Breaking down best and worst of Reds’ 100-loss season

Season ends with 15-2 loss to the Cubs

The 2022 season officially ended around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for the Cincinnati Reds, who hit the 100-loss milestone for the second time in their history and the first time since 1982 with a 15-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Great American Ball Park.

Unofficially, the Reds’ season ended sometime in April during a 3-22 start. In many ways, it ended in March when the Reds traded Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez on back-to-back days, sparking a dumpster fire that burned for six months.

The Reds played respectable baseball at times through the summer but then lost 20 of their last 26 games to reach the century mark and finish tied for last in the National League Central Division with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“That number, the result of today’s game doesn’t change how great I feel and how highly I feel about every single person on our team — the players and the staff,” manager David Bell told reporters Wednesday. “It doesn’t change the focus and the goal for next season. Now this one’s behind us, and we move forward.”

The Reds opened the season with optimism as they do every year, no matter the circumstances, and even split a season-opening four-game series against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves. Then they lost 20 of their next 21 games. From that point, their only escape from irrelevance lay at the end of the season, and the Reds finally got there Wednesday.

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Now the cycle repeats. Optimism will rise again, at least among the hopeful fans, and there were some positive developments in 2022 among the many negative headlines. Here’s a breakdown of the best and worst of the season.

MVP: Kyle Farmer played in the most games (145) by a wide margin. No other Red saw action in more than 110. He led the team with a career-high 78 RBIs and hit 14 home runs, the most by any player who ended the season with the Reds. Brandon Drury hit 20 before being traded to the San Diego Padres in August.

Best starting pitcher: Not counting Luis Castillo, who was 4-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 14 starts before being traded to the Seattle Mariners, the best stats belonged to rookie Nick Lodolo, who was 4-7 with a 3.66 ERA in 19 starts.

Best reliever: Another rookie, Alexis Diaz, was 7-3 with a 1.84 ERA in 59 games. He led the team with 10 saves.

Most disappointing performance by a hitter: Joey Votto, a career .297 hitter, hit a career-worst .205 in 91 games. His season ended in August when he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.

Votto, 39, has spent his entire 16-season career with the Reds. He has one more season on a 10-year, $225-million contract and a club option for 2024.

Most disappointing performance by a pitcher: Mike Minor was 4-12 with a 6.06 ERA in 19 starts. A season earlier, Minor was 8-12 with a 5.05 ERA for the Kansas City Royals.

The Reds traded reliever Amir Garrett for Minor in March. Garrett was 3-1 with a 4.96 ERA in 60 appearances for the Kansas City Royals.

Most interesting new record: The Reds used 66 players in the 2022 season, the most in franchise history. The previous record of 57 was set in 2003.

The Reds also set a franchise record by using 38 pitchers. The previous record of 35 was set in 2021.

Worst new record: Reds pitchers set a baseball record by hitting 109 batters, breaking the mark of 98 set by the Cubs in 2021. Nick Lodolo led the team by hitting 19 batters. Hunter Greene hit 10 in his rookie season. The previous franchise record for hitter batters was 80, set in 2005.

Worst stat: Attendance at Great American Ball Park fell to 1,395,770. It’s the first time the Reds have failed to draw at least 1.5 million since 1984 (1,275,887). The Reds ranked 23rd among the 30 Major League Baseball teams in average attendance (17,232). That’s also the lowest mark in Great American Ball Park history.

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