Do you any of you know what an oxymoron is? Or what an enigma is? According to the dictionary, oxymoron means, “something (as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements” (Merriam Webster’s Dictionary). What fans witnessed today, as the Reds were shutout for a League leading 12th time on the season epitomizes what an “oxymoron” in baseball is. It is an utter enigma.
The Reds currently lead the National League in hits, RBIs, overall team batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, and On Base Percentage. They are also 2nd in the League in homeruns. Yet they also lead the League in shutouts (not pitching shutouts but being shutout). This team that appears to really rake on a consistent basis also seems to get shutout on a consistent basis as well. They have been shut out 12 times in 100 games. Meaning they got shut out nearly once every 10 games. Yet they are still currently right in the thick of things fighting for a NL Central title and a playoff berth.
So why is this happening? How can a team that has the best offensive numbers in the League also lead the League in a stat that should be led by the worst offensive team in baseball? I only have one explanation for why this happening. The youth and inexperience of the Reds. Last evening, they put on one of their best overall performances of the entire season. Today, they seemed asleep for the duration of the game. Could it be youth? Could it be looking ahead?
Most of these guys have never been in a pennant race. I really have no way to explain though. The Reds most days appear to do nearly everything right offensively. They put the ball in play. They do not strike out much. They run the bases somewhat well. They seem to execute the hit and run better than any team in the League. And as Brandon Phillips put it at the All Star Game, “1st to 3rd baby, that’s how we do it in Cincinnati (they know how to go 1st to 3rd).”
Baseball is a grueling season that takes place over half of an entire calendar year. Games normally span well over a 3 hour period. A good portion of the season is played in sometimes unbearable heat. These guys are constantly traveling. They are constantly under a microscope of their fans, the city they play for, and ownership. People do not have patience today. There is a win now, worry about next year type of mentality.
So does the Reds inexperience cause these team to lose focus sometimes in a sport where focus is the key to all success? I mean they are still playing great, but being shutout 12 times already is unacceptable. You cannot take days off in a pennant race come September or October. Every game counts equally.
This team being shutout more times than any other league is truly an anomaly. It is an oxymoron.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportskraze.