Exhale, Reds Country. It's over. After 11 consecutive losses, the Cincinnati Reds (3-13) finally found the winner's circle again on Sunday afternoon as rookie Nick Lodolo's impressive start propelled them to a 4-1 victory over the division rival St. Louis Cardinals.
However, the road ahead is no less difficult as the San Diego Padres (10-7) arrive. It's safe to assume the three-game sweep Cincinnati suffered last week at Petco Park is fresh in the minds of those occupying the home team's dugout.
Excluding a pair of Tommy Pham solo homers in the first two games of the series, Padres' pitching completely overwhelmed and baffled the depleted Reds. As a result, the Friars outscored the Redlegs by a wide margin of16-3.
Speaking of drubbings, San Diego was served a helping of humble pie over the weekend as the juggernaut known as the Los Angeles Dodgers traveled south to meet their division foes. Los Angeles outscored the Padres 18-6 as they took two of three at Petco Park.
Can the Reds get off the schneid and win their 1st series of 2022?
Entering play today, San Diego ranks third in both strikeouts (160) and WHIP (1.106) among National League staffs. Southpaw Sean Manaea ranks fifth in punch outs (24), while right-hander Joe Musgrove is third with a 0.737 WHIP among senior circuit hurlers.
Not only do the Friars have stars on the mound, but they also have them in the batter's box as well. Manny Machado is off to an amazing start. Slashing .339/.423/.565 with three homers and 10 RBIs, the third baseman has also swiped three bases. Needless to say, Machado has been in beast mode to open the 2022 campaign.
One player you won't see in this series is Cincinnati catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds backstop is still in concussion protocol following the karate chop he received courtesy of the Padres' Luke Voit on a play at the plate last week at Petco Park. However, karma has intervened as Voit has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a biceps tendon injury.