At 3-8, the Reds officially own Major League Baseball's worst record heading into play on Sunday. Of course, five of those losses have come by one run and another by a walk-off grand slam against the Mets, so it's not as if Bryan Price's club is being completely overmatched. They've been competitive in just about every single game they've played, but while being close is nice, they need to start coming out on the right side of the scoreboard more often.
Anyone who is following this team knows the main problem is Cincinnati's inability to score runs. At this point, the Reds have scored just 28 runs through 11 games. This figure ties them for last among all teams with the Padres. The good guys will strive to turn that around on Sunday and avoid a sweep at the hands of the visiting Rays. Can they do it? We shall see.
In the meantime, here's a look at some news and notes:
+ Eye on Baseball's Matt Snyder says the Reds shouldn't be hitting the panic button just yet. While their sluggish start is certainly cause for concern, Snyder gives plenty of reasons to think Price's team can turn the ship around sooner rather than later.
+ Alfredo Simon has been outstanding in his two starts filling in for the injured Mat Latos in the rotation. He's allowed just two combined runs in both of his starts. Starting is nothing new to the right-hander as he previously served as one when he was with the Orioles. Still, his ability to provide the Reds with two quality starts to begin the year has been an excellent surprise.
+ Speaking of Latos, the big guy suffered a setback while throwing a bullpen on Friday. He had to shut down the session after experiencing pain in his forearm. Latos underwent an MRI on Saturday and the results revealed a flexor mass strain, according to MLB.com's Mark Sheldon. The good news is that it won't require surgery. The bad news is it's likely to delay his return even more.
+ Paul Daughtery of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes about how Billy Hamilton is energizing veteran teammates with his electric playing style. He's simply must-watch television when he gets on the bases.
+ Speaking of Chapman, the southpaw seems to be recovering better than expected. The Reds are hoping to get their closer back by the middle of May. However, no definitive timetable has been set.
+ How does Billy Hamilton compare to former Reds outfielder Deion Sanders in terms of speed? Let's have a look, shall we?
+ The hottest topic from Saturday was Joey Votto being inserted into the No. 2 spot in the batting order. This has been a move some fans have been clamoring for all offseason. Personally, I believe it makes sense. Votto's propensity to get on base and lack of penchant for driving in runs makes him better suited to hit higher in the order. With that said, I believe the glaring problem for the Reds is that they still lack a big right-handed stick in the heart of the order. Ryan Ludwick, Todd Frazier, and Brandon Phillips have shown flashes of brilliance, but the truth is none of them fit the bill for what the Reds need. A guy like Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins would be someone who would provide this lineup with the punch it needs. It's not likely to happen though and I expect the front office to continue hoping this current cast of players can turn the offensive fortunes around.
+ After today, the Reds welcome the Pirates to town for a three-game set beginning on Monday. Cincy owes a bit of payback to the Buccos after losing four straight games to them to close out 2013. One of which included a heart-breaking loss in the Wild Card game.