So far, the Cincinnati Reds of manager Jim Riggleman haven't looked that much different than the Cincinnati Reds of Bryan Price.
Not much hitting. Certainly not much pitching. And, from the looks of things, not much hope for the immediate future.
The Reds return home Monday to face the Atlanta Braves in their first game at Great American Ball Park since Riggleman replaced Price as manager last week. About all that's different since the managerial change is the Reds are 3-18 after being 3-15 when Price was let go.
The St. Louis Cardinals finished off a second successive weekend swept of the Reds by winning 9-2 on Sunday at Busch Stadium, Cincinnati's fifth loss in a row, 13th in 14 games and 15th in 17 games. The Reds already are 0-7 against the Cardinals this season, and their 3-18 start is the worst in franchise history -- and the franchise is 136 years old. It's also the worst record in the majors.
Reds right-hander Luis Castillo lasted five innings Sunday, surrendering three runs and seven hits while walking four, and the bullpen gave up six runs in the next three innings.
"There's better days ahead for him (Castillo) and the ballclub," Riggleman said after the game.
The Reds can only hope so, but their numbers don't lie. They're hitting only .220 as a team and the team ERA is 5.55, with both numbers ranking in the bottom five in the majors.
If management was hoping for the turnaround that quite often occurs when a managerial or coaching change is made -- even if it's short-lasting -- that hasn't been the case with the Reds. They've now lost 24 of their last 28 games dating to last season, when they dropped 10 of their final 12.
"We've got to pitch better and hit better," Riggleman said.
Atlanta, which unexpectedly got Sunday off when its series finale against the New York Mets was rained out at SunTrust Park, has won three of its last four.
The Reds will send one of their many struggling starters to the mound to begin the four-game series, with right-hander Sal Romano making his fifth start of the season. He's 0-2 with a 5.75 ERA, allowing four homers and walking 11 in 20 1/3 innings.
Romano did beat the Braves last season, allowing one run and five hits in seven innings of the Reds' 5-3 win on Aug. 18. He doesn't have much of a history with the current Braves hitters, although Freddie Freeman has doubled off him in three career at-bats.
Romano will be opposed by right-hander Mike Foltynewicz, whose start was pushed back a day by the rainout. He's off to a good start with a 1-1 record, 2.53 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings.
Foltynewicz didn't get the decision in a 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday in which he gave up only one earned run and four hits while striking out eight and walking four in six innings -- all while admittedly not having his best stuff.
"My fastball command wasn't there, but it had good life," he said. "I was effectively wild. I kind of had to rely on the slider."
Foltynewicz's outing impressed manager Brian Snitker, who said, "He kept the game in check, never gave it and made pitches when he had to."
Foltynewicz has had success against the Reds, going 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA against them in three starts, striking out 19 while allowing 14 hits in 18 2/3 innings.
The Braves and Reds split their six games last season.