On the surface, the Cincinnati Reds don’t look like the worst offenders in baseball when it comes to scoring with runners on third base and less than two outs. But a closer look will show why the Reds are much worse than it might seem.
Heading into game action on May 9, the Reds were second in the NL with runners on third and less than two out with 85 plate appearances, trailing only the Colorado Rockies. The Reds were also second in the league in terms of the number (41) of those runners on third who scored.
However, the percentage of those runners scoring start to tell a big part of the story about why the Reds are a losing team so far in 2014. The 48 percent scoring percentage of those runners crossing the plate from third ranks ninth in the NL.
If the Reds could improve their ability to score more runners from third base when the opportunity arises, the Reds’ terrible 5-11 record in one-run games wouldn’t be quite so bad.
To make matters worse, the Reds are shooting themselves in the foot more than any other team in baseball. The Reds have had 11 runners thrown out at home, not including force plays. The team closest to this mark of home-plate incompetence is the Kansas City Royals with seven runners thrown out.
Regardless of the outbreak of injuries the Reds have sustained this year, advancing baserunners from third with less than two outs and preventing situations where runners are thrown out at home are fundamentals of baseball that shouldn’t be affected as much by who is or who is not in the lineup — or who slots where in the batting order.
Until the Reds can put their collective heads together, from the players at the plate and on the bases to the coaches on the field and in the dugout (especially manager Bryan Price), the Reds are not even going to live up to last year’s wildcard team. The Reds finished first in runs scored from third base with less than two outs and third overall in percentage of scoring success in that situation under Dusty Baker and former third base coach Mark Berry.