A 7-2 start for the Cincinnati Reds in 2017 seems like ancient history. Since returning from a six-game road trip and starting a 10-game homestand at Great American Ball Park, the team is 2-7.
The Reds fell back to the .500 mark at 9-9 with a 12-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. On the bright side, Joey Votto drove in five runs with a 3-for-5 performance. He has three home runs in the last six games.
RELATED: Cubs hand Reds fourth straight loss
Votto’s average stands at .239. It’s the second straight season he has slumped in April. Last season, he was hitting .180 on April 22.
“He’s been hitting the ball hard,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He doesn’t have much to show for it. He’s giving us really competitive at-bats. That’s good to see. (Jose) Peraza had a couple good at-bats. We’ve got a couple guys who are starting to come around and swing the bat. We’ve got to find a way to pair up the quality pitching with the quality hitting.”
Series finale: The Reds’ Bronson Arroyo (1-2, 8.40) starts the 1:10 p.m. Sunday game against the Cubs’ John Lackey (1-2, 4.00).
Arroyo recorded his best start of the season Tuesday against the Orioles, allowing three earned runs on five hits in five innings. He earned his first victory since June 15, 2014.
Working overtime: The Reds lost 2-1 to the Orioles in 10 innings Thursday and then 6-5 to the Cubs in 11 innings on Friday.
Michael Lorenzen gave up a game-tying three-run home run to Anthony Rizzo with two outs in the ninth. It was Lorenzen’s second inning of work. Wandy Peralta followed with a scoreless 10th. Robert Stephenson gave up the go-ahead run in the 11th.
“Wandy would have been in there (in the ninth) if they would have taken the lead,” Price said. “It was really more about total pitches. It was a two-inning outing there for Michael. If the pitch count got way up there, we would have had Wandy as a backdrop, but that was not a situation where I was trying to get to Wandy for a matchup. We had the right guy in there, and Rizzo hit a homer. What can you do? It just didn’t work out.”
Needed break: Billy Hamilton was 4-for-31 at the plate through Friday in this 10-game homestand. His batting average dropped to .226. He started 16 of the first 17 games but was not in the lineup Saturday.
Scott Schebler moved from right field to center field. Scooter Gennett started in right.
“I hope our guys know that I’m not into sending messages with days off,” Price said. “It’s just a day off. If I need to send a message, I’ll confront someone instead of giving them a day off.”
Looking ahead: The Reds begin a three-game series in Milwaukee on Monday. Tim Adleman is scheduled to start the final game of the series Wednesday unless Rookie Davis returns from the disabled list.
“There’s a chance he’ll be ready to pitch that day,” Price said. “He threw 46 pitches in his bullpen (Friday). It’s a contusion. It’s not like it’s an elbow or a shoulder. The swelling’s gone.”