Free-falling Reds open homestand against .500 Padres

Field Level Media

May 21, 2024 at 6:02 am.

After losing seven of 10 games on their just-completed West Coast swing, the Cincinnati Reds will look to change their fortunes when they host the San Diego Padres on Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series.

The Reds dropped the final three games of their four-game set against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, scoring just five runs in the losses, including Sunday’s 3-2 defeat in 10 innings.

The Padres split their doubleheader Monday in Atlanta, beating the Braves 6-5 in the first game and dropping the nightcap 3-0. They’re 25-25, having hovered around the .500 mark all season.

Cincinnati has lost 18 of 23 games going into this nine-game homestand. The Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals will follow the Padres into town.

The Reds have been held to fewer than three runs 11 times in their 5-18 slump and are 1-11 in games decided by one run, the worst mark in the majors.

That’s due in part to their team batting average of .217, tied with the Chicago White Sox for the worst in the majors.

Cincinnati is 0-7-1 in its last eight series since sweeping the Los Angeles Angels in mid-April.

“We understand that this is unacceptable as far as results, winning and losing,” Reds reliever Emilio Pagan said. “We’ve just got to keep playing. You don’t want to try and do too much. You don’t want to start pressing or whatever.

“We understand we have to start stringing together some wins. It’s not fun coming to the field losing series after series after series. We’re too good of a team to be doing this.”

The Padres lost second baseman Xander Bogaerts to an apparent left shoulder injury as he dove for a ground ball in a dramatic come-from-behind 6-5 win in Monday’s opener.

“He’s got stability — more than it looked like he might have — and he’s got some strength and some range of motion,” Padres manager Mike Shildt said. “More time will tell, but at least the initial feedback is initially best-case scenario.”

Shildt said a preliminary exam showed no structural damage, with only a diagnosis of mild shoulder inflammation. Bogaerts is expected to undergo further tests Tuesday.

Manny Machado’s second double of the game capped a four-run eighth that rallied the Padres back from a 5-2 deficit in Monday’s first game. Machado entered the series slumping badly, with just three hits in 34 at-bats.

“Oh my gosh, I love this team,” Shildt said. “I just love this team. I love its grit. Team grit. It’s the definition of winners finding solutions.”

In the nightcap, the Padres escaped more injury trouble when right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. crashed into the wall with his right arm in the second inning after making a lunging catch of a fly ball hit by Ronald Acuna Jr. Tatis was on the ground momentarily clutching his arm but remained in the game.

The Reds send left-hander Andrew Abbott (2-4, 3.06 ERA) to the mound in the series opener, making his 10th start of the season. Abbott allowed just four hits and one run over seven innings in his last start on Wednesday in Arizona. He took a no-decision in a 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Abbott is making his second career start against San Diego, receiving a no-decision in Cincinnati’s 4-3 win on July 2, 2023. Abbott allowed just one run on four hits with a career-high 12 strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings.

The Padres counter with right-hander Joe Musgrove (3-3, 6.37), who is making his ninth start — but first since May 1 due to elbow inflammation. Musgrove is making his 11th start and 12th appearance lifetime against Cincinnati, posting an impressive 6-2 mark with a 3.75 ERA.

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