Sure, the odds may have been stacked against the Reds to win against Cubs’ ace Jake Arrieta. However, to the tune of 16-0 all the while not recording a hit is a bit much to fathom.
The Reds are not expected to make any noise this season coming off a 98-loss season in 2015, a record that tied the 1937 club for second-worst in franchise history.
However, every team begins each season with a 0-0 mark despite what the preseason predictions read. It’s the beauty of sports, and after a 5-1 start to begin the season, many were starting to like this new bunch of young, energetic talent that had the upstart team buzzing for a short time around the Queen City.
Despite sweeping the Phillies to open the new campaign and taking two of three from division-rival Pittsburgh, it became apparent the inevitable realization that Reds’ nation will have to face for the remaining 146 games this summer.
The Reds aren’t ready for the big boys.
The “big boys” in this scenario are the power houses of the NL Central: Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Chicago. It became even clearer on Thursday when the upstart Reds failed to record a hit in a regular-season game for the first time in nearly 45 years.
In two non-division series, the Reds won both three-game sets against the Phillies and Rockies, respectively, with a combined record of 5-1 and outscoring the opposition, 30-23.
Against the big boys, it’s another story. Combining their three 3-game series against them and yesterday’s blowout loss, the Reds are 3-7 and have been outscored by 39 runs, 72-33.
Of course, the Reds had their share of injuries even to begin the year, with four probable starters on the disabled list when Opening Day came around: Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani, Michael Lorenzen and John Lamb.
Without those four hurlers, the mound results have been catastrophic, with runs crossing the plate at ease like a pack of college students fleeing to free food.
In total, only six Reds’ pitchers have an earned-run average under four, while the team ERA has exploded to 4.78, 26th in the majors.
For the starters, Raisel Iglesias and Brandon Finnegan have been solid, combining for eight starts and an ERA of 3.43. Fellow starter Robert Stephenson has as many recalls to Triple-A Louisville (2) as he does wins and starts, somehow getting the call back down to the minors after consecutive victories, although they were against Philadelphia and Colorado.
Then, there’s the bullpen—the J.J Hoover experiment as the closer did not last long; a 15.19 ERA after seven appearances. Meanwhile, relievers like Jumbo Diaz, newly-acquired Ross Ohlendorf and journeyman Tim Melville have all been ineffective.
The loss of Aroldis Chapman has loomed large for the Reds. Many forget that Hoover had great stuff as a setup man for the Cuban Missle one year ago, posting a 2.94 ERA in 67 outings.
With all the pitching issues this team has had, they are still at .500 (8-8), but one can only wonder how long they will be able to hover around the idea of relevance in the National League. Through May 12th, 16 of the Reds’ 19 games will be against teams with winning records from a year ago, with a three-game home series with the Brewers sandwiched in the middle.
It was no secret going the Reds are in rebuilding mode, it was made crystal clear when they shipped Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Chapman, Brayan Pena and Todd Frazier in the last calendar year, we just didn’t know it would be this excruciating to watch.
Face it; the Reds are no match for the top-tier talent that sits in their division. It’s just a matter of hoping sometime soon they will be.