Seven days in California kept the Cincinnati Reds on an upward trajectory. Since firing manager Bryan Price and starting 0-3 under interim manager Jim Riggleman to fall to 3-18 (.143), the Reds are 12-11 (.521).
In the big picture, a 15-29 record (.341) doesn’t look good, but if the Reds can continue to win 52.1 percent of their games in the next 118 games, they’ll finish with 77 victories. That would be nine games better than last season.
» SENZEL UPDATE: Prospect to resume baseball activities
That’s easier said than done considering the quality of the Reds’ opponents in the National League Central Division. Every team was at least four games over .500 through Wednesday.
The Reds start a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday at Great American Ball Park. The fourth-place Cubs lead last-place Cincinnati by nine games. Only two games separate the other four teams in the division. Here’s a glance at how the Reds compare to those teams:
Team batting average: The Reds rank fifth in the NL (.247) but trail the Pirates (.260) and Cubs (.253).
On-base percentage: The Reds rank sixth in the league (.323) and third in the division behind the Pirates (.332) and Cubs (.332).
» SPORTS TODAY: More on Reds’ win in San Francisco
Runs scored: The Reds rank sixth in the league (184) and third in the division behind the Pirates (211) and Cubs (209).
Home runs: The Reds rank 11th in the league (44) and last in the division. The Brewers lead the division with 51.
Stolen bases: The Reds have stolen 20 bases. They rank ninth in the league and second in the division behind the Brewers (31).
Starters ERA: The Reds sit in last place in the league (5.39). The Cardinals rank second in the league (3.13) and lead the division.
Relievers ERA: The Reds rank last in the division (4.05) and 10th in the league. The Brewers have the division’s best bullpen (2.60).
Strikeouts: Reds pitchers have struck out 347 batters. They rank 11th in the league and second in the division.
Cubs at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410