The Cincinnati Reds survived the first part of one of the season’s toughest stretches, winning a series against the Chicago Cubs and losing a series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
» HAL McCOY: Offense listless again in loss to Dodgers
A 3-3 mark in the six games at Great American Ball Park won’t excite fans, but it could have been worse. The National League Central’s last-place team held its own against the top two teams in the league.
“Overall a good homestand,” Reds manager David Bell said Sunday. “Not satisfied. But this is what it’s all about. We have the opportunity to go on the road to play Milwaukee and Chicago, two good teams. We’re excited about it.”
The schedule doesn’t get easier. The Reds (21-26) play the Brewers (28-21) on Tuesday and Wednesday and then go to Wrigley Field for a weekend series against the Cubs (26-17). A four-game series at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates (24-20) follows.
In all, the Reds will play 15 straight games against teams with winning records before they play another losing team, the Washington Nationals (19-26).
Here’s a quick glance at the week ahead for the Reds:
Tuesday: Sonny Gray (0-4, 4.30 ERA) will make his 10th start. This is the longest he’s gone at the start of a season without picking up a victory. He’s one of only four pitchers in baseball with at least nine starts and no victories.
» ASK HAL: Time to rework Luis Castillo’s contract?
Wednesday: Luis Castillo (5-1, 1.90) will make his 11th start. He ranks third in the National League in ERA and third in strikeouts (76).
Friday: Anthony DeSclafani (2-2, 4.60) will try to rebound after back-to-back four-inning starts in which he allowed four earned runs each time. Reds pitchers have allowed fewer home runs (43) than any team in the National League. DeSclafani has given up 10 of them.
Saturday: Tyler Mahle (1-5, 3.51) will return to the mound after pitching six scoreless innings Saturday in a 4-0 victory against the Dodgers. This will be his 10th start of the season.
Sunday: Gray makes his second start of the season against the Cubs. He allowed three earned runs in five innings in a 6-5 victory Wednesday.
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