Berk's Blog - 12/09/13
By Mike Berk - follow: @mike_berk
Following an 11 game trip to the West coast, which saw them go 5-6, the Reds bring their road weary legs back home to begin a big home stand against St. Louis (Aug. 2-4), Oakland (Aug. 6-7), and San Diego (Aug. 9-11).
Must win is the most overused clich in all of sports. Nothing is a must win until its an elimination game if youre looking at the term from its literal meaning. But if youd prefer to look at the figurative, big picture, then a 6-2 home stand is probably necessary at this point. You could live with 5-3 as long as two of those five come against the Cardinals.
The Reds enter this critical home stand, 5.5 games behind first place Pittsburgh, and an even four back of St. Louis. Certainly not out of it yet, but as Lawrence Peter Yogi Berra once said; its getting late out there early. The Hall of Famer was referring to daylight saving time as the season progressed into September and the daylight hours began to dwindle. But his slip of the tongue has meaning for the Reds and any other pennant hopeful. How much longer can they wait to make a move in the standings before its too late?
Pitcher Bronson Arroyo said before the All-Star break that every individual player is pretty much where hes going to be for the season from a statistical stand point. He said the same of teams. At some point soon, the teams which want to contend for division championships are going to have to make a surge.
No time like the present for the Reds to begin doing just that. Their starting pitching has been strong. Their bullpen has been the perfect complement. Their offense has been stuck in a season-long rut. When theyre not hitting home runs, theyre not scoring runs at all. Whether or not the upcoming return of Ryan Ludwick changes that, is unknown. But we do know, theyd better start supporting their arms a little bit more than they have or that 2nd wildcard will be the only thing within their reach.
Its an eight game home stand, with five games coming against teams which, like the Reds, would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Well find out if the Reds belong in that group
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 29: Dusty Baker #12 manager of the Cincinnati Reds looks on before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park on July 29, 2013 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)