After rattling off eight wins in the span of 12 games, the Cincinnati Reds came back down to Earth a bit with a tough weekend series in Toronto. However, the Reds avoided a sweep and salvaged the series a bit with a win on Sunday.
It was a good news, bad news type of series up north. The good news was that the pitching staff allowed just seven runs across three games. Unfortunately, the offense only could muster a total of five runs. That is how you end up only winning one game in a series where you pitched as well as the Reds did.
Now 12-28 on the season, there are still 122 opportunities for the Cincinnati Reds to dig themselves out of the hole. That journey begins on Monday as the Reds return to Great American Ball Park for a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs. It will be their first matchup of the season with the National League Central rival. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. EST on Monday night with no starting pitcher yet announced.
Offense Goes Cold in a Pair of Losses
The hot bats must have stayed in America because the Cincinnati Reds managed just one run on both Friday and Saturday in losses to the Bluejays. During game one of the series, the Reds got an excellent start out of Luis Castillo but let it go to waste by not getting on the board until the seventh inning. Unfortunately, the same thing happened the next evening after another great start by Hunter Greene. The rookie allowed just one run on four hits in six innings, but Cincinnati only got one run once again.
For as encouraging as the starts by Castillo and Greene are, the lack of offensive production is equally as concerning. The Reds have now failed to score more than one run in 11 of their 40 games this season. As has been the case for much of this year, the margin for error is simply razor-thin when you can’t score runs.
Reds Take Series Finale 3-2
Another great performance by the Cincinnati Reds pitching staff was met with another quiet day for the bats. However, powered by an eighth-inning home run by Joey Votto, the offense did just enough to squeak out a 3-2 victory and avoid a series sweep.
Aristides Aquino, in his return to the big league lineup, doubled down the left-field line with two outs in the first inning to give the Reds a 2-0 lead. From that point on, a solid debut by Graham Ashcraft followed by great bullpen work helped Cincinnati hold on. Tony Santillan, Alexis Diaz, and Art Warren combined for four and two-thirds innings of no-hit baseball.
Ashcraft, one of the top prospects in the Reds system, pitched four and one-third innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out three batters.