The Cincinnati Reds’ offense, not pitching, is the reason for the recent skid

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 6: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Scott Schebler #43 after scoring a run during the third inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on June 6, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Colorado defeated Cincinnati 6-3. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 6: Jesse Winker #33 of the Cincinnati Reds is congratulated by Scott Schebler #43 after scoring a run during the third inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies at Great American Ball Park on June 6, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Colorado defeated Cincinnati 6-3. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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All too often this season, the Cincinnati Reds’ starting pitching has been blamed when the team has struggled. Their recent skid, however, falls more on the offense than the pitching.

The Cincinnati Reds were one of the hottest team in Major League Baseball heading into the All-Star break. Cincinnati had won 18 of 26 (.692) games heading into the Midsummer Classic. Since the All-Star break, the Reds have gone 6-11 (.353) and are currently 1-6 on their road trip. Strangely enough, the Reds’ offense, not their pitching has been the problem of late.

Before we dive into the offense’s recent struggles, let’s acknowledge that injuries have played a big role in the Reds’ sudden downturn. Jesse Winker, whose on-base percentage of .405 is second in the National League only to his teammate Joey Votto, has been out since July 23rd. Winker will be out the remainder of the season with a surgically repaired shoulder.

Scott Schebler, who’d found a role in the Reds’ lineup as the leadoff hitter, has been grounded since July 14th. Though back from his rehab stint in Louisville, Schebler is still unable to suit up for the Redlegs. In the 30 games leading up to his injury, Schebler was hitting .292 with a .362 OBP and .849 OPS.

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Needless to say, Cincinnati misses the production at the plate from both Winker and Schebler. The Reds also traded away Adam Duvall. Duvall, while only hitting .205 while he was with the Reds, did provide Cincinnati with some power in the lineup. Duvall had 15 homers and 61 RBIs on the season while in a Reds’ uniform.

The Reds offense had been roaring heading into the All-Star break. Cincinnati had three players (Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto, and Scooter Gennett) selected to the All-Star Game, for the most part, due to their performance at the plate. Before the break, Votto was hitting .289 with a .422 OBP. In the 17 games since, Votto is still really good. He’s hitting .286 with a .453 on-base percentage.

Let’s check out Eugenio Suarez. Before his first All-Star appearance, Suarez was batting .312 with an OPS of .973. Since the break, Geno’s average has dropped a bit, but his power is still very evident. He’s hitting only .266 but has 7 home runs, 16 RBIs, and a .924 OPS.

Scooter Gennett was on another planet in terms of how well he was hitting before the All-Star break. Gennett was near the top of MLB with a .326 batting average. He had 16 round-trippers and 63 RBIs. In the 17 games Scooter has played since the All-Star Game, he’s hitting .211 with a .286 OBP, 1 home run and only 4 RBIs. Yikes. That’s not what you want to see out of your No. 3 or No. 4 hitter.

Players like Phillip Ervin and Mason Williams have been pleasant surprises for the Reds, and show a lot of promise going forward. They are not, however, able to produce at the plate in the same way as Winker or Schebler. Jose Peraza, who was also coming on strong before the All-Star break, has struggled of late as well.

Peraza was hitting in the No. 2 before Schebler injured his shoulder, and has now been thrust into the leadoff spot. Before the All-Star break, Peraza was hitting .293 with a .339 on-base percentage. Since July 20th, Peraza’s average is only .225 and his OBP is .257. Those are not numbers you want to see out of your leadoff hitter.

This we know, Winker is out for the season, and Schebler is out for at least another few weeks. Gennett and Peraza need to get back to where they were a few weeks ago, while Williams and Ervin continue to impress. The idea of putting Dilson Herrera into the outfield is likely another attempt by Jim Riggleman to get a quality bat in the lineup.

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The Cincinnati Reds starting pitching has actually been fairly solid over the last few weeks. If the bats can give the Reds’ pitchers some run support, we’ll likely see Cincinnati back to playing winning baseball.