Reds aim to get more consistent on offense

Reds aim to get more consistent on offense

CINCINNATI -- After finishing each of the past two seasons ranked in the top 10 in runs scored in the Majors, the Reds didn't think crossing the plate would be much of an issue heading into the 2012 campaign.

They quickly faced reality after ranking No. 19 and No. 20 in runs scored for the months of April and May, respectively, to start the year.

The Reds revved it up slightly in June, scoring the 11th most runs in the Majors.

But despite playing in one of the best hitters' parks in baseball, the Reds have crossed the plate 358 times in 85 games this season entering Friday, which is the 17th most in the Majors.

The Reds entered Friday -- the first game since the All-Star break -- on a three-game winning streak, but faced a familiar stint of low-scoring games right before the break.

After an 8-2 win against the Dodgers on July 2, the Reds hit a three-game skid of scoring just one run per night before their three-game streak to end the first half.

As Cincinnati begins the second half one game behind the Pirates in the National League Central, Reds outfielder Chris Heisey said more consistency at the plate will equate to more wins.

"I think, especially offensively, we've had streaks where we hit really well and score a lot of runs, and then we've had streaks where we've kind of not showed up and scoring one or two runs a game," Heisey said. "I think if we can be consistent and just score three, four, five runs a night, we're going to have a great chance with the way our starting pitching has been going."

Entering Friday's game with the Cardinals, the Reds have scored three runs or fewer in 35 games this season, 29 of which have resulted in losses. Cincinnati has scored four or more runs 50 times, accounting for 41 wins.

Reds manager Dusty Baker counted several things the club can improve on heading into the second half of the season, but specified getting better on offense.

"There's always some things to improve on," Baker said. "Better pitch selection sometimes, especially hitting with runners in scoring position. If you improve on those things, then, naturally, we'll improve on our one-run record, which has really hurt us."

The Reds are 14-16 in one-run games this season, the 10th worst record in the Majors.

"We've played some good ballgames" Baker said. "Some of those games we've had to come back on and fell short. Some of those they took us and we didn't have a chance to come back."