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Reds Magic Number Stays at 17 with Loss
Reds Struggle To Score; Chapman Blows Save
by Robb Hoff
September 7, 2012
If there's a good time for a team to collectively slump at the plate, having an 8.5-game lead in your division with less than 25 games left in the season would be about as ideal of a time as any.
Such it is for the Cincinnati Reds, who managed to scrape just two runs per game against the Philadelphia Phillies at home run friendly Great American Ball Park earlier this week before starting a series against the abysmal Houston Astros Friday night with yet another pekid performance at the plate.
Reds right-fielder Jay Bruce was the sole bright spot for the Reds against the Phillies, driving in all six runs the Reds scored in the series and hitting a home run in each of the three games.
The return of first baseman Joey Votto will eventually give the offense a much-needed boost, but after watching the Reds struggle once again against the Astros, the boost might need to be sooner rather than later if the Reds are to make the Magic Number seem less ominous for their fans.
And of course if the usually untouchable Aroldis Chapman is going to suddenly deteriorate into a mere mortal like he did Friday night........there might be an ulcers epidemic coming to Reds country.
The blown-save loss to the Astros Friday night kept the Magic Number for the Reds to win the N.L. Central division at 17 prior to the St. Louis Cardinals scheduled game.
The Magic Number can crawl or it can fly, and so far the Reds seem intent upon making it crawl.
Playing the Astros for another two games may help considering the Astros are clearly one of the worst teams in recent history. The likelihood of the Astros winning two games on the road against the same team is almost a statistical impossibility -- it hasn't happened all year.
After the Astros, the Reds will play host to the Pittsburgh Pirates who will still be playing to prove something even if the team's ultimate goal at this point is to finish above .500 more than it is to actually vie for a playoff spot.
With a six-game road trip against two more bad teams after the homestand -- including the most grossly overhyped team in the history of the game in the Miami Marlins and the lowly Chicago Cubs -- the Reds should be looking at a Magic Number into the single digits by the time the team rolls back into Cincinnati to face the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But the scoring drought has got to stop, so the Reds can start to turn the corner in earnest for playing deep into October.