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Matt’s Take: Misery loves company

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Matthew McAdow

By Matthew McAdow
HCP columnist

The Cincinnati Reds lost their seventh straight series over the weekend which drops their record to nine games below .500 before the end of May. Woof!  

Throughout life, we often learn that misery loves company and this certainly occurred on Sunday, as I forced my in-laws to watch the 10th inning meltdown with me before they could leave my house. If I have to watch Ohtani walk-off the Reds, I might as well ruin their Sunday as well so we can all live in pity (teasing of course).  

In all honesty, I am having the least amount of fun in my many years of watching Reds baseball, and I have certainly watched worse teams than this one. The injuries, the expectations, the one-run losses, it simply is a cluster of issues piling on and practically eliminating this team from doing anything in the playoffs before the end of May.  

Playoffs, though? Who am I kidding at this point? It’ll be a miracle if this team ever sees .500 again, and I hate it for the fan base. Take this as a lesson learned and let your in-laws leave your house before you force them to watch a late game meltdown.

Let’s get out the frustration

On a more serious note, the Cincinnati Reds have played the most games against teams leading their division (15). They are 1-11 in one-run games. Woof, yet again!  

If you are just .500 in one-run games, this team is nearly a .500 ball club. As I am writing this, the Reds have won three games in May and have won five of their last 23 games. They still have the Padres and Dodgers again approaching as well. Cincinnati is last in the division (8.5 games back from Milwaukee) and third to last in the entire National League (19-28).  

How many times can I say “woof” before Macaulay Culkin appears?  

Glass half full

There are certainly positives with this club and some players are really improving throughout the year. If you are a “glass half-full” person, you’ll enjoy this section:

• It’s only May. There are plenty of games to turn this around and Cincinnati has played without Marte, McLain and Friedl. What would the Dodgers look like without 3 of their top 5 batters?

• Cincinnati still has a ton of divisional games approaching. There is a big opportunity to make up ground or a chance for them to really fall back, depending on how you look at the glass.

• In the last 15 days, Stuart Fairchild is batting .412 with an OBP of .500. He is finally being used as a platoon batter, which he has very good split numbers against lefty pitching. 

• In the last 15 games, Tyler Stephenson has been the Reds’ best batter. He is batting .359 in 39 at-bats and is showing pre-2023 Stephenson results. If he keeps playing like this, he might make a case for an All-Star appearance.  

• Jeimer Candelario has completely turned it around and is showing confidence at the plate over the last three weeks.  

• Hunter Greene is going deep into ballgames and is showing ace-like stuff on the mound.  He has the 12th most innings pitched in the MLB in 2024. For five starts in a row roughly, he has been phenomenal.  He simply needs some run support. He has a 2.03 ERA over his last 5 appearances. 

Glass Half Empty
Pessimists, enjoy…

• Mike Ford has been atrocious, and I really am not sure why he is in the 3-hole night in and night out. His .156 average is well below the Mendoza line, and his power hasn’t appeared in the big league.

• Will Benson is batting .191 and continues to show why he shouldn’t be an everyday starter for this team. He is batting .098 against left-handed pitching. Where is Mr. Caulkin? – Woof.

• Alexis Diaz, much like his brother, is struggling mightily this season. At some point, he might have to leave the closer role and find the zone again. A 7.02 ERA wasn’t what he had planned for 2024.

• I love Fernando Cruz, but he is struggling right along with Diaz. If these two aren’t pitching well, I am afraid the bullpen is in for a long June.  

• Jake Fraley has one home run on the year. What happened to his power? While his average isn’t bad, it’s a small sample size and you can tell that he isn’t swinging the bat as well as he did last season.  

• How on Earth do you start with a ghost runner on second and have the fastest man alive not make it to third base? How is it possible? Why not send him after the first out? I am not sure I will ever get over that one. Woof!

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