CINCINNATI — Even though the victory came as tough as trying to pull a tooth with tweezers, it is amazing what a 1-0 win to break a seven-game losing streak does for a team’s psyche.
Just a few hours after the Cincinnati Reds ended that slide-for-life with a 1-0 victory Saturday night near midnight over the Atlanta Braves, third baseman Todd Frazier sat early Sunday morning in front of his dressing cubicle.
He spotted a writer walking into the clubhouse and without being asked or prompted, he said, "It ain’t over. We still have a chance. It doesn’t matter how we get there as long as we get there."
Getting there — and ‘there’ is the playoffs — will be like a trek through the Himilayas in t-shirts and shorts, but it is significant that one of the team’s leaders refuses to drop his head and enact a woe-is-us pity party.
When play began Sunday, the Reds were in fourth place, 9.5 games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central. And they were seven games out of a wild-card spot with five teams ahead of them.
"One win at a time," said Frazier. "One win and another win and another win. We have six games left with Milwaukee and if we go 5-1 we can get back in this thing."
And in addition to Milwaukee, the Reds have six games remaining with St. Louis and six with Pittsburgh, two teams ahead of them in the wild card chase.
While manager Bryan Price appreciates the bubbling optimism of Frazier, and most of his teammates, Price wants his team to take baby steps first.
Just play good baseball the rest of the way and stack the chips on the table.
"I love that attitude and I don’t think there is any quit in this team," said Price. "Early in the year when we got off to a slow start (3-8), I mentioned that we play 162 games. After 162 games there is no question who deserves to be in the postseason.
"If we have a miraculous final 32 games then everything that happened before doesn’t matter," he added. "All that matters is that we found a way to get there."
Price paused at that moment and pushed himself back from the future to the present, a team that is 11-24 since the All-Star break.
"I don’t want to talk about anything like playing a miraculous 32 games," he said. "Right now we just have to talk about playing better baseball and winning. We all know what our end-goal is, but we have to really focus on playing good baseball. That’s something we haven’t done since coming out of he All-Star break.
"We have to consistently play good baseball and then let anything else that is going to happen just happen," he said. "We have to play much, much better baseball than we have or it is all a non-issue."
After saying that, Price took a sip of his morning coffee and said, "All winning streaks start at one." And that’s where the Reds were on a sunny Sunday morning.