The Cincinnati Reds hit the road this week for series in Pittsburgh and Colorado. It’s never easy to win on the road in Major League Baseball – the old adage is just finish .500 on the road and take care of your business at home and you’ll find yourself in the playoffs. Still, sometimes you need to take care of business on the road, too. And right now the Pirates and Rockies own two of the three worst records in the National League.
Pittsburgh is up first for the Reds and they begin a 3-game series tonight. The Pirates are 14-19 and have the worst OPS and OPS+ in the league. They are hitting .228/.305/.346 as a team. Their 22 home runs is HALF of what the Cincinnati Reds have, and the Reds are only third in the National League in home runs. The Pirates pitching has been league average when it comes to allowing runs. Their 4.24 ERA translates to a 98 ERA+ on the season. You play the games for a reason, particularly in baseball where even the best teams lose 60+ times a year, but on paper, the Reds should have an advantage in the series against the Pirates.
After that the team will head out to Colorado. While Coors Field has been using the humidor forever, and the baseball is actually hurting offensive output this season, it’s still Coors Field and you never really know what’s going to happen. With that said, the Rockies pitching staff hasn’t been good. They walk a lot of hitters and they have the lowest strikeout rate in the National League. If you are allowing guys to make contact in Coors – well, that’s a bad plan most of the time. The Rockies hitters aren’t exactly doing much to help out the pitching either. Their .702 OPS translates into an OPS+ of just 85, which is only better than the Pirates and Brewers this season so far. Much like the series against the Pirates, the Reds should have an advantage against the Rockies.
Cincinnati is currently in 4th place in the National League Central at 15-16. They are four games back of the Cardinals, two back of the Brewers, and a half game behind the Cubs. A strong week of winning against two of the worst teams in the league could go a long way to getting things rolling in the right direction again and perhaps climbing the division ladder before returning home for a 7-game stand against the Giants and Brewers next week.