April 30, 1975 Reds 4, Giants 1 (12-11)
Jack Billingham and reliver Will McEnaney shut down the Giants, yielding only one run on nine hits. By the time the Giants finally got their first run, the Reds were comfortably in front with four runs of their own.
The win gave the Reds a winning record through the first month of the season. The problem was, they barely had a winning record, and they stood three games back of the first place Dodgers.
The Reds have six of their last eight, and they haven’t won back to back games in almost two weeks. They’ve slipped to 10-12, and they now stand six games back of the division leading Cards (in the loss column).
Most of the Reds woes have been on the road. They’re an impressive 7-3 at home, yet they’re a horrible 3-9 on the road. And once again, pitching is becoming the problem. The team’s ERA has crept up to almost 5.00 (it stands at 4.99), which is tied for second worst in the NL. As good as this offense can be, it won’t be able to consistently win games until it gets that number down.
And it’s somewhat easy to see why they’re pitching has been poor. If you check out the team stats page over at Hardball Times, the Reds sport the second worst line drive percentage in the NL. The 1.6 homers per nine innings is worst in the NL as is the slugging average against (.500!!!).
Throw in the fact that they’re hitting .231 with runners in scoring position, and I’m a little surprised that they’re actually outperforming their Pythagorean W/L (by one game). The one bright spot is they lead the NL in pitches per plate appearance, but even that can only get you so far.
April 29, 1975 Giants 4, Reds 3 (11-11)
The Reds took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but the Giants tied the game when Clay Carroll hit rookie Horace Speed to drive in Chris Speier. Then in the bottom of the ninth, Chris Speier came up big with a walk off RBI double.
Clay Carroll dropped to 3-3. The fact that he had six of his twelve decisions in the first month of the season was odd. After looking at the games in April, there were quite a few come from behind wins by the Reds, as well as some games they let get away. Carroll was worked pretty hard by Sparky.
Well, the home team definitely let one get away. Although I guess yesterday they were the road team. Anyway, Derrek Lee was a one man wrecking crew as he drove in six of the Cubs eight runs. Both he and Adam Dunn have jumped out to early leads for the MVP award this year.
The Dunnster continues to amaze. He’s now hitting .312, with a Barry Bonds like 1.216 OPS. 16 of his 20 hits have been for extra bases, and then he has 14 walks. He’s also only on pace to strike out around 150 times.
I’m not quite sure what the Reds fascination with Joe Valentine is. I know opponents only hit .211 against him last year, but a 1.64 WHIP and a 29/25 strikeout to walk ratio kind of trumps that. Maybe it’s his career 6.02 ERA.
April 27, 1975 Reds 6, Astros 2 (11-10)
This was a classic pitchers dual. Through the first nine innings, both teams had four hits and two runs. But the Reds finally got to Astros starter Doug Konieczny in the tenth, putting three hits and four runs on the board to win the game.
Johnny Bench went two for five with two RBIs, and Dave Concepcion drove in two runs. Starter Gary Nolan threw a nice game to keep the Reds in this one. He went eight innings, giving up only four hits and two runs.
April 26, 1975 Reds 9, Astros 3 (10-10)
The Reds put nine runs on the board in the first four innings and never looked back. Ken Griffey led the charge, going three for five and driving in three. Pete Rose went two for five and drove in two runs.
Fred Norman threw a nice game. He went the distance, giving up only eight hits, three runs, and he struck out nine.
The Reds won, breaking their three game losing streak. Oddly, they lost all three of those games by the score of 4-2.
Future Hall of Famer Adam Dunn is back. Out of his 15 hits, 12 have been for extra bases. And only has 17 strikeouts in 17 games. You can’t argue with a 1.114 OPS. I know he’s only hit homers in two games, but eventually those doubles will start going over the fence.
Austin Kearns, on the other hand, continues to struggle. Sporting a .597 OPS, Kearns has one only extra base hit (at least it’s a homer) and his 15/6 strikeout to walk ratio is very un-Austin like.
Sadly, Kearns isn’t the only regular (although he’s practically been benched in favor of the Wily one) struggling. Ken Griffey, Jr. has Kearns beat with a .587 OPS. And this is a guy with a .934 career mark. And his 17/8 strikeout to walk ration is also cause for concern.
But, the Reds are .500 and within striking distance of the Cards. A good series against the Cubs this will go a long way. Right now, the game is scoreless in the second.
April 25, 1975 Astros 6, Reds 4 (9-10)
The Reds managed only four runs on their fifteen hits and five walks. The Astros jumped out on top with three in the sixth and three more in the seventh to take a 6-2 lead. The Reds added one run in each of the eighth and ninth, but it wasn’t enough.
Starter Pat Darcy gave up only four hits in the first five innings, but got shelled in the sixth and seventh before getting pulled by Sparky. In all, he went 6 1/3, and he gave up five runs, eight hits, and he walked three.
April, 24, 1975 Reds 11, Braves 3 (9-9)
This game started quietly. With the game tied at 1-1, the Reds scored a run in the sixth on a Ken Griffey single to take the lead.
They then gave Jack Billingham some insurance by scoring four runs in both the seventh and eighth innings. Billingham went the distance to earn his first win of the season, giving up five runs on nine hits. Johnny Bench and Tony Perez each drove in three runs, and six Reds had two or more hits.
April 23, 1975 Braves 5, Reds 4 (8-9)
After winning the extra inning game on opening day, the Reds dropped their third straight to fall to 1-3 in extra inning games.
Johnny Bench came up big in the fifth with a three run homer to tie the game up at 4-4. Don Gullett drove in the other run but he gave up an eleventh inning, two out double to Larvell Banks which allowed Mike Lum to score. Gullett went 10 2/3 innings as Sparky rode his starter.
With the loss, the Reds slipped to fifth place in the National League East, and were three games back of the first place Padres.