After sweeping the Pittsburgh Pirates in their first series of the year and winning 1 game at home against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds have gone 1-6. In order to stop the bleeding and avoid a fourth consecutive defeat, the Cincinnati Reds will have to defeat Adam Wainwright in primetime on national television. What could possibly go wrong?
By looking at the past two weeks of play, quite a lot, actually. Devin Mesoraco has missed the better part of a week with a left hip injury. Billy Hamilton is day to day with a groin pull. Aroldis Chapman hasn't had an opportunity to pitch over the past four days. The rest of the Reds bullpen is anchored by the much-maligned Kevin Gregg and Jumbo Diaz. Oh, did I mention that we're currently looking up at the Cubs?
Thankfully, all hope is not yet lost in this young season. While Adam Wainwright has been one of the best starters in the National League over the past decade, he hasn't had the Reds' number. In 17 starts against our boys, Wainwright only has a 7-9 record and an ERA of 4.40. This would place him nicely among his contemporaries in the Cincinnati bullpen. Wainwright, in particular, has had problems with Jay Bruce. Bruce sports an OBP of .405 and SLG of .576 in 37 appearances against the Cardinals' ace. Similarly, Todd Frazier has an OBP of .360 in 25 plate appearances, with one of his hits being a home run and 2 of his other 6 hits being doubles.
Mike Leake will have to better Wainwright this evening for the Reds to have a chance at stopping their losing skid. Leake's first 2 starts of 2015 have been relatively pedestrian. In 12.2 innings, Leake has struck out 10 hitters and walked 7 with an ERA of 4.97. This, unfortunately, is better than his career stats against St. Louis where he sports an ERA of 5.00 and a WHIP of 1.397. The Cardinal Matts of Holliday and Adams have been extremely successful against Leake. In 18 plate appearances, Matt Adams has an OPS of 1.278 while Matt Holliday sports a .389/.436/.556 line.
More hay has been made this week concerning the hiring of Pete Rose than the current play of the Reds. If Cincinnati plans to enjoy All Star Weekend with Johnny Cueto still in a Reds uniform, Bryan Price's team will have to change their ways before the start of May. Otherwise, we will have a long season of uninspiring play and relentless self-promotion from a #LOOKATME Westsider. Go Reds! Just don't embarrass us!