Did Ben Verlander curse the 2024 Cincinnati Reds?

Things were going so good.

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rhett Lowder reacts after being pulled from the game
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Rhett Lowder reacts after being pulled from the game / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Curses are objectivity erroneous, and surrounded by myth and superstition, but their presence is popular in baseball. There was the Curse of the Bambino that supposedly prevented the Boston Red Sox from winning a World Series after trading Babe Ruth. The Curse of the Billy Goat kept the Chicago Cubs away from the Fall Classic for over 100 years.

The fortunes of the Cincinnati Reds have taken a turn for the worse lately. Is this year's Reds team cursed? Several players have landed on the injured list of late, and one of the most promising young talents in the organization was slapped with an 80-game suspension.

Though you may not believe in curses, ever since MLB Analyst Ben Verlander, who hosts the Flippin' Bats Podcast, proclaimed the Reds to be his pick to win the NL Central in 2024, Cincinnati's outlook for the upcoming season has become rather bleak.

Did Ben Verlander curse the 2024 Cincinnati Reds?

The Reds have endured a tough stretch over the final weeks of spring training. The team has been ransacked by injuries to some of their most valuable players, and their supposed depth will certainly be tested at the outset.

Matt McLain is the latest victim. The Reds second baseman will be placed on the injured list and miss Opening Day in Cincinnati. The Reds have been playing it close to the vest when it comes to the injury itself, but McLain will be getting a second opinion that could greatly influence how the team moves forward in 2024.

TJ Friedl will also miss the first couple months of the upcoming season after suffering a fractured wrist while diving for a fly ball. One of the unquestioned leaders of this year's team, Friedl will be reevaluated in three or four weeks, and will miss significant time.

Brandon Williamson will also begin the year on the IL. A shoulder injury will force last year's rookie to miss some time. Others who'll be sidelined to start the year include Nick Lodolo, Ian Gibaut, and Alex Young. Lodolo, however, is expected to return in early-April.

The biggest blow to the Reds is the suspension of Noelvi Marte. The team's top rookie was busted for using performance enhancing drugs and suspended for the first 80 games of the 2024 season. This boneheaded move by Marte will also make him ineligible for the playoffs if the Reds are able to make a postseason run.

There's also the horrific performance of the Reds starting rotation over the past few weeks. Ever since Verlander called the Reds starting rotation "BY FAR" the best in the NL Central, Cincinnati's starters have been shellacked by the opposition.

Hunter Greene has walked nine batters in 12 innings this spring and owns an 8.25 ERA. Frankie Montas has allowed a team-high 15 hits and surrendered four home runs. Andrew Abbott is allowing opposing batters to hit nearly .400 while posting a 7.88 ERA. And Graham Ashcraft has just six punch outs in nine innings this spring. Lodolo has been the Reds best starter, and he'll be on the IL to begin the year.

Whether you believe in curses or not, there's no denying that all the optimism surrounding the Reds in 2024 has dissipated in recent weeks. Cincinnati will need to get out of the gates quickly to begin the season. While the month of April is no picnic, the Reds schedule in May looks absolutely brutal.

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