The Cincinnati Reds would no doubt much rather be going home than to San Diego.
The Reds will be trying to shake off a frustrating road sweep when they open a four-game set with the Padres at Petco Park on Thursday.
Cincinnati (21-26) lost three games at Los Angeles, the sweep culminating in Wednesday’s 5-2 defeat. The Reds, who managed only three runs in the final two games, have dropped four straight and 10 of 11 away from home.
Cincinnati came into the series at Dodger Stadium off a 6-0 homestand. The Reds, who wrap up a seven-game trip with this series, own the second-worst road record in the majors at 7-17, ahead of only 6-16 Atlanta.
“They capitalized on our mistakes, and it wasn’t that hard because all those mistakes came with a runner on third base,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We gave them three runs. And when you’re not scoring runs, you can’t give away runs. Those runs were the difference in the ballgame.”
Cincinnati, however, will now visit the Padres (17-31), owners of the worst record in baseball. San Diego lost for the fourth time in five games Wednesday, 11-3 to St. Louis.
The Padres rank last in the majors with 158 runs and third to last in the NL with 232 allowed. Of course, Cincinnati is right behind with 231 runs given up.
Things got even worse for San Diego on Wednesday, as pitcher Chris Young and catcher Josh Bard suffered injuries in a span of two batters in the third inning. Young had his nose broken when Albert Pujols lined a shot off his face, and Bard sprained his left ankle on a play at the plate when Pujols slid into his leg.
Padres manager Bud Black said that Bard will be placed on the disabled list. Young will be re-evaluated to determine his status.
“It’s tough to lose two clubhouse leaders,” said Adrian Gonzalez, who homered and drove in all three Padres runs. “We got beat up (in the score) and we got beat up.”
The injuries came one day after 2007 NL Cy Young winner Jake Peavy was placed on the disabled list with a strained and swollen right elbow.
On Thursday, San Diego will face Aaron Harang (2-5, 3.12 ERA), who gave up one run in seven innings Saturday but didn’t get a decision in Cincinnati’s 4-2 win over Cleveland. Harang has gone at least seven innings in seven of his 10 starts, but the Reds are giving him an average of just 3.12 runs of support.
“I’m not worried about it,” Harang said. “I got out of a couple of jams and just kept plugging along.”
The right-hander has pitched well against San Diego, going 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA in six starts.
The Padres will counter with Randy Wolf (2-4, 5.05), who allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings Saturday but lost his fourth straight decision, 4-2 at Seattle. Still, he pitched much better than he did five days earlier, when he gave up seven runs in four innings against the Chicago Cubs.
San Diego has dropped all five of Wolf’s starts during his losing streak. He owns a 7.52 ERA over that span.
“You can pitch better, but it doesn’t mean anything at the end of the game if the other team has more runs,” Wolf said.
Wolf is 6-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 12 starts against the Reds.
The left-hander has yielded four hits and no homers in 13 at-bats to Ken Griffey Jr., who’s three homers shy of 600. Griffey has not homered in 90 at-bats, 11 shy of the longest drought of his career.
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