Here's as many words as I can type in 15 minutes, on day one of what might be my busiest on-air week of the year...
*The ten game stretch that will define the season, and what the Reds should do at the trade deadline starts tonight. This weekend was frustrating, with a game that should have been won on Friday, and one that could have been won yesterday both ending up in defeat.
90 games in, the Reds are six under .500 and six and a half back.
Yes, the season has reached a crossroads.
And we've arrived at a point where we can start talking about must-wins. The series that begins tonight at Wrigley qualifies. Same for the four-gamer that follows at home against the Cardinals, and they three they have the following week against the Brewers.
The Reds have defined average for the better part of three months. 5-5 in their last 10. 10-10 in their last 20. 14-16 in their last 30. 41-40 over the last half a season.
Treading water time is over.
If by the end of this ten-game run, the Reds aren't closer to where they are in either the NL Central race of the wild card hunt, I'll be tough to convince that they're the deadline buyers we've all made them out to be.
And as much as it might make all the sense in the world for them to go get the piece they need ASAP, there are 22 teams right now that can claim that they're "in it," which only serves to crowd the market with buyers, thus driving up the cost of making a deal.
It's here where I point out that for as much fun as the Reds have been, they currently own the third-worst record in the NL.
And it's here where I point out that the Cubs looked like a team, this weekend, primed to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.
The team at the bottom of that pack is in Chicago tonight, staring down the first must-win the Reds have had in quite a while.
I guess, in a weird way, that's progress.
We’re left with perhaps the thinnest trade market for position players in decades.
The Reds have a hot-hitting outfielder on track for 37 home runs, whose played great defense, and is motivated. If the next ten games don't go so well, are we sure it's a bad idea to dangle Yasiel Puig?
*Clint Boling retired. I'll let you sort through the different permutations on the offensive line for a team that faces legit questions about how it will block anyone.
I'll focus more on the fact that the 2011 draft rescued this franchise. AJ. Andy. Clint Boling. Guy has been a very, very big reason the Bengals have spent much of the last decade bathed in relevance.
*An 18-game regular season with each player dressing for only 16 games? LOL.
We don't need more bad football.
15 minutes are up. Join me at 3:05 on ESPN1530.