Worst MLB start ever? It’s possible for the Reds this weekend

Reds taking nine-game losing streak into four-game series at home against Pirates

The Cincinnati Reds need a series split this weekend to avoid matching the worst start in baseball’s Modern Era.

The Reds (3-22) were scheduled to start a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates (10-14) on Friday at Great American Ball Park. There’s a day-night doubleheader on Saturday with games at 12:35 p.m. and 6:40 p.m., and a 1:10 p.m. game Sunday.

Entering Friday night’s game, the Reds had lost nine games in a row and 13 in a row on the road, their longest road losing streak since 19 straight losses in 1933. Here’s who they will share space with in the history books if the losing continues:

3-23: If the Reds lose Friday, they will remain tied for the second-worst start in baseball history (1901-present) with the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who were 3-23 and finished 43-119. Only the 1988 Baltimore Orioles (2-24), who finished 54-107, were worse through the first 26 games.

3-24: If the Reds lose Friday and the first game Saturday, they will be tied with the worst start in baseball history through 27 games with both the 2003 Tigers and 1988 Orioles, who were both 3-24.

3-25: If the Reds lose Friday and are swept in the doubleheader Saturday, they will remain tied with the 2003 Tigers and 1988 Orioles, who both were 3-25.

3-26: If the Pirates sweep the four-game series, the Reds will stand alone as the only team in baseball history to win only three times in their first 29 games. Both the 2003 Tigers and 1988 Orioles won their 29th game to start 4-25. The Tigers started a four-game winning streak at that point, while the Orioles lost four more games after their fourth victory to start 4-29.

The Reds are starting to gain national attention for their record.

• ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote Thursday on Twitter, “The Cincinnati Reds are now 3-22. They have scored an NL-worst 79 runs. If they doubled that, it would still be fewer runs than they’ve allowed, 166. Their 6.90 ERA is a full two runs worse than the next-worst team. Not nice at all. This is tanking at its absolute ugliest.

“And to add insult to insult, the Reds have only a 16.5% chance at the No. 1 overall pick in 2023 because of the new draft lottery. Even worse: Teams cannot receive lottery picks in three straight seasons, so if Cincinnati doesn’t try to win by 2025, the earliest it picks is 7th.”

On The Athletic on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal quoted Reds General Manager Nick Krall, who said, “If somebody wants to blame somebody, they should blame me. We don’t have enough depth to combat this. Did we do a good enough job in the offseason of signing players, making trades? Maybe not. It’s hard to make excuses. There are a lot of good people in this organization who have done really good jobs. Right now, we’re in a perfect storm, and we’re trying to dig our way out of it.”

Rosenthal then wrote, “The Reds’ record reflects not just one dismal offseason, but years of mismanagement. No wonder Krall is reluctant to assign blame to anyone below him. The problems go so much deeper than any one person. And they start at the top.”


Pirates at Reds, 12:35 p.m., 6:40 p.m., Bally Sports Ohio, 700, 1410

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