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The Reds Report: May 21

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

How bad did things get in Cincinnati this week?

By the middle of Sunday afternoon’s game, Thom Brennaman was interviewing a bird.

What led to this level of despair? The Reds went 1-5 on the week. That lone win on Saturday snapped a season high seven-game losing streak. Cincinnati is now closer to the bottom of the division than the top, and the optimism/surprise of the season’s first month has worn off for most fans.

Now that you’re in a good mood, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.

The Highlight of the Week

Let’s think happy thoughts for a moment. The Reds win on Saturday required coming back from a five-run deficit. The rally was capped off by a big Scott Schebler home run.

Don’t Blame It On the Offense

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you can’t blame this week’s struggles on the offense. Since Tuesday, the Reds have scored five, five, five, six, eight, and four runs. At the end of the week, they only had one win to show for a pretty impressive offensive output. So, what’s the big problem?

The Starting Rotation Is Really Struggling

Cincinnati is in desperate need of a solid performance out of the starting rotation. Unfortunately, they didn’t get any of those this week. Here is what Reds starters accomplished since Tuesday:

  • Bronson Arroyo: 5 IP, 5 ER
  • Scott Feldman: 2.2 IP, 5 ER (7 R)
  • Amir Garrett: 4 IP, 6 ER
  • Lisalverto Bonilla: 5.1 IP, 6 ER
  • Tim Adleman: 4.2 IP, 6 ER
  • Bronson Arroyo: 5.1 IP, 6 ER

You’re not going to win many games with performances like that. The injuries to three Reds starters are really starting to take a toll on the entire staff. Cincinnati’s starting rotation has thrown the fewest innings of any rotation in baseball. That has left a lot of innings (the most in MLB) for the Reds bullpen to clean up.

Zach Buchanan detailed Bryan Price’s struggle to manage the staff this season. The Reds have tried every available option to fill the open spots in the starting rotation, but they don’t have a lot of reliable contributors at this point. Brandon Finnegan is expected to be the first man back, but that won’t be until mid-June. It could be a long month for the Reds unless a few starting pitchers step up.

What About Anthony DeSclafani?

One of the other major pieces the Reds are waiting on is Anthony DeSclafani. For the past two months, DeSclafani has been rehabbing his elbow in an attempt to avoid surgery. He was cleared to resume throwing this week. This is a good sign, but as Mark Sheldon notes the team still isn’t ready to put a target date on his return.

The Reds Make Their Facebook Debut

Recently, MLB and Facebook finalized a deal to stream a game on the social media platform every Friday. The Reds and Rockies earned the distinction of being the first two teams to have a game broadcast via Facebook. Head over to facebook.com/MLB to find each weekly matchup. In between looking at pictures of people’s kids and reading their political rantings…you can now watch a little baseball.

Let’s Talk About Zack Cozart

Who’s having the best offensive season in Cincinnati? Most would assume it’s Joey Votto, but by several advanced metrics that distinction belongs to Zack Cozart. Cozart is currently hitting .351/.432/.595 with 4 HR, 26 R, 19 RBI, and 2 SB. For a number of seasons, Cozart’s glove made him valuable to the Reds. Now, he’s providing production at the plate as well.

Should you expect Cozart’s increased production to last? Wick Terrell of Red Reporter took some time this week to compare Cozart’s development to that of another shortstop (Brandon Crawford). He finds some interesting comparisons between the two and suggests that the team might have a pretty valuable asset on their hands as the trade deadline gets closer.

This Week

The Reds take on the Indians for four games (two home/two away) to open the week. They’ll head to Philadelphia for a three-game series over the weekend.

You can read Eric’s writing all season long at Red Reporter and Baseball Prospectus. He also hosts the On Baseball Writing Podcast and appears on the Red Reporter podcast.

Article written by Eric Roseberry

Eric covers the Reds for KSR and Red Reporter. He writes about fantasy baseball for Baseball Prospectus. You can follow Eric on Twitter @ericroseberry.