Sam LeCure summed up the Reds’ situation after a 15-2 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday with a statement right out of a James Bond movie.
“We’re running out of tomorrows,” the reliever said.
Only 50 tomorrows (or 50 games) remain for the 2013 Reds. The Reds (61-51) trail the Pirates by 6½ games and the Cardinals by five in the National League Central Division. The Reds don’t see St. Louis again until Aug. 26 and the Pirates until Sept. 20.
In the meantime, Cincinnati can worry about the Diamondbacks, the team 4½ games back in the race for the second and last wild-card spot. As poor as the Reds have played lately — they’re 27-30 since June 1 and have lost seven of their last nine games— nobody in the league looks capable of catching them.
If baseball hadn’t added a second wild-card berth in 2012, the situation would be bleak for the Reds. As it is, they might be better off playing the Cardinals in a one-game, wild-card playoff than running into St. Louis in a five-game series. One game is a small sample size. Anything can happen. Over a long series, it’s more unlikely the Reds would beat a Cardinals team that’s beaten it in six straight series.
Still, there’s a long way to go. The Reds had Monday off and play the Athletics (64-47) tonight and tomorrow. Cincinnati hasn’t beaten Oakland in Cincinnati since Game 2 of the World Series in 1990. The A’s swept a three-game series from the Reds at Cinergy Field in 2002. The A’s swept a two-game series in June in Oakland.
“Is this going to be a good time for an off day or a bad time?” LeCure said Sunday. “I don’t know. That’s up to every individual to go home and kind of assess their situation and ask, ‘Am I going out there and busting my tail and doing my job to help this team win games?’ Because at the beginning of the season, it looked like this was a great team.
“We’re great on paper. And we are a good team. There’s a lot of teams that would like to be 10 games over .500 and feel like they’re playing like (crap). That’s just the way it is. We’ve left a lot of games out there. We can sit here and talk about 10, 15, 20 games we left out there. That’s a lot of games.”
Until the Reds gave up 31 runs in three games to the Cardinals, the pitching had been great. The hitting hasn’t been there for a while.
Todd Frazier is mired in a career-worst 0-for-28 slump. Brandon Phillips is hitting .228 since June 1.
The guys who don’t play every day aren’t getting the job done either. Chris Heisey, Xavier Paul, Jack Hannahan, Cesar Izturis, Derrick Robinson and Corky Miller have combined to hit .224.
Heisey explained Saturday what he does to break out of a slump.
“When you’re not hitting well, you look at some video,” he said. “I think the first thing we try to do is evaluate where we are mentally. What’s our approach? Are we trying to do too much? Are we tight because we’re trying to get hits? All those things. After you examine where you’re at mentally, then you go to film and just try to get to the root of the problem.”
Athletics at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410