into the hype the day before the season started, and I decided to make them division winners. This was despite the Reds pitching getting hit like a snare drum all spring training long and despite beginning the season without the two guys I think are two of the Reds best starters; Bailey and Cueto.

So when the Reds surrender another early lead like they did last night (and the hole eventually grew to 2-0), I shouldn’t be disappointed, I shouldn’t be upset and I shouldn’t be surprised. I should probably start doing something else with my nights, but at least in this sense I finally know what an addict feels. Because every single day that I wake up I feel renewed hope that; the sun is shining, and today could be the day that the Reds slam the other team 14-1.

The other thing I think I’ve realized is that Jay Bruce is a finished product. Night after night, for over three years now, we have been waiting for a Larry Walker clone to come walking out of the dugout for the Reds. It just hasn’t happened, and it’s not going to happen. Bruce is never going to eclipse 40 home runs. He doesn’t look like a guy who will ever get hot enough to eclipse the 30 plateau. I don’t want to take up an entire scribe dedicated to Bruce; but I got a text from a friend the other night that really bothered me because I think it was reality. ‘Maybe we all have to be prepared that he’s just not going to be the player that we thought he would be’ the text read. And that doesn’t mean he’s bad. It just means he’s not going to be the whole damn show, he’s not going to have MVP type seasons, and most importantly he’s not going to be the Robin to Joey Votto’s Batman–which is what the Reds needed to become a true contender this year.

Some other observations:

*Scott Rolen looks completely done. Even on nights when he was getting hits this season, or homering (he has 2), he usually had 3 or 4 really bad at-bats aside from that. Rolen looks like a guy who could use a week off to see if he can clean the cobwebs out. He isn’t catching up to 90 over the middle. He’s flying out in foul territory or on the infield. If you remember how he finished last year, you will not say I am being reactionary by saying that the great Scott Rolen might be showing the beginning of the end.

*Bronson Arroyo actually pitched really well last night. He struck out 8, he walked only one. Sure, he gave up a few big hits, but you’ll take the performance Arroyo gave last night with the Reds offense (or the offense they’re supposed to have) any night of the week. I’m not worried about Arroyo. He’s a gamer, and he’ll always give the Reds a chance to win.

*Anyone notice that Chris Heisey was double switched into the game for Bruce in the 7th? Kind of odd to swap out a gold glove defender who still has an at-bat to go against a righty. Bruce got pulled Monday night in the 4th inning. Heisey struck out late in the game. As did Gomes who replaced Bruce in the order. Dusty Baker has to stop doing this stuff if Bruce is ever going to take the next step, even if he prefers to protect him with Janish, Hanigan, and Hernandez. Let him have his four at-bats.

*I’m ready for the Jeremy Hermida experiment to be over. I know he’s not as old as John Vander Wal. But it feels an awful lot like that whole ordeal.

*At least they play at 12:35 AM ET today.