COO Allen meets with manager
DENVER -- Cincinnati Reds chief operating officer John Allen flew to Denver and met with manager Dave Miley on Sunday to discuss the direction of the struggling franchise.
Calling the team's performance this season "unacceptable," Allen said he didn't speak directly to the players, but acknowledged changes could be on the way if things don't turn around soon.
"Certainly the status-quo end result is unacceptable," Allen said before Sunday's game against Colorado. "I'm not going to pinpoint names, but I don't think any of us find this acceptable. We have some very professional players in this locker room that I know are in a lot of misery right now."
The Reds got off to a great start last season, staying within four games of the division lead until late June, when a slew of injuries sent them spiraling to a 76-86 finish.
With a lineup featuring Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey and Austin Kearns, the Reds looked like they had a chance to contend in the weakened NL Central this year if a few things went their way.
That hasn't happened.
Cincinnati opened this season with three straight victories and stayed competitive in the division until a 1-10 slide spanning April and May dropped the Reds nine games out of first place.
Cincinnati has lost five straight, 14 of 17 on the road and was 15 games out of the division lead -- the furthest its been out of first this late in the season since 1971.
Frustrated with what looks like a fifth straight sub-.500 season, Allen said he made the trip to convey the disappointment he, owner Carl Lindner and general manager Dan O'Brien have felt.
"It sends a message to the guys in this locker room, things better change or things are going to change," Griffey said. "That's expected. We've been inconsistent on both sides of the ball, pitching and hitting. We just haven't had that one game, the one play that changes the momentum. We find ourselves battling and putting a little too much pressure on ourselves each at-bat -- that kind of thing."
And it hasn't been just one aspect.
The Reds are hitting .253 as a team, leaving them 24th in the majors. Griffey has eight homers and 36 RBI, but is hitting just .267. Dunn's average is .236, Kearns is at .232 and Rich Aurilia .214.
Cincinnati is even worse on the mound, ranking 27th with a 5.40 ERA.
The starters are just 13-27 with a 5.56 ERA and opponents are hitting .304 against them. The bullpen has blown six of its 17 save chances and closer Danny Graves, the franchise's career saves leader, was released on June 2 after posting an abysmal ERA of 7.76.
That's simply not good enough for a team that increased its payroll by $17 million in the offseason.
"Obviously, everybody is very disappointed with the performance of the team from top to bottom," Allen said. "I can't or will not pinpoint any one person or any one phase of the game. You all sit and watch the games just like we all do. There is more than one phase that isn't going right. I just want to convey the message that everyone understood this poor performance is unacceptable. This team is better than that."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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