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Ranking the best Reds starting pitching performances of 2018

Reds turn in the two best starts on back-to-back nights this week

The Cincinnati Reds played 66 games in 2018 before a starting pitcher lasted eight innings. It finally happened Tuesday in Kansas City when Sal Romano pitched that long in a 5-1 victory over the Royals.

To put that in perspective, the last time the Reds had a contending team, in 2013, they had eight starts of eight innings or more by this point in the season. In 2018, through Tuesday, there had been 73 starts of eight innings or more in baseball, and the Reds had one of them.

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In fact, the 2018 Reds have seen only two pitchers last a full seven innings: Romano on Tuesday and Homer Bailey on April 15. The Washington Nationals, whose starters lead the National League in ERA (3.08), have seen their starting pitchers go seven innings or more 21 times.

Tyler Mahle followed Romano’s performance with his best start of the season Wednesday in a 7-0 victory over the Royals as the Reds swept the two-game series.

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Romano and Mahle’s performances this week top the list of the best Reds starts of the season:

1. Romano (June 12 vs. Royals): This was not only the longest start of the season by a Reds pitcher but the best overall performance. Romano allowed one earned run on four hits and walked one. It ended a rough stretch in which he allowed 27 earned runs in five starts as his ERA climbed from 3.83 to 6.23. He lowered it to 5.67 on Tuesday.

2. Mahle (June 13 vs. Royals): He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and walked two and lowered his season ERA to 3.96. That’s much better than any other Reds starter. Matt Harvey (5.04) ranks second on the staff. Anthony DeSclafani (5.40), who has made two starts, ranks third. Romano is fourth and is followed by Luis Castillo (5.79).

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3. Mahle (April 2 vs. Cubs): He pitched six scoreless innings in a 1-0 victory against the Cubs. It was the Reds’ first victory of the season after they were swept by the Washington Nationals in the first series of the year.

4. Bailey (April 10 vs. Phillies): He allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out seven in six innings, but the Reds lost 6-1.

5. Mahle (April 29 vs. Twins): He allowed one earned run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings in an 8-2 victory.

Reds starter Matt Harvey pitches against the Pirates on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff (Staff Writer)

6. Harvey (May 22 vs. Pirates): In his third start after being traded from the New York Mets to the Reds, he allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings in a 7-2 victory.

7. Romano (May 9 vs. Mets): He allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings.

8. Romano (May 4 vs. Marlins): He allowed one earned run in 5 1/3 innings in a 4-1 victory.

9. Bailey (April 15 vs. Cardinals): In his fourth start of the season, Bailey allowed three earned runs on four hits in seven innings. His ERA stood at 3.24 after this start and would keep climbing for the next month. It stood at 6.68 when he went on the disabled list June 2 with knee inflammation. Bailey allowed five earned runs in three innings Monday in a rehab start with Triple-A Louisville.

10. Castillo (May 24 vs. Pirates): The Reds’ best starter last season, Castillo has taken a step back in 2018. In this start, he allowed two earned runs on four hits in six innings in a 5-4 victory. His ERA stood at 7.85 after his first six starts, but he pitched in better in May, lowering it to 5.49. In his first two starts in June, however, he has allowed nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.

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