After being shut out by Max Scherzer on Opening Day*, the Reds rebounded in game two of their series against the Washington Nationals with 7 runs on 12 hits. That’s gotta be good enough to snag the victory and pull back to .500 to start the season, right? Ha. Unfortunately, the pitching didn’t hold up their end of the bargain, giving up 13 runs as the Nationals routed the Reds in a much sunnier Saturday afternoon tilt. I’m not an excuses guy, but the pitching staff wasn’t necessarily set up for success. The Reds are dealing with key injuries to the starting rotation and bullpen to start the season and played a pitcher short with the signing of Yovani Gallardo who wasn’t available for action Saturday.
I’m not hitting the panic button yet, but one alarming stat is how many times Reds batters have struck out in the first two games. For not having Adam Dunn on the team anymore, 25 strikeouts are an awful lot through the first two games of the season. Sure, they went up against 3-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer yesterday, and then the not-so-young phenom Stephen Strasburg today. That’s not really an excuse though when you consider how potent this Reds offense was just one season ago. I could live with getting shut out by Scherzer and the back end of the Nationals bullpen, but Saturday’s loss was a lot harder to swallow considering they finally got some production out of the lineup.
Jesse Winker has proven that an unusually long neck equals a solid on base percentage, which is something we’re not used to out of our leadoff spot. Crazy, I know. Scooter Gennett is out to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke and he can be the answer at second base for years to come in Cincinnati. He hasn’t hit four homeruns in a game yet, but I’ll give him until at least mid-April before I start getting upset about that. I’ve reached out for comment regarding his stance on “Debbies” and if they’re “on-deck”, but he has yet to respond.
All in all, yes, it’s been a rough first two games to start the season. Some might say it’s because the Reds have been run up against the buzz saw that is the Washington Nationals, and they’re probably somewhat right. But that doesn’t excuse some of the terrible at bats we’ve seen that have contributed to the 25 strikeouts. They don’t get much of a chance to relax after Washington leaves The Queen City when the Chicago Cubs come to town for a two-game series. In typical Reds fashion, I anticipate they’ll win tomorrow’s series finale to salvage the series while nobody is watching because they’re stuffing their faces with Easter ham and searching for plastic eggs in their grandma’s back yard.
But hey, at least we get to play Pittsburgh later this week…Follow @BennyMacBlog