I barely have the stomach to re-visit all the problems with this Reds team, but the Reds’ beat writers don’t have any choice. Here’s a roundup of the stories from this morning’s papers:

Marc Lancaster says that the rotation is in a tailspin, which may be an understatement:

The left-hander’s season, and mood, continued to deteriorate with another disastrous outing Friday night, as his return to Citizens Bank Park produced a worse performance than any he had previously turned in at the ballpark he called home last season.

The Phillies tagged Milton for eight runs, sticking a fork in the Reds by the middle innings of what became a 12-2 blowout, and the pitcher was left to express once again his bewilderment with what he has done on the mound this year.

“I’ve never struggled like this,” Milton said after he matched his shortest outing of the year, 4 1/3 innings, and his season-high run total. His ERA jumped to 7.21 and he allowed his 14th home run in eight starts.

John Fay says that Milton is at a loss:

The starting pitching has been the main culprit; Reds starters have averaged just more than 42/3 innings and have a 7.09 ERA over those 15 games.

“It all starts with starting pitching,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “(Pitching coach Don Gullett) has been working with (Milton), trying to make the adjustments he needs to make.

“We need him.”

Indeed.

Meanwhile, Hal McCoy, for once, doesn’t mince words:

To SI.com, though, it is early enough to concoct a Top Ten list of The Biggest Free Agent Busts this year.

Guess who is the first pitcher mentioned, No. 4 on the overall list behind position players Adrian Beltre, Magglio Ordonez and Edgar Renteria?

Anybody who watched the Philadelphia Phillies annihilate, obliterate and incinerate the Cincinnati Reds Friday night in Citizens Bank Park, 12-2, can buzz in and say, “I’ll take Eric Milton for $1,000, Alex.”

The Reds took Milton for much more than $1,000 — $25.5 million for the next three years.

And let us permit John Donovan of SI.com to reveal why he believes Milton is the biggest bust-bomb of this year’s pitching free-agent class.

“What the Reds needed was an ace, but what they got for their $25.5 million was a stratospheric earned run average, a losing record and a lefty who hands out home runs like sunflower seeds.

“At this rate, if Milton pitches 200 innings he will allow —gulp! — 66 home runs, smashing Bert Blyleven’s record of 50 in 1986.”

On Friday, Milton hang-dogged it through 41/3 innings, giving up eight runs, eight hits, three walks, a hit batsman, the obligatory-compulsory home run and a partridge in a pear tree.

Good work, Dan O’Brien.

Okay, let’s forget about last night, and let’s forget about Eric Milton (I know, it’s difficult, especially with Lonnie Wheeler writing things like this about the rotation, but let’s try). Both Fay and McCoy note that Elizardo Ramirez will get the start Sunday in place of Brandon Claussen. Does anyone get the feeling that the Reds are going to screw around and not pitch Claussen for two weeks like they did earlier in the year? Why don’t they just put him on the DL if he’s hurt?

Of course, the Reds can withstand a disabled Claussen on the roster since they’re carrying, what, seventeen pitchers?

Interestingly, Fay and McCoy each note that Sean Casey won’t be starting today. Someone needs to check Dave Miley’s temperature; he’s acting strange.

Finally, I missed this article from yesterday’s Enquirer, but I wanted to link it. It’s entitled, “Fans seeing Red,” and John Fay has hit the nail on the head.

Here’s what worries me: Carl Lindner actually authorized some money to be spent this off-season to improve the team. However, he entrusted the spending to Dan O’Brien, who is clearly clueless, unfortunately. So, as the Reds have tanked, attendance has dropped.

Now, what’s Lindner going to think? That it makes no sense to spend money, since the Reds aren’t being rewarded for their investment with more attendance.

What should Lindner think? That winning brings attendance, and spending the money wisely would have been a better option. Had O’Brien not signed a bunch of has-beens and never-was’s, perhaps the money could have been spent on someone who could actually help this team.

But I don’t expect Lindner, Allen, and O’Brien to see that. They’ll say that they tried, but that Reds fans aren’t rewarding that effort. Meanwhile, the Reds will sink further into the tank, and the chances of this organization being competitive at any point in the near future will dry up completely.

About The Author

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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3 Responses

  1. Bill

    I’ll agree with your point on Claussen if he misses more than one start. No argument that they jacked him around the first couple of weeks of the season, but he did roll that ankle over rather nastily the other night and I predicted right then he’d miss at least one start.

  2. Heath

    Also in Linder’s court, there are some shares of the Reds for sale. For Lindner’s sake – the price will go down and he can (gulp) purchase them at a discount.

    A winning team would only drive the price up.

    Name the last big pitcher to sign with the Reds and do well….John Smiley?

  3. BCubb

    You don’t really get the boost in fans until after you’ve been to the postseason. Then it becomes the cool thing to do the next season. I don’t think even John Allen would try to say: “We went out and got Milton and Ortiz and you didn’t show up for our, um, last-place team so this season we’re going to cut the budget and be even laster.”