Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Why 2015 Version of Reds Similar to 1971 Version

by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

The Reds finished their western road trip with a 3-7 record. The good news is that their young pitchers did alright. The bad news is that when they pitched well the Reds didn’t score enough to win. I still can’t see how a team with the starting eight the Reds have can have trouble scoring runs? It doesn’t make sense to me. You would think that if the Reds got decent pitching which they have, they would win way more than they lose.

They return home now and finish August with a ten game home stand with two against Kansas City, three with Arizona, a makeup game with Detroit and three with LA.

I was hoping Johnny Cueto would pitch against the Reds but not so. The Reds will finish out the season with rookie starters according to manager Bryan Price. What else could they do? They don’t have anyone else to pitch. Michal Lorenzen was sent down because of innings limits. Will they have enough arms to finish the season? Price said they will find them somewhere. This is a great opportunity for some of the Reds farmhands to get a shot at the big leagues.

Our sympathies go out to Reds third baseman Todd Frazier who’s aunt Pam Frazier passed Friday. Todd hit a home run in Saturday’s game against the Dodgers. Good for him.

All this losing must be very discouraging for Reds players Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Aroldis Chapman and Todd Frazier. We all thought the Reds were building something big with these guys. But things have not been the same since that infamous collapse against Pittsburgh at the end of the 2013 season. The Reds were 90-66 at one point in the season but lost their last six regular season games and a playoff game at Pittsburgh. They finished 76-86 last year and now are 51-65 for 2015.

That reminds me of one of the oddest seasons the Reds ever had… 1971. Those Reds were National League champions in 1970 with 102 wins. In 1969 they finished strong at 89-73 and you knew things were getting ready to happen. But all of a sudden they have this terrible season in 1971. That team had Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez, Don Gullett, Lee May, Dave Concepcion and Bobby Tolan practically everyone from the 1969 and 1970 teams. But they couldn’t win on the road (33-48) and only had one regular hit over .269. Pete Rose hit .304. Johnny Bench hit just .238 with just 61 RBI’s. The Pitching wasn’t that bad at all that year. Don Gullet was 16-6 and Gary Nolan was 12-15 with a ERA of only 3.35. Clay Carroll won 10 games in relief.

Right in the middle of the Reds climb to a dynasty there was this blip in 1971. As I look at that team and this Reds team they are a lot alike. The 1971 Reds couldn’t win on the road and couldn’t hit with men in scoring position, and wasted a lot of good pitching. Same as this year and last year’s Reds.

The Reds made some big changes for 1972 adding a second baseman by the name of Joe Morgan. You know how that worked out. The 2015 Reds have made some big changes also. More subtraction than addition though. But I still believe that the Reds are headed in the right direction. Just stay the course. Don’t trade your nucleus, keep what you have and build from that. And get these young pitchers some experience. That’s what the Cardinals do every year. They keep their regular 6-8 everyday players and bring up great arms. The Reds have great arms in waiting. Let’s see what happens.

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