Cincinnati Reds: The offense has been the problem in the early going

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 01: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds fouls out to end the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park on April 1, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brewers won 4-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 01: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cincinnati Reds fouls out to end the game against the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning at Great American Ball Park on April 1, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Brewers won 4-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Strangely, the Cincinnati Reds offense, not the pitching has been the problem in the early going. The Reds have to find a way to score runs.

The Cincinnati Reds were blanked by the Milwaukee Brewers today. On the plus side, the Reds only allowed one run themselves, but it was a costly one. The Reds have lost every game in this series by one run. While it’s good that the pitching staff is living up to their side of the bargain, this team is going nowhere if the bats don’t wake up.

It was essentially a foregone conclusion that the Cincinnati Reds were going to lead the league in runs scored, right? With Jesse Winker and Joey Votto setting the table for Yasiel Puig and Eugenio Suárez, surely the Reds’ bats would dominate opposing pitching. Scott Schebler found patience at the plate and José Peraza looked like a budding star. So what in the world has happened to start this season?

Honestly, there’s a few things. First, it’s early. Okay, I know that seems to be a reoccurring theme, but it’s true. I don’t like a four-game losing streak either, but it’s not uncommon for even good teams to go through slumps. The Reds lost each of the last three games by one run, meaning they could’ve very easily been in the win column instead of the Brewers. That’s especially true in the last two games in which the starting pitchers were flat out dealing.

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Secondly, this is a newly formed team with a new coaching staff and I think there’s a bit of a feeling out period and a learning curve going on in the early going of the 2019 season. Votto, Barnhart, and Suarez have been contributing pieces to this Reds’ roster for sometime now, but there’s a lot of new faces out there.

Puig and Matt Kemp came over from Los Angeles just about four months ago. While Peraza seemed to have a bit of a breakout season last year, because of Scooter Gennett‘s injury, he’s undergone a position change. Don’t forget that Schebler and Winker both missed a lot of time last season due to injury. Derek Dietrich and José Iglesias are new additions as well.

Then we have the coaching staff. This is David Bell‘s first rodeo. As much information as he’s given and all his time in and around the big leagues have certainly set him up to succeed. However, nothing can prepare you for what’s going to happen when the game’s on the line and your decision may decide the fate of the game. There’s a lot of pressure on Bell and outside of Freddy Benevides, no one on the staff has been part of the Reds’ organization.

Finally, there are two, and you could argue three, really big bats missing from the Cincinnati Reds’ lineup right now. Obviously Scooter Gennett will be a sight for sore eyes when the left-handed slugger returns. Gennett was one of the best hitters in the National League last season. Nick Senzel is also not on the roster and currently nursing an ankle injury. Then there’s Phillip Ervin, who was sent to the minor leagues because there wasn’t a spot in the outfield for him.

I firmly believe that the Reds’ bats will get going soon enough. There’s too much talent in the lineup even without Gennett, Senzel, and Ervin. This last series should be a bit encouraging for those fans waiting to see Yasiel Puig and Eugenio Suárez get off the schneid. Puig went 3-for-9 (.333) with a double and 2 RBIs in the series with Milwaukee. Suárez got a hit today and launched his first homer of the season last night.

Next. Poor execution, not decisions, doomed the Reds

It’s disappointing to see the Cincinnati Reds’ offense struggle so much out of the gate. After last year’s 3-18 start, the fans are getting restless. Hopefully the Reds give them something positive to cheer for in the upcoming series with the Pittsburgh Pirates.