Homestand Hard to Handle

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The recently completed 10-game homestand saw the good guys go 5-5. Can’t make up a lot of ground playing .500 ball, but considering the whole “process”, we’ll take it. And with that produces a reflection of what has been a sticking point in the “What’s wrong with the Reds” questions: starting pitching.

I know, I know. The offense has been inconsistent and deserves to shoulder some of the blame. Some, yes. Most, no? All you have to do is look over the lines from the starting pitchers from the three series and it makes some sense on why the Reds were 5-5 over the past ten games. We’ll start with the Atlanta series.

The overall line from the Braves series isn’t all that impressive: 19 IP, 21 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 8 BB, 8 SO. That equates to an ERA of 4.26, a WHIP of 1.500, and a SO/BB of 1.00. The Braves are 13th in the NL in batting average (.243) and 8th in runs scored (439). The one strength of the Braves is the long ball where the sit 3rd (117). As I said, not all that impressive. The Reds took the series two games to one and all was looking bright…

…Until the New York Mets hit town. This was the one series on the homestand where we thought the Reds could possibly make a little hay within the division. Didn’t quite go that way, and the starters performed, well, not too good over the four games. The line: 21.1 IP, 34 H, 22 R, 15 ER, 8 BB, 13 SO. The ERA for the starters that series was an abysmal 6.33. May have been higher if not for the six runs that Johnny Cueto allowed in the second of the series were not all unearned. A sweep by the Mets left a bad taste in all of Cincinnati’s mouth. And now, the defending World Series Champion San Francisco Giants were going to visit GABP.

To get two of three in this series would have been grand. The Reds took it a step beyond in concocting their own sweep. Every outing produced a quality start as the trio of Dontrelle Willis, Mike Leake, and Reds emerging ace in Cueto each crafted nice outings. Cueto was especially masterful in going the full nine innings in the series finale to complete the sweep. Reds starters for the series: 21.1 IP (same as the four game set against the Mets), 17 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 16 SO. Translated: 1.27 ERA, 0.938 WHIP, 5.33 SO/BB ratio.

Overall, the Reds starters posted a 3.94 ERA, 1.476 WHIP and a SO/BB ratio of 1.95. While 5-5 over the last ten doesn’t seem so pretty, the manner in which in this recent homestand ended has brought a bit of renewed enthusiasm. On to Houston for three, and then to Chicago for another three before returning home. Got to take these as the Reds will be facing the worst team in all of baseball with a depleted lineup due to trades and the worst starting staff in the NL.