Reds, Padres struggling to find their offensive grooves

Field Level Media

Before Friday night's game at Petco Park in San Diego, rival managers David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds and Andy Green of the Padres spoke optimistically about their struggling offenses.

"I think we're ready to snap out of it," said Bell, whose team had lost four games in a row before defeating the Padres 4-1 in Thursday night's series opener.

"We know they will come around," Green said of the Padres' offense. "We know there are a lot of guys in the lineup right now who aren't sitting at the numbers that we know they are eventually going to be at. We trust people. We trust players with track records. Some days, taking a breather (is) the best thing to do. There is no magic formula.

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"Ultimately, we're one day away from really clicking as an offense and to have things take off. Players want to get results."

Well, it didn't happen Friday night as the two teams combined for five runs on eight hits against 20 strikeouts over 11 innings, with the Reds handing the Padres a fifth straight loss, 3-2.

Cincinnati will go for its third straight win in the four-game series Saturday night with right-hander Luis Castillo (1-1, 1.46 ERA) starting for the Reds against Padres left-hander Eric Lauer (2-2, 4.91 ERA). It will be the fifth start of the season for both pitchers.

The task might be daunting for the Padres, given the present state of their offense. They have 30 hits over their five straight losses.

Their team batting average is .221 -- better than the Reds' .192, good for last place in the National League.

Castillo has given up four runs on nine hits and 13 walks with 32 strikeouts over 24 2/3 innings this season to continue a run that started last Sept. 1. Over his past nine appearances, the 26-year-old is 4-2 and leads all major-league starting pitchers with a 1.25 ERA - giving up eight runs on 29 hits in 57 2/3 innings with 21 walks and 66 strikeouts. During the run, opposing hitters have batted .149.

And opposing hitters are batting just .114 against Castillo this season. He opened the season by becoming only the third starting pitcher since 1983 to strike out eight or more hitters while allowing two or fewer hits in three consecutive starts.

"Luis is as good as anyone in the game right now," Bell said.

Castillo will be making his fourth career start against the Padres. He is 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA against the Padres, allowing 12 runs (nine earned) on 17 hits and four walks with 14 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.

The Padres have hit .270 against Castillo with both wins coming last season. Padres Hunter Renfroe and Francisco Mejia each have two homers off Mejia while Wil Myers has one.

Lauer has allowed 12 runs on 21 hits and four walks over 16 innings in his last three starts after pitching six innings of four-hit, shutout ball on Opening Day. His ERA has climbed in each of his last three starts.

"A couple of times, I thought he was one pitch away from a really good outing," said Green of Lauer, who has given up four homers in his past three games.

Lauer made two starts against the Reds as a rookie in 2018 and was 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA, allowing one run on seven hits and five walks with 12 strikeouts over nine innings. The Reds hit .219 against Lauer.

--Field Level Media

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