About six weeks ago, Cincinnati Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman talked to his club about setting short-term goals.
“Let's go catch that fourth-place club,” Riggleman said. “Then after that, let's go get that third-place club.”
The Reds seemed destined to spend all season in the National League Central Division basement at the time, and that still seemed the case earlier this month. The Reds were 21 games under .500 on June 9.
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However, after winning nine of their last 11 games, including six in a row entering Sunday’s game against the Chicago Cubs, the Reds (31-45) have moved within five games of fourth-place Pittsburgh.
Riggleman hasn’t given any motivational speeches to get the team going. He gave those speeches more often in the first month on the job. Now he talks to the team after each game and reviews the game while looking ahead to the next one. He’s more selective about when he makes big speeches.
With the Reds playing almost every day, Riggleman can’t approach the job as a football coach would.
“It’s too much,” Riggleman said. “It’s kind of like, ‘Jim, again with the talk?' I leave them alone a little big and get their attention another time. I think a lot of people think you've got pound in every message every day. It's more subtle in baseball.”