The Cincinnati Reds hope at least to tread water until their pitching saviors — three players supposed to lead the rotation — make their 2017 debuts.
Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan make progress every week. Anthony DeSclafani likely won’t pitch before August. Meanwhile, the Reds are sinking fast in the standings, and the worst starting rotation in baseball doesn’t deserve all the blame. The offense has swooned in June.
The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Reds 3-1 on Friday at Great American Ball Park in the opener of a three-game series. The Reds lost their seventh straight game. Four of those losses have come to the Dodgers.
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Billy Hamilton, one of several slumping Reds, went 1-for-4. His leadoff double in the ninth provided a glimmer of hope, but Dodgers close Kenley Jansen struck out Zack Cozart, Joey Votto and Adam Duvall to end the game. Hamilton’s average has dropped from .269 on May 23 to .238.
“It’s been a struggle for me the last few weeks,” Hamilton said. “It’s something I’ve got to keep learning from and keep battling back from. I have to get on base for us to go. That’s what we say in the dugout all the time.”
The Reds expected a return to Cincinnati to reverse their fortunes after an 0-6 road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego. That wasn’t the case Friday.
Reds starter Tim Adleman (4-3, 4.22) did his job, allowing two earned runs on five hits in six innings. That performance lowered the ERA for Reds starters from 5.97 to 5.92.
“He really did a nice job,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “He’s really been our most consistent starter over the last four, five, six starts. That’s important. We really need to have the starters carry that workload and keep us in the games.”
The offense, on the other hand, couldn’t get anything going against Dodgers starter Alex Wood (7-0, 1.90), who allowed one run on four hits in eight innings. He retired the side in order four times. The Reds scored their only run on a home run by Devin Mesoraco in the eighth.
Notes: The 4:10 p.m. Saturday game against the Dodgers is sold out. The Reds will unveil a Pete Rose statue in a pregame ceremony at 1 p.m., and Rose will be honored on the field before the game. The Reds released a number of standing-room only tickets ($12) on Friday night. … The crowd of 35,613 on Friday was the largest since Opening Day.