The Cincinnati Reds enjoyed their best home start in 31 years. The Reds, though, haven’t had much fun at Great American Ball Park lately.
Cincinnati tries to snap its season-high three-game losing streak Wednesday night when it faces the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Since batting .339 and averaging 8.6 runs during their first 5-0 home start since opening 7-0 in 1980, the Reds (9-8) are hitting .258 and scoring 4.5 per game while losing five of six at home. Tuesday’s 5-4 defeat to Arizona (7-8) dropped the defending NL Central champs to one game above .500 for the first time since a season-opening victory over Milwaukee.
“You can’t feel sorry for yourself. You’ve just got to keep playing,” said manager Dusty Baker, whose club had won 10 of 14 at home against the Diamondbacks.
While the Reds’ bats have cooled, the club’s starting pitching has also hit a rough spot, going 1-3 with an 8.88 ERA on the homestand after Sam LeCure(notes) was pulled Tuesday after giving up five runs - including four homers - and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The struggles for the Reds’ staff, which is still without injured starters Homer Bailey(notes) and Johnny Cueto(notes), haven’t been limited to the field after Mike Leake(notes), whom Baker said would start Thursday’s series finale, was arrested Monday in a downtown Cincinnati department store for misdemeanor shoplifting.
Still fighting though a case of mononucleosis, the veteran right-hander walked his first two batters of the season and lasted a season-low four innings while giving up season highs with five runs and nine hits.
“I felt stronger than I have all year,” Arroyo said.
In his previous start April 9, Arroyo won his fifth straight decision by striking out six and throwing six innings of eight-hit ball in a 6-1 win at Arizona. He is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts against the Diamondbacks.
The right-hander surrendered season highs with seven hits and nine runs in three innings of Wednesday’s 15-5 home loss to St. Louis.
“I was off on pretty much everything,” Kennedy said following his shortest start since going two for the New York Yankees on Aug. 8, 2008. “The command, the curveball was getting over but nothing else was getting over. I was really battling against myself. It was pretty bad. This is by far the worst outing I’ve had in a long time.”
Kennedy, though, gave up one run in eight innings of a 13-2 home win over the Reds on April 8.
Diamondbacks third baseman Ryan Roberts(notes), who had his second career two-homer game Tuesday and has hit three of his four home runs this season against the Reds, could start again with Melvin Mora(notes) nursing a jammed left foot. Batting .382, Roberts has never faced Arroyo.
The last time Arizona won two straight in Cincinnati in the same season was May 26-27, 2006.