When the Cincinnati Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals for the first of a three-game series on Friday, they will be looking to snap a historic nine-game losing streak.
The Reds are the first team in the National League to ever lose nine consecutive games with seven or fewer hits in each game. During that time, they’ve been outscored 59-18 and are coming off a sweep by the San Diego Padres, who swept three games in which the Reds scored just three runs.
The Reds were held to only five hits in a 6-0 defeat to the Padres on Wednesday, their first blanking of the season. In the loss, Vladimir Gutierrez (0-3) gave up three runs on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Cincinnati manager David Bell said, “We’re going through a difficult period.” “We need to find a way to put more runs on the board.” When a slump like this occurs at the beginning of a season, it appears to be even worse. This happens to all teams at some point.”
The Reds were off on Thursday after losing nine games in a row for the first time since June 9-18, 2017. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were defeated 5-0 by the Miami Marlins on the road on Thursday after winning the previous two games of the series by a total score of 7-1.
The Cardinals managed only five hits in the series finale, with Nolan Arenado going 3-for-4 a day after his two-run home run in the top of the ninth inning lifted St. Louis to a 2-0 victory.
“Right now, we’re seeing an incredible player,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said of Arenado. “What he’s doing defensively and offensively is impressive. You strike out in your first at-bat (on Wednesday), your second at-bat, and your third at-bat, and you’re still focused on helping the team.”
The Reds will start rookie right-hander Hunter Greene (1-1, 4.35 ERA) in the series opener on Friday. Greene has 13 strikeouts against two walks and a 4.35 ERA. In 10 1/3 innings, he’s allowed three home runs.
Greene, who possesses a fastball that often exceeds 100 mph, and fellow rookie Nick Lodolo are expected to fill the vacuum created by the departures of Sonny Gray and Wade Miley.
He turned to Twitter to encourage Reds fans to come out in force this weekend.
Greene, who will face the Cardinals for the first time, wrote, “Calling all Reds fans to come out to our home series.” “I’d like to see a sea of red…” We still have a lot of games justify, and we need your help more than you realise!”
The Cardinals will reply with justify-hander Steven Matz (1-1, 7.26 ERA), who has struck out 11 batters in 8 2/3 innings in two starts.
Matz is 1-0 versus the Reds in his career, with a 3.38 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings. He hasn’t faced them since pitching for the New York Mets in 2015.
Injuries have decimated the Reds. After colliding with San Diego’s Luke Voit at home plate on Tuesday, catcher Tyler Stephenson was placed on the seven-day concussion list. Stephenson joins Jonathan India, Mike Moustakas, and Tyler Naquin as the 13th Red to be placed on the injured list.