Concerning Reds stat was actually also a problem for 2023 World Series champs

The Reds have been awful in one run games so far this year
New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds
New York Mets v Cincinnati Reds / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

We're just over a third of the way through the 2024 season and it's been a difficult couple months to be a Cincinnati Reds fan. Despite sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team is 23-30 after this weekend's games and occupy last place in the NL Central.

There are a number of reasons why the Reds have had a disappointing start. Between bad injury luck from the get go, brutal performance from the bottom half of the lineup, and Alexis Diaz falling apart at the seams, 2024 hasn't been the Reds year.

One stat that sticks out like a sore thumb is the Reds' win-loss record in one-run games. Cincinnati is now just 1-11 in one-run games. They're currently on a historically poor pace in one-run outings, though that isn't necessarily indicative of team quality.

What does their record in one-run games say about the Reds?

There were two teams last year who struggled in one-run games, and they tell two completely different stories. The San Diego Padres finished the year 9-23 in one-score games and fell just shy of a postseason bid.

On the other hand, the Texas Rangers went 14-22 in one-run games and wound up winning the World Series. They did so on the backs of a couple strong trade deadline pitching acquisitions and an offense that clicked at the right time.

As of right now, the Reds feel a bit more like the former, considering their current place in the standings. That doesn't mean things can't change for the better, however.

Nick Lodolo is expected to return from his IL stint on Monday. He's been an integral part of the rotation this year, pitching to a 3.34 ERA with a 2.90 FIP. Lodolo's also struck out nearly 31% of batters thus far, which would be a career-high for him.

The group of Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Andrew Abbott headlining the Reds' rotation has a ton of potential, and if they're all clicking at the same time, this team will be tough to beat.

The Reds need TJ Friedl, Matt McLain, Christian Encarnacion-Strand, and Noelvi Marte back in the lineup

Unfortunately for the Reds, none of those guys can hit and the offense desperately needs a boost. They're sorely missing Matt McLain's bat in the lineup every day. The young infielder underwent shoulder surgery and a best-case timeline would have him back in the majors in late August.

Christian Encarnacion-Strand is expected back in mid-June but he'd been terrible at the plate before going on the IL with a broken wrist. And TJ Friedl was worth 4.0 fWAR in 2023 but has played just six games this year thanks to both a broken wrist and a broken thumb.

At some point, the Reds' luck will turn around. The group of young infielders we're all yearning to watch will be back together later this year. It might not be in time to salvage the season, but there's still a ton of upside with this roster.

The Reds might be on a historically bad pace in one-run games but thankfully that doesn't say much about the quality of the players on the roster, or whether this team can turn things around and have a meaningful postseason run.

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