New Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price is having a lot of things go wrong in his first nine games of his managerial tender. He knew coming into the season that eight players will start the year on the disabled list, and with a 3-6 start to the season. Price hopes that his ballclub could weather the storm until the team got injured players back in April and early May.
Price’s team has been competitive all of the first nine games to the young season, but as of Thursday April 10th, the team is 3-6 and sitting in fifth place in the National League Central entering today’s off-day, as they will return to field Friday night against the Tampa Bay Rays in Great American Ballpark. A start of a six game home stand.
The starting pitching for this team coming into the season was the strength, and so far in this young season it has proven that. The bullpen have been relatively average, but have blown some games in the last couple of games, including the second game in the Mets series and the recent completed series against the Cardinals in St Louis.
The Reds offense is still the weakness, as a team they batting .234 , including .214 with runners in scoring position. New center fielder and leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton started 0-for-12 with six strikeouts in the first three games, but he has turned it on lately, going 5-for-14 over his last three games and showing excitement, which was clear yesterday afternoon. My breakout player Jay Bruce is off to a cold start batting .188 in the first nine games, and Joey Votto is hitting .250 without a home run and only one RBI. Shortstop Zack Cozart is off to a 1-for-26 start, and many fans are getting tired of him, because he’s basically been an automatic out, either via strikeout or pop out.
While many Reds fans are already starting to panic or wave the white towel, they have to look at the difficult April schedule they have against them. They have already played the favorite to win the NL Central, that would be the Cardinals six times and have lost four of them. The next two weeks are going to be interesting, after the homestand, they will embark in a 10 game road trip against contenders in National League (PIT, ATL, minus CHI (Cubs).
On the positive side, Cincinnati’s rotation is ranked third in the NL with a 3.05 ERA. But in his two starts this season, Homer Bailey, who signed a six-year, $105 million contract in February, has blown leads of 3-0 and 4-0, all against the Cardinals. Tony Cingrani had a terrific opening night debut last week, but the youngster only lasted only four innings in his second start. The ace in the staff Johnny Cueto, has pitched outstanding in his first two starts of the season, but is still winless, despite allowing only three earned runs over 14 innings.
The frustrating about this Reds team is that they could be 6-3 instead of 3-6. They’re losing close games and aren’t being blown out. In their six defeats, there have been three losses by one run, two losses by two runs and one by three runs.
I guess you can say, this team has the capability, with some of their core players out, the players they have now filling in for them, there not giving up, it’s all about finishing games you feel you can win.
Some of the wounded players that started the season on the self have already arrived, catcher Devin Mesoraco coming off of the DL and in his first two games of the season he is 4-for-8 with a homer. Reliever Jonathan Broxton was activated on Tuesday, but he has yet to pitch. Broxton will be the closer until Aroldis Chapman returns. Chapman, who was struck in the face by a line drive during Spring Training and sustained fractures above the left eye and nose, has begun working out and throwing lightly.
Another key player on the team, who we all thought was going to return sometime next week starting pitcher Mat Latos, but he had a setback this week with elbow inflammation. Latos’ return is unknown until after he rests for a couple of days. Price also said that he hopes to have lefty reliever Sean Marshall in the next couple of weeks.
The bullpen, which began the year without four of its main pieces, has been one of the problems to start. It has only one save in three chances,reliever J.J. Hoover gaved up a walk-off grand slam to the Mets on Saturday.
Yesterday’s 4-0 win was example of what the Reds can do when everything works as they expected. Despite the team going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, Hamilton had a breakout game, the running speed we will see hopefully by him this seasons, reaching base four times, stole two bases and scored on a sacrifice fly that actually was a popup just outside of the infield. Mike Leake threw eight shutout innings and Manny Parra closed the deal with a 1-2-3 inning to end it..
Tags: Billy Hamilton Bryan Price Cincinnati Reds Devin Mesoraco Homer Bailey Jay Bruce JJ Hoover Joey Votto Johnny Cueto Jonathan Broxton Manny Parra Mat Latos Mike Leake Reds Sean Marshall Tony Cingrani Zack Cozart