By: Zane Miller
PHOTO CREDIT: David Jablonski/WHIO-TV
When the Reds brought in current manager Jim Riggleman, who was the bench coach for the team at the beginning of the season, to replace former manager Bryan Price back on Apr. 19, the outlook for the rest of the season was not very positive.
Even despite the change, the team continued to struggle throughout the rest of April and the month of May and by early June the team was projected to lose over 100 games and possibly finish with the worst record in franchise history. The team even started out the season with a 3-18 record, the worst start for the franchise since the 1931 season.
However, in the late part of June going into early July, the team has begun to turn things around after getting a seven game winning streak and winning 16 of their last 22 games at one point during the season.
How did this happen? I feel that Riggleman played a role in the recent success of the team, though not immediately. The slump in May could be mostly attributed to the difficulties that are always involved with a new manager, but once the team began to buy into Riggleman as a manager, the chemistry began to click as well. Riggleman has also done an excellent job of revamping the bullpen, which was a weak spot at the beginning of the year, by bringing up new pitchers such as Jared Hughes and David Hernandez and putting them in roles where they can succeed.
Another part of Riggleman’s success as interim manager is that he has had experience with managing before. Riggleman managed the San Diego Padres from 1992 to 1994, the Cubs from 1995 to 1999, the Seattle Mariners in 2008 as well as the Washington Nationals from 2009 to 2011. While it had been a while, he was able to get back into rhythm after a tough start and put the Reds on pace for a strong second half of the season.