The Reds have now played ten games away from GABP, only two or which they’ve won. Here are three reasons why:
1) Caliber of Opponents – The Reds’ April road schedule, on both paper and television, is pretty daunting. Three initial games with the Cardinals, followed by three with the first place Pirates (figured I’d pen that now while I can), four with Washington before another three at Busch starting this evening. But it depends how you assess the circumstances. When you have a team considered a World Series favorite, the opponent matters less..yeah? The Reds still aren’t necessarily at full-strength, so make assumptions on the team at your own risk. Three starters, including the team’s ace, are waiting to rejoin.
2) The offense has been missing for so long on the road that it’s starting to show up on milk cartons. And I don’t even know if they still do that. Who drinks from milk cartons?
Collectively, the Reds can boast the fifth best offense in the MLB, with 123 runs scored and only 99 runs allowed; however, when you remove games played at Great American Ballpark, it’s a little more ominous. On the road, the Reds currently have the 26th best (worst) offense. They’ve amassed just 36 runs away from home so far. To put it into perspective, the Cardinals have scored 70. And their road schedule isn’t all that pedestrian either – Arizona, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington aren’t necessarily Chicago. The Reds are hitting just .218 outside of GABP.
3) The Reds have a collective 5.49 ERA on the road. When you consider the aforementioned offensive statistics, it’s really not hard to see why the Reds are 2-8 away. On the season, the Reds have the 8th best ERA in baseball (3.40). Check out these player ERAs away from GABP so far: Bailey- 0-2, 6.00; Arroyo – 0-2, 6.75; Leake – 0-1, 8.00.
If you’re stressed about the Reds, you have a pulse. But there is still reason to believe this team can deliver on heavy expectations. The Reds sport a run-differential of +24, which is tied with St. Louis for the best run differential in the National League. Overall, that’s good for 4 in MLB. Pundits of the game always swear by this metric. It’s a metric that lends itself to the validity of the Big 162. Cream naturally rises. Assuming the Reds correct their road woes, you have to believe they will too.
What about Anthony Michael Cingrani? The last Reds rookie to strike out ten or more opponents is currently on the DL. And to do it against a World Series favorite like the Nationals makes it’s that much more impressive. The blatantly obvious question becomes: when Johnny Cueto returns, does Cingrani stay or go? One has to believe he sticks around, but at the expense of which pitcher? Mike Leake looks like an early favorite.