Cincinnati Reds Aren’t Off to a Great Start in 2018

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Less than two weeks after Opening Day, things aren’t looking up for the Cincinnati Reds

After donning shirts saying “Winning Starts Now” during spring training, the Cincinnati Reds seem to have forgotten this motto with the start of the regular season. A 2-8 record after 10 games is the worst record the Reds have had so far this decade. If you remember the early 2000s, you know this says a lot.

Things seemed promising after Opening Day. The lineup was what everyone dreamed of, with BIlly Hamilton batting ninth and Jesse Winker leading off. Homer Bailey gave up only one run to arguably the best offense in the National League. The Reds got five hits against the reigning Cy Young winner. If this was any indication of how the season would go, no one would complain too much.

Unfortunately, that was one game. Homer Bailey took the mound again on April 5th and gave up 5 runs and 7 hits in less than 5 innings. During his next start, he threw a no-hitter through 5 and ended with two hits and one earned run. Obviously, this is what we would like to see all year. However, his inconsistency through three starts is not what we want this season.

Luis Castillo, who had a 3.12 ERA as a rookie in 2017, is off to a rough start. He gave up 6 runs in five innings in his first start against the Nationals . Many assumed this was just a fluke, and he’d be a strikeout machine again by his next start. Seven days later, he gave up 6 hits, 4 runs, and walked 3 in Pittsburgh. Better than his first outing, but still severely less than what everyone expected. He was, however, the best offensive producer that day, going 2-2 with a double adding on to his current OPS of 1.667

While pitching was the biggest concern this off-season, the Cincinnati Reds have new problems to deal with.

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Nine games into the season, Eugenio Suarez fractured his thumb after a hit by pitch by Jameson Taillon. At the time, he had a .296 average and was second among everyday Reds players (Barnhart was first). He hit two home runs and accumulated 7 RBIs. The Reds will now have to manage several weeks without one of the best players on the roster.

Scooter Gennett came to play on opening day, going 4-4 with a double and was one of two players to escape opening day with a 1.000 average. Since then, he has gone 5-33 with a whopping .151 OBP. Despite his lack of power this season, he has hit cleanup in 5 of the 7 games he has played so far this year.

You also have the good ol’ Ohio Valley weather ruining things for everyone. March 29 was going to be the first day since 1968 when all MLB teams had the same opening day. Due to rain, the front office postponed the game 24 hours before first pitch. Way to go Ohio, ruining it for everyone. A few days later, one game of a two game series vs the Cubs was postponed. If the weather is an indicator of how the rest of the season will go, we’re in for a wild ride.

All of these downsides do come with positives for the Cincinnati Reds

The last time the Reds started the season 2-8 was 1995. The Reds have not won a postseason series since then.  Bryan Price is acting like he wants to be fired, and we have a legitimate replacement in John Farrell if it ever comes down to it. There are lots of great prospects in the farm system, including Nick Senzel, who could be called up Friday.

Now, it is only 10 games.  The Reds will play another 152 games this season.  The Mets are 9-1 and the Pirates are 8-2, neither of these are likely to last.  It’s painful to watch your team fail over and over again. But we need to have patience with this team. A team like this that almost entirely under 30 years old will take a bit to develop. They aren’t a 90 win team, but should be able to come back from this with a respectable record.

Next: The Reds have prospects throughout minors

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Reds will only win 32 games and won’t improve at all this season. Then you can get angry at the rebuild. For now, it is what it is and everyone should sit back and watch this team that we all love.