The Cincinnati Reds waited two weeks for good weather. They can only hope the improved forecast leads to a change in their fortunes.
After playing 11 games with the game-time temperature ranging from 35 to 59, the temperature was expected to be near 75 degrees Thursday for the first pitch of a four-game series between the Reds and St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park.
» VOTTO RESTS: First baseman’s streak of 202 straight starts ends
The Reds (2-9) entered the game with the worst record in baseball, and they faced a six-game deficit in the National League Central Division. This is Cincinnati’s worst record through 11 games since it was 2-9 in 1993. A loss to the Cardinals would drop them to 2-10 for the first time since 1955.
“We have to execute better,” Reds manager Bryan Price said before the game. “It simply comes down to we have to pitch better and find ways to get some leads and maintain those leads. We haven’t been in the driver’s seat very often to this point. We’re trying to play catch-up a lot, and it’s not a great recipe.”
The Reds rank 14th out of 15 National League teams in runs scored (34) and have the worst team ERA in the league (5.59).
“When you’re behind, you’re going to get the best of the bullpen,” Price said. “When you’re ahead, you’re going to get a lot of times the secondary bullpen and it’s a chance to tack on more runs. Being able to flip the script there will make a big difference.”
» RELATED: Reds inventing new ways to lose | How low can Reds go?
The Reds start Sal Romano (0-1, 5.73 ERA) on Thursday and then Tyler Mahle (1-1, 4.22) in a 6:40 p.m. Friday game. Cody Reed (0-0, 9.00) is scheduled to start Saturday, but Brandon Finnegan may get the call after pitching five innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Louisville on Monday.
Finnegan, who was in the Reds clubhouse Thursday and said he hadn’t been told if he would start Saturday, urged fans to stay patient.
“It’s early in the season,” he said. “A lot of people are panicking for no reason. We’re in the second week of the season. Of course, it’s not going our way yet, but it’ll get there. Guys are starting to come around. We’re playing good. We’re not losing by a lot. They’re good games. You can’t complain a lot. I’ve watched the games while they’re gone. There are little things missing. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m one of the keys, but I’d like to be. I’d like to get back and try to help this team win and try to make a push. We’ve got really good players on this team. Once we get in a groove, I think we can do something special.”