The Reds have had to battle injuries to several key players so far this season, and though their pitching and defense have been solid, they find themselves three games under .500 as they go into the rubber match of their three-game series with the Cardinals on Sunday.
Cincinnati's pitching staff has posted a 3.65 ERA, and the Reds boast the best defensive unit in the Majors with a .989 fielding percentage. But the offense has struggled, scoring the third-fewest runs in the Major Leagues (168).
Manager Bryan Price knows the talent he has on his roster, however, and is confident that it's only a matter of time before his club starts firing on all cylinders.
"I think you could poll the entire team, and they'd say we're a better team than our record would suggest," Price said Saturday. "We don't have to catch lightning in a bottle here; this is already a good team. We pitch and we defend; there should be more wins with those two components alone. … We know that we have offensive performers here, and we're only getting better as more pieces come off the disabled list."
The Reds hope Mike Leake can continue the club's strong pitching performance, as the right-hander is slated to start Sunday's series finale. Over his last four starts, Leake has a 1.82 ERA but no wins to show for it (0-1).
"It's tough. You never know when you're going to score a run," catcher Devin Mesoraco said Saturday. "As a pitcher, I think you've just got to keep going out there and keep trying to put up zeros, and hopefully we can get some runs. But I don't think that's going to affect Mike at all. I think he just goes out there and does his job."
Leake will be opposed by Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright, who has been dominant this season. He is second in the Majors with a 1.85 ERA, and sixth in the National League with 65 strikeouts. Opposing hitters are batting just .185 against him.
In his last start, Wainwright baffled the D-backs by twirling a one-hit shutout at Busch Stadium. His counterpart that night, Arizona's Bronson Arroyo, said he's impressed by what Wainwright has been able to do after Tommy John surgery.
"The guy has been doing it for a long time, especially coming back from the surgery, it's not easy to do that," Arroyo said. "He doesn't have the same velocity that he used to have, and he's still dominating, and he's got a sub-2 ERA."
Cardinals: Lineup to have a different look
With the Reds starting Leake, the Cardinals are expected to insert second baseman Kolten Wong and first baseman Matt Adams back into the starting lineup. Both were out of the starting lineup on Saturday for matchup purposes, as manager Mike Matheny preferred to go with a right-hand-heavy lineup against lefty Tony Cingrani.
Adams has had some success against Leake, going 3-for-9 with a double, homer and two RBIs. Wong went 1-for-3 against Leake back on April 9. That was one of only four hits Leake allowed in an eight-inning start that day. Wong has hit safely in all six games he's played since returning from Triple-A on May 14.
If healthy, outfielder Peter Bourjos is likely to return to the lineup for the series finale, as well. Bourjos was a game-time scratch on Saturday due to a stomach virus.
Reds: Hannahan shut down
After undergoing surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum last October, third baseman Jack Hannahan recently suffered his second setback and has been shut down from throwing and hitting.
He has inflammation inside a capsule of his shoulder, which has bothered him when trying to throw or hit.
"I would throw and [the shoulder] just wouldn't bounce back," Hannahan said. "As far as the timetable, I have no clue. Once these guys get back [from next week's road trip], I should start up a throwing program and get back out there as soon as I can."
• With his solo shot in the fourth inning off Cingrani on Saturday, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina has hit three of his five homers this season against the Reds.
• Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday is 11-for-26 (.423) in his career against Leake, with three doubles, a home run and six RBIs.
• Reds right fielder Jay Bruce, third baseman Todd Frazier and second baseman Brandon Phillips have all had success against Wainwright. Bruce is batting .367 (11-for-30) with two doubles, two homers and eight RBIs against the right-hander. In 18 career at-bats against Wainwright, Frazier has six hits (.333), including two doubles and a home run. Phillips is a career .304 hitter (14-for-46) against Wainwright, with a double, home run and three RBIs.
• Entering this series, the Reds were 1-9 in their last 10 series against St. Louis.
Manny Randhawa is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.