Simple Explanations for Recent Reds Losses

If you want to analyze how the Reds have lost four of their six games on the current nine-game homestand, you needn’t search too far. With all the in-depth view into stats these days, there are two simple things to remember. One, is to score as many runs as possible. The other is to keep the opponent from scoring runs. Simple game, isn’t it?

So far, the Good Guys are 2-4 through the first six games of playing host and have scored a total of 15 runs in those six games. In those two wins, Reds pitchers allowed one run in each game. Pretty stout. Then you look at the losses and you start to shiver. In those four losses, they surrendered a total of 20.

Aug 25, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Votto and Rolen have a chat during the fourth inning at Great American Ball Park. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

Look at the offense. They scored five runs once. In the other five games, they never scored more than three, and the bats produced those three runs in only one game. That was the game where Aroldis Chapman was knocked around a little. The other four games produced run totals of one (today) and two (three times).

The wins have been an aggregate of 7-2. The losses have seen the Reds be outscored 20-8.

You will not find a more logical explanation that this simple one: the Reds have not been hitting and scoring runs. When they have been on the end of good pitching, they win.

See? Simple explanation, but let’s look a bit deeper.

When Joey Votto returned, the consensus was the the Reds were going to take off on another run. There’s a chance that run has already occurred. Remember how well the Reds played when Votto was on the disabled list? Pretty darn astounding if you ask me. So it was naturally expected that all would continue once #19 rejoined the festivities.

Hasn’t been that way. Is there a cause for concern?

Concern might not be the proper adjective, but I believe there are legitimate issues that could be in play here.

Before I go on even more, I want to make clear that I am not near the ledge. Nowhere close. The following are merely…observations.

Now, the main thrust of today’s “worry” was that of Johnny Cueto. There is no debate that he has not “been himself” in his last two outings. The question was posed if Cueto needs to be skipped a start. As of now, Cueto has logged 192.2 innings, the most of his career. Last season, he was on the DL at the beginning and end of the season. There is a chance he is a little tired. Note I said “chance”.

We’re not used to seeing the “staff ace” surrender 8 runs and 17 hits in 11 innings as he has done his last two times out on the mound. I know, he’s not a robot, but only one of his last four outings would be termed as a quality start. The Reds won that one and have dropped the other three.

Sep 4, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Latos pitches during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Great American Ball Park. (Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

The two wins since returning home came from stellar efforts from Mat Latos (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R on Sept. 4 v. PHI) and Bronson Arroyo (7 IP, 7 H, 1 R on Sept. 8 v. HOU). In both of those games, the bullpen allowed no runs either.

Facts are facts.

In the four losses, the Reds were 4-for-23 (.174) with runners in scoring position. It’s strange that in the two wins, they were actually worse, 2-for-14 (.143). The chances to score were present. The “clutchiness” was not.

Same could be said for the starting pitching in those four losses. Only one quality start (Homer Bailey in first game of HOU series) of mention.

You can look at the absence of any one player, and that argument cannot be used especially in light of how well the Reds played while Votto was not playing. Maybe having the Pirates come to GABP is exactly what the Reds need. The Pirates are in the hunt for a wild card and knowing you can put a damper on those chances could serve as a little extra motivation. Granted, winning the division should serve enough of it.

Then again, the Bucs were just swept by the Chicago Cubs…at PNC Park. They don’t feel too good either.