Reds will play 15 home games in 18-day stretch after winning road trip

Tyler Naquin, Kyle Farmer among players swinging a hot bat for Cincinnati

The Cincinnati Reds have won nine of 15 games since a 3-22 start and completed a winning road trip Sunday by beating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. That’s the optimistic way of looking at a team that still owns the worst record (12-28) in Major League Baseball.

“It was a very long road trip,” Reds manager David Bell told Jim Day, of Bally Sports Ohio, in a postgame interview Sunday. “A lot of things happened on this trip, a lot of good things. It was not perfect by any means, but it never is. We’re continuing to find ways every single day to get better. That’s what we have to do. But when you look back and take a minute to reflect, that’s a pretty good road trip right there, where you can come up with a winning record with a lot of travel against some good teams.”

The Reds finished 5-4 on the nine-game trip by splitting a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates and sweeping two games from the Cleveland Guardians before losing two of three games to the Blue Jays.

Here’s a breakdown of where the Reds stood Monday as they prepared to start a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs (16-24) at Great American Ball Park:

Hot bats: Tyler Naquin hit .333 (11-for-33) on the road trip with two doubles and four home runs, raising his average from .230 to .358. Kyle Farmer hit .381 (8-for-21) in the nine games.

Consistent bat: Tyler Stephenson continues to be the only Red hitting above .300. He was 8-for-30 on the road trip. His average stands at .303.

Relief help: Alexis Diaz, one of seven players to make his big-league debut for the Reds this season, allowed one earned run on one hit in 4 1/3 innings in four appearances during the road trip. He earned his first career save on the trip and his second career victory. He has a 0.92 ERA in 18 appearances.

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Tough schedule: The Reds have played the third-toughest schedule in the big leagues to this point, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The combined winning percentages of their opponents is .543.

Home sweet home: The Reds play 15 of their next 17 games in Cincinnati with two games in Boston (May 31-June 1) being their only road trip in that stretch. The Reds had played 26 games on the road through Sunday. No other team had played more than 24.

Bad injury news: Starting pitcher Connor Overton will miss six to eight weeks with a back injury, according to reports Monday.

Overton is 1-0 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts. He last pitched May 17, allowing two earned runs on three hits in 7 2/3 innings in a 5-4 victory against the Cleveland Guardians. He was scratched from his scheduled start Sunday in Toronto.

The Reds signed Overton, 28, to a minor-league contract in November and gave him a non-roster invitation to spring training. He started the season with Triple-A Louisville and was 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four appearances.

Injury updates: Starting pitcher Mike Minor allowed four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings Friday in a rehab start for the Triple-A Louisville Bats. He has been on the injured list all season with a left shoulder strain.

• Nick Senzel has made four appearances in a rehab stint for the Bats and is hitless in 10 at-bats.

• Jose Barrero, who has been on the injured list all season after undergoing hand surgery, has started two games at shortstop and served as designated hitter in another start and is 3-for-9 in three appearances for Louisville.

• Jake Fraley went 0-for-1 with a walk Sunday for the Dayton Dragons. He has been on the injured list since May 1 with right knee inflammation.

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