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Reds can’t seem to bully good teams in baseball

You’ve seen the new public service advertisements trying to combat bullies. In the case of the Cincinnati Reds, they’ve been bullies and they’ve been bullied.

If you’re a nerd team — one with a losing record — you can expect the Reds to beat up on you. The Reds have a winning record against six teams with a losing record. Only a 1-2 record against Colorado stands as the lone blemish of how they bully a team with a losing record.

Conversely, when the Reds play a team with a winning record — there have been a total of seven teams with positive numbers — they are 0-6-1. The tie is a 2-2 record against the Cleveland Indians.

The Reds usually use their pitching to bully teams. The starters have been outstanding and the bullpen has been good for the most part. But injuries have hampered the bullpen all season and now starter Johnny Cueto appears headed back to the disabled list for a third time.

The Reds went into the season as a World Series favorite provided they remain healthy. That lasted all of a few innings on Opening Day as slugging leftfielder Ryan Ludwick separated his shoulder sliding into third base and hasn’t been seen since.

Speaking of missing in action, left-handed reliever Sean Marshall has spent more time on the disabled list than Norm spent on his bar stool in the sitcom “Cheers.” Jonathan Broxton has since decided to visit Marshall on the DL while closer Aroldis Chapman has been getting plenty of rest as the Reds can’t seem to get in a situation where they need his services.

And if injuries aren’t bad enough, second baseman Brandon Phillips missed the two-game Oakland series due to paternity leave. Heck, I didn’t even know he was pregnant. I’ve been following them all season and he never did begin to show.

As it turned out, the Reds lost both those games to the A’s as the offense continued to struggle.

Oh yeah, the offense. The Reds tend to bully average pitchers with eight to 10 runs. But when a good pitcher takes the mound, the bats often curl up in the fetal position, scratching out a run or two and hoping the pitching will be good enough to make it stand up for nine innings.

Clutch to Reds’ hitters the past month or two is merely a reference to whether they plan to buy a new car with either a standard or automatic transmission.

After a slow start, Jay Bruce has been on a terror for the past couple of weeks. But that has been his M.O. Bruce always goes through a two-week stretch where no one can get him out and then he goes into a month-long slump in which even his grandmother could strike him out.

Throwing left-handed.

In her nightgown.

While walking her dog.

Hopefully this is just one of those speed bumps in the long and winding road called the baseball season. No one can play well for an entire 162 games.

Not even bullies.


Jim Walker is sports editor of The Ironton Tribune.