Reds losing ground as Diamondbacks come to town
The longer the Cincinnati Reds’ offensive slump continues, the more it threatens to derail their chances of reaching the postseason for a fourth time in five years.
Cincinnati looks for just its second win in 10 games in Monday night’s series opener against the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Reds (52-52) are six games behind NL Central-leading Milwaukee and continue to lose ground in the wild-card hunt after dropping eight of nine, a stretch in which they’re batting .178 while averaging 1.8 runs. They’re 5 for 52 with runners in scoring position in that span.
All-Star Todd Frazier is 6 for 33 with one RBI over the last nine games while Jay Bruce is 3 for 28 with 12 strikeouts.
Cincinnati managed just seven hits in a 4-2 home loss Sunday to Washington. Both runs came on Devin Mesoraco’s two-run, ninth-inning double.
The Reds are one loss shy of falling below .500 for the first time since June 21.
"What it comes down to is we didn’t score many runs," manager Bryan Price said. "We have to get better at that. Guys are trying but aren’t getting anything out of their effort. You can’t wait until the ninth inning."
While Cincinnati hopes to hit a home run for the first time in six games, starter Homer Bailey (8-5, 4.22 ERA) will be looking to keep Arizona in the park. He gave up three solo shots Tuesday, accounting for all three runs against him over six innings as he came away without a decision in a 4-3 defeat at Milwaukee.
"This park, the ball flies a little bit once it gets up in the air," said Bailey, who has won only one of his last seven starts despite a 3.57 ERA.
Bailey has been much more comfortable at Great American Ball Park, however, going 5-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last seven starts there.
The Diamondbacks are the only NL team Bailey hasn’t beaten, though the Reds won both of the right-hander’s previous starts against them. He has a 4.50 ERA in those matchups, last facing them in 2010.
Arizona (45-60) lost for the fourth time in six games Sunday, suffering a 4-2 defeat to Philadelphia. The Diamondbacks limited the Phillies to just four hits but two errors led to two unearned runs.
Aaron Hill is batting .410 during a 10-game hitting streak but didn’t play after being hit on the hand Saturday night.
Chase Anderson (6-4, 3.58) gets the nod after giving up two runs over six innings without a decision in a 5-4 win over Detroit on Tuesday. He said he felt the effects of a 15-day layoff between starts due to the All-Star break.
"I wouldn’t say I was a little rusty, but I’m a routine-oriented person," the righty said. "Starting pitchers are used to pitching every five days, so I would say I was a little off."
Rookies are 2-3 with a 3.50 ERA in nine starts versus Cincinnati.
Martin Prado is 14 for 37 (.378) over his last 10 games and is 3 for 8 versus Bailey.
Brayan Pena is 12 for 28 over his last eight games versus Arizona.
Cincinnati has won 11 of the last 15 meetings and took three of four in Arizona from May 29-June 1. Paul Goldschmidt went 2 for 14 with six strikeouts in that series.