The Reds move onto Pittsburgh for the weekend, always a team and always a venue that give them trouble. But the Reds have met the enemy, and it is them, in a sense.
They miss Ryan Ludwick.
Look, there isn’t anything the Reds can do to fix what’s happened to them in left field. Not yet, anyway. It’s not even May and there isn’t a team in baseball that’s willing to tell its fans it won’t be contending this year. Trading away a player sends that message. So the Reds will have to wait, awhile, before that’s a road they can travel.
There really isn’t anyone inside the Reds organization that is a logical fix, either. For the moment, Derrick Robinson has been elevated to the major league roster. But he’s a journeyman outfielder, much like another potential fix to the problem, Xavier Paul. Chris Heisey has been given a chance to win the everyday job in left. But so far, as in years past, Heisey hasn’t exactly seized the moment. He’s hitting just .131, with eleven strikeouts in 32 plate appearances.
The Reds can probably live with a combination of Heisey, Paul and Robinson until Ludwick returns IF Jay Bruce will finally become the consistent hitter he was in the minors. Bruce was a .300 hitter for just about every year in his brief minor league career and hit well, initially in the Majors, when he was called up in 2008. But he hasn’t had a whiff of a .300 or better season in a Major League uniform. Bruce has power and is a terrific defensive player. But with Ludwick out, it’s even more critical for him to hit more consistently, evenly and for better average. If he does (if he can) then the time waiting for Ludwick to return from shoulder surgery will be a little less trying.