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

Cincinnati is even worse on the mound, ranking 27th with a 5.40

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

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."