Marathon money: Capping Cincinnati's grueling schedule
Tue, May 1, 2007
By Jason Logan
Every long journey begins with one step and the Cincinnati Reds are taking that first step Tuesday night
when they kick off a 33-games-in-34-nights marathon stretch.
The Reds play 16 straight games, beginning with a three-game road set with the Houston Astros. It ends May 16 at the conclusion of a West Coast swing to face the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. In between those road trips Cincinnati hosts the Colorado Rockies for three games and the Astros for four.
After a brief day off for travel, the Reds begin the second leg of their lengthy schedule, flying to Cleveland to play the Indians. They return to Cincinnati to face the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates at Great American Ball Park, and then cap off this marathon with series in Houston and Colorado.
All in all, the Reds’ heavy chunk of schedule will last from May 1 to June 4, span six different time zones and includes 18 road games. Cincinnati is 12-13 heading into Tuesday’s game and down 0.8 units on the year. It has earned bettors 1.93 units on the road, splitting the 12 away games it has played this season.
Professional handicappers still rely on situational stats and matchups when capping teams on these types of schedules. They don’t have any proven trends or tactics but they do look for possible let-down spots.
“When a team from the East is going west, there’s a tendency to go against them. But the first day back home, what with the time change and all, is the time to look at fading that team,” says Covers Expert Ted Sevransky.
“The first day back off a road trip is filled with a busy schedule for players,” says Sevransky. “They have to see the wife and the kids or the girlfriend or pay bills or deal with personal issues to so there are a lot of factors outside of baseball keeping them busy.”
Last season during similar long consecutive-game stretches, the Red reacted differently to the constant travel. They started a 26-games-in-27-nights run on April 11 and wrapped up this stretch on May 7 with a record of 17-9. In another long stretch starting June 16, they played 23 games in 24 nights, finishing with an 8-15 record.
While being on the go can wear down most players, teams are used to the demanding schedule. Managers will rest players when needed. However the one area that is most susceptible to fatigue is the bullpen.
Cincinnati’s starters have the third best collective ERA in the National League (3.55) but its bullpen has failed to pick up the slack, going 4-5 with a 4.43 ERA in only 63 innings of work.
“Ball players are used to working every day, with one exception - the bullpen,” says Sevransky. “Bullpens can tend to get worn down over these stretches if they have to work a lot innings over the day-to-day. Keeping an eye on that is important.”
have set Cincinnati as a -110 road favorite for tonight's game, the first of the 33 games. The Reds will go with right-hander Kyle Lohse today
. Books opened with them set as +111 underdogs and the total at 8 ½ runs.