Reds Country, I have some good news and some bad news. First, the good news. The Cincinnati Reds (23-46) will not face the Los Angeles Dodgers again this season. Now, the bad news. For the first time since 1991, the Reds went winless during a homestand of at least six games as they were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers and the aforementioned Dodgers in three-game sets.
The numbers are beyond ugly. Losers of seven consecutive games and the owners of the worst record in the National League, the Reds are spiraling. Sporting a horrific 6-15 June record, the Redlegs sit 15.5 games back in the NL Central Division.
What went wrong during the recent homestand? Quite simply, Cincinnati's pitching staff gave the club no chance of capturing a victory. Surrendering 44 runs in six games is nowhere near the neighborhood of respectability. Entering play yesterday, the beleaguered bullpen had posted a 6.50 ERA this month, and that was before they yielded four runs in as many innings yesterday.
The Reds limp into San Francisco to face the Giants.
Returning home following a 3-4 road trip, the San Francisco Giants (38-31) are looking to make up some ground in the NL West. Trailing the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers by 5.5 games, the Giants will play their next five games at Oracle Park against the Reds and the lowly Detroit Tigers.
Despite being seven games over .500, San Fran is fairly pedestrian at the plate and on the mound. Their slash line of .239/.322/.401 nearly equals the .243/.316/.397 league average. The offense is led by outfielder Joc Pedersen who has been slapping the ball all over the field. Leading the club with 16 homers and 38 RBIs, the left-handed-hitting slugger has impressed in his first season in the Bay Area.
Reds' hitters will need to be ready to swing the bats because the Giants' pitching staff does not beat themselves. The 181 free passes they've issued are the second-fewest in the senior circuit. However, the 592 hits San Francisco has allowed are the fifth-most in the league.
Cincinnati took two of three from the Giants earlier this season at Great American Ball Park. Additionally, Oracle Park has been a gracious host to the Reds in recent years. Over the last decade, the Reds are 17-14 in San Francisco and own a 35-29 advantage overall in that timespan.