Sidelines with John Clay

It's official. The 2018 Cincinnati Reds are an epic fail.

Cincinnati Reds reliever Kevin Quackenbush during the team's 9-2 loss at St. Louis on Sunday, April 23, 2018. Quackenbush allowed six runs in one inning or pitching. He has a 11.00 ERA on the 2018 season.
Cincinnati Reds reliever Kevin Quackenbush during the team's 9-2 loss at St. Louis on Sunday, April 23, 2018. Quackenbush allowed six runs in one inning or pitching. He has a 11.00 ERA on the 2018 season. Associated Press

Sunday's 9-2 loss at St. Louis made it official.

The 2018 edition of the Cincinnati Reds are off to the worst start in franchise history.

And remember, the Reds are the oldest franchise in professional baseball history.

Let's look at the cringe-worthy numbers:

  • After 21 games, the Reds are 3-18. That's a game worse than the 1931 Reds, who started 4-17. Both the 2018 Reds and the 1931 Reds started 3-17, but Sunday's loss broke the tie. By the way, the 1931 Reds finished 59-96.
  • The Reds have lost five straight games and 12 of their last 13. They have not held a lead in any of the five games involved in the current streak.
  • Dating back to last season, they have lost 11 straight to the Cardinals. The Reds lost their last four games to St. Louis in 2017. From April 12 through April 15 this season, they lost four straight tot he Cards at Great American Ball Park. Then they dropped all three games of this past weekend's series in St. Louis' Busch Stadium.
  • They are now 0-3 under interim manager Jim Riggleman, who took over when Bryan Price was fired on April 19. Not that it was all Price's fault, as was pointed out both by Fangraphs and by the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay.
  • Sunday's starting pitcher Luis Castillo continues to struggle. After posting a 3.12 ERA in 15 starts last season, Castillo is 1-3 with a 6.51 ERA this season. The 25-year-old has seen his velocity drop from an average of 97.5 last season to 95.5 this year, according to Fangraphs.
  • Castillo is not alone among the Reds' rotation. Tyler Mahle is 1-3 with a 5.14 ERA. Sal Romano is 0-2 with a 5.75 ERA. Back from the disabled list, Brandon Finnegan has an 11.05 ERA over his two starts and has walked eight batters in 7.1 innings.
  • Homer Bailey has pitched well, posting a 3.68 ERA in 29.1 innings over five starts, but the veteran has nothing to show for it, his record being 0-3.
  • Injuries haven't helped. Power-hitting outfielder Scott Schebler has just returned from the DL after he was hit on the elbow by a pitch in the season's opening series against Washington. In the next series, at Pittsburgh, third baseman Eugenio Suarez suffered a broken right thumb when hit by a pitch. Suarez is reported to be ahead of schedule in his rehab, which is good. Since Suarez's injury, Reds' third basemen were hitting .109 with one RBI heading into Sunday.
  • Almost none of the Reds are hitting, actually. The team is 24th out of the 30 MLB teams in on-base percentage at .299. The Reds are 27th in batting average at .220. They are 29th in OPS at .609. They are 30th in home runs with 11. Were that pace to continue, they would hit 89 home runs. They hit 219 last year. The Reds have not homered since April 15.
  • Some batting averages of note: Utility infielder Cliff Pennington is hitting .125; utility infielder Phil Gosselin is hitting .130; outfielder Adam Duvall is hitting .171; starting centerfielder Billy Hamilton is hitting .172; backup catcher Devin Mesoraco is hitting .192.
  • Overall, Reds pitching ranks 28th in ERA at 5.55. The bullpen ranks 26th in ERA at 5.30. Really, the bullpen has not been that bad. Both Amir Garrett and Wandy Peralta have not allowed a run in 9.2 innings each. Raisel Iglesias has a 1.08 ERA over 8.1 innings. Jared Hughes has a 2.70 ERA over 10 innings.
  • The bullpen numbers are skewed by Tanner Rainey allowing seven runs over two innings. Yovani Gallardo allowed eight runs over 2.1 innings before being designated for assignment. Zack Weiss allowed four runs without recording an out before being sent back to the minors.
  • Kevin Quackenbush has allowed 11 runs over nine innings this season. The 29-year-old right-hander posted a 7.86 ERA in 20 appearances with San Diego last season. Over the last two seasons, he has allowed 34 earned runs over 35.1 innings.
  • The Reds open a four-game series against the visiting Atlanta Braves on Monday. First pitch is at 6:40 p.m. If you're brave, WLXG-1300 has the local radio coverage.

Cincinnati Reds 2018