Cincinnati Reds show same shortcomings in opening weekend

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds showed the same weaknesses to start the 2018 as they had in 2017.

The Washington Nationals swept the Cincinnati Reds in the first three games of the season.  The Reds lost in their usual three ways.  They were shutout, blown out and then loss a close one because they couldn’t keep the other team from scoring.

The Reds lost game one because of manager Bryan Price.  Rather, Price didn’t give the Reds their best chance to win.  He once again looked like a manager without a nuance for the major league game.

The first issue is that Price is once again back to batting Hamilton ninth.  This doesn’t help the team win games.  It just hands pitchers more plate appearances.

Then when Homer Bailey, who is at least healthy, hit a single with one out, Hamilton swung away.  This is the time to bunt.  With a runner on first and/or second, Hamilton has to bunt.  On this day he grounded out weakly to first.

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The other lowlight of the day was the strike outs.  The Reds struck out fourteen times, while the Nationals only struck out six times.  The difference in the number of strike outs is the number of times that there was pressure placed on the defense to make a play.

The next two games, the Cincinnati Reds lost in ways that the fans are familiar with from last season.

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The second game of the season was a blowout.  The ace of a rotation that looked very different in January, Luis Castillo, surrendered six runs over five innings.  Stephen Strasburg meanwhile only gave up one earned run in 6 1/3.

The Reds were down 6-1 after five innings.  The Reds scored six runs in the last four innings of the game, but unfortunately gave up seven.  That is how you get to ninety losses in a season.

The third game against the Nationals, the Reds fell behind 3-1 through the top of the sixth.  The Reds fought back, but never got equal with the Nationals.  It was 5-3 after eight and 6-5 at the end of the game.

Newly signed Yovani Gallardo gave up two runs in the seventh.  The Reds also left eleven men on base.  These two factors probably cost the Reds a chance at winning more than anything else.

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The Reds just find ways not to win.  Whether is allowing too many runs or not scoring enough, it seems like the same different story everyday.  Maybe once the starting pitchers all come back from the DL, things will stabilize for the Reds.