The Reds were playing from behind after the first inning again Tuesday night. That has happened a lot this year, hasn’t it?
The Reds have the worst 1st inning run differential so far this season, scoring 74 times but allowing 113 runs. That -39 run differential is the worst in the majors and is currently tied with the worst 1st inning team of 2008, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houston, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh all have 1st inning run differentials this season in the -32 to -30 range. Rounding out the worst 5, the AL West leading Angels have been outscored by 29 runs in the first inning.
The following chart shows where the Reds rank against the 20 worst first inning run differentials from 2005-2009. The stats are through Monday night’s games.
The Reds and the Pirates are the only organizations to show up on that list 3 times. At their current pace, the 2009 Reds could end up with the 5th worst 1st inning run differential of the past 5 years.
Why are the Reds so bad in the 1st inning this year? The Reds starters have the 19th best ERA of the 30 teams in baseball, and a little worse than league average ERA. They do have the 2nd worst offense in baseball. Do you think this is a sample size/split issue (they’ve had over 600 plate appearances and 145 1st innings pitched this year)? Or is there a problem with the 1st inning game plan? Either a poor or predictable strategy or poor execution?