We are about one third of the way through the season and the Reds are three games under .500. That's a pleasant surprise for most fans.
That's not why we are bringing back The Fifth Mascot podcast, but it certainly gives longtime Reds reporter John Fay and new Fifth Mascot host Scott Kyser something to talk about.
For this season's first episode, Fay and Kyser talked about the offense, Zack Cozart and, of course, the awful starting pitching so far this season. The podcast also includes interviews with Cozart and Asher Wojciechowski.
Fay said if the starting pitching was even mediocre the Reds would be a little over .500.
The Reds lead all of baseball in team Wins Above Replacement -- a stat evaluating productivity -- in offense AND defense. But the team's pitching ranks dead last in WAR. And that's mostly because of the awful starting pitching because the bullpen has been solid.
"The good news for Reds fans is they're scoring a ton of runs and the bullpen is in good shape," Fay said.
The team has struggled with four starting pitchers on the disabled list -- Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Anthony DeSclafani and Amir Garrett. Few teams could survive something like that.
"There's no easy solution until Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan get well," Fay said.
Fay said it is important for the Reds to finish .500 -- and he thinks it is reasonable to think the Reds will get to 81 wins.
"It would give the young players a taste of winning and some confidence," Fay said.
Listen to this episode in the podcast player above.