Dusty Baker and the Cincinnati Reds: On the Road Again
Dusty Baker's Reds currently own the third-best record in the National League, 2.5 games behind the Cardinals and one full game behind San Francisco. The Reds' regular season is 23 percent complete—breakneck speed for sports fans who dedicate their year-long activities around the baseball events.
When playing in their home stadium, band box Great American Ballpark, the Reds sport an NL-leading record of 16-and-6.
On the road the Reds' hitting has been nothing short of abysmal. A .224 batting average is second worst only to the Cubs. Their nine home runs rank dead last in the league. Their slugging percentage is a full .016 behind the Marlins—again, good for last in the league.
When a fan's favorite team is even mentioned in the same breath as the Marlins it is bad. Not just bad—more like a horribly painful toothache.
How many games will the Reds win during their nine-game road trip?
The news gets worse for Reds fans. On Tuesday night they begin a nine-day, nine-game road trip, playing three three-game sets against cupcake teams with losing records: the Phillies, and the aforementioned Mets and Marlins.
Each of those series fall into the "should win" category.
To the credit of Baker's Reds, their limited road schedule has been rough: six games against the Cardinals, four vs. the Nationals and a three-game series with the Pirates. Each of those teams have impressive winning records. The Cards are 11 over .500, while both the Nats and the Bucs are four over.
There is another silver lining for the Reds while playing away from Cincinnati. Capping off their last road trip—a 10-gamer—they did sweep three from the "should win" Cubs.
Tuesday night the Reds will test their road moxie in Miami against the NL-worst Marlins.
To call that series a test is just plain sad. But nine days from now Reds fans—one way or another—will have a better gauge of, what so far, has been a cruel case of the on-the-road-again blues.
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